From Virtual to Reality
Billed as an “annual reunion for the extended ESPRIT community,” the 2016 ESPRIT World Conference will be held June 6-10 at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort & Spa in Naples Florida. Jeff Estes, Director of Partners in THINC, Okuma America Corporation, will be one of the featured presenters at the event. We asked him to give us a sneak peek at of the key points he’ll cover at the event, shared here in this quick Q&A.
So Jeff, what’s the main topic you’ll be covering at the ESPRIT World Conference?
In the manufacturing world today, the parts and shapes that shops are cutting are becoming increasingly complex. To support users in meeting the challenges of complexity, the capabilities of CNC machines have evolved to deliver more advanced functionalities. This means the need for CAM systems has never been greater.
What’s driving the need for CAM systems?
There are many drivers, but let’s look at programming requirements in particular. With complex part configurations, it’s extremely difficult for a machinist to program at the machine without making a mistake. But CAM allows you to prove out a part program on your computer and simulate it before putting it on the machine. This way you can see if the program will do what you want it to do, without crashing. So CAM provides the best of both worlds: Virtual + Reality.
How does that work, blending Virtual with Reality?
The idea is to validate your program by correcting and perfecting it in a virtual mode so that when it does go to reality, there’s no machine crash. With this process we get what we wanted and expected.
Virtual CNC machining? That sounds pretty advanced.
Well, it’s interesting because today’s generation has actually immersed themselves in a similar “technology” with the video games they’ve grown up with. It’s second nature to them and it only makes sense to take advantage of this skill set ¬ which they associate with “fun” by the way ¬ in the shop environment. They have a tremendous ability to operate in a 3-dimensional world on a computer screen.
Using a CAM system is actually a step beyond what people have experienced in a gaming-type environment, which is a theoretical “make-believe” construct. CAM will take you from theory/make-believe into true reality, so it’s the real deal. This means real manufacturing results can be predicted with astonishing accuracy, leading to reliable cost and time calculations before the task is ever physically started.
Are there any other points you plan to cover at the conference?
As the complexity of parts and their machining processes continues to escalate, it’s not just the technology that needs to adapt along the way. The way we work together in our industry needs to evolve as well. With complexity, no one person or group of people has the answer. We need to bring experts together, say from ESPRIT and Okuma, to put together the best manufacturing scenario. Almost always, the sum of the input from multiple people is so much better.
MORE: Check out ESPRIT’s teaser video to learn more about the 2016 ESPRIT World Conference.
Visit ESPRIT at IMTS 2016, Booth E-3210.