When we launched CAM Assist beta program in January we wanted to know that we’d succeeded in our mission: Is this add-on helping CAM programmers? The product team worked tirelessly, conducting research, one-to-one meetings, validating usage, and multiple surveys to understand whether we have succeeded in our mission.
We wanted to build something that people wanted to use. That not only helps them save their programming time but is an invaluable resource. Alongside customer testing, we were also able to test and validate functionality using our high-spec factory in the UK. You could say, it’s been a busy few months!
But I’m pleased to say - we got there! CAM Assist is now available.
So what is it?
CAM Assist generates professional machining strategies in seconds. We want CAM programmers to be able to simply upload a 3D model of prismatic, 3-axis part and let the CAM software automatically determine the tools needed, how they will be used, and then draft the code to tell a CNC machine how to make it.
Key features include:
- Faster CAM programming up to 80% without templates or macros to produce high-quality parts.
- Automate the repetitive aspects of creating a CAM program and simply perfect the program with your unique style.
- Support estimation with accurate cycle times to ensure consistent outcomes for your business
- Integrated into leading Fusion 360 as an add-on at launch (beta for other CAM packages click here)
- Creates complete roughing, finishing, holemaking, and deburring strategies in seconds
Our beta included a variety of users from subcontractors and manufacturers to medium sized factories, freelancers, and educational institutions. Academic users found the product very powerful and handy for creating tool paths before classes.
Overall there was a reduction in 80% in time to progam the part. This was across 3-axis, prismatic parts and has been true on multiple occasions when the user used CAM Assist in parallel with manual programming.
“CAM Assist is an amazing, fantastic product. It gets me 80% of the way by constructing the entire workflow, and the rest is more like reviewing the work done and simply filling in the blanks. CAM Assist is exactly what it is, and it's fun to work with” - J Shu (CNC Applications Engineer, DynaPath Systems / Mach Machine Tools)”
Users found on average they saved 68min per part. In a side-by-side comparison a Senior CAM Programmer usually takes an hour to program a part with a variety of features such as holes, walls, pockets, in Fusion 360.
According to our survey, users reported that CAM Assist saved them on average 68 min whilst it produces 80% of the CAM program without requiring any modifications. This creates valuable time for the user to finish the job and focus on 20% of the work that is complex, detailed, or require expert intervention.
“I was impressed with how quickly it undertook a complex part. Install straight forward. The cycle time for the return was really good considering the part make-up, how long it would take to do it manually.” – Richard Scanlon - Senior Applications Engineer
We found that 54% would switch CAM package to use CAM Assist from using another CAM package. During the beta program, we had a diverse group of participants who were experienced CAM programmers with backgrounds in various CAM packages like Hypermill, Mastercam, SolidCam, InventorCam, Catia, and others.
In our final survey, we specifically asked them about their preferred CAM packages and whether they would consider switching to Fusion 360 if CAM Assist was exclusively available in Autodesk Fusion 360. The survey results showed that 54% of users acknowledged that CAM Assist had the potential to impact their decision in purchasing or renewing their CAM package licence because of its enhanced capabilities.
Time-to-CAM part comparison was completed in our factory with an experienced CAM programmer, then completed using CAM Assist. To validate CAM Assist performance we asked the programmers to CAM a part first and then use CAM Assist - view the sample of this data below.
Overall we are extremely pleased with how beta went and keen to get people onboarded as soon as we can!
Reinventing precision manufacturing for everybody!
CAM Assist is the culmination of over 8 years of dedicated work and extensive code development. CloudNC's algorithms have been meticulously crafted and encompass a wide range of capabilities, including accelerating and refining complex aspects of computational geometry, seamlessly combining different shapes and elements in machining processes, and delivering results that add tangible value within optimal timeframes.
Our machining solutions play a pivotal role in fabricating parts for critical applications such as fighter jets and nuclear plants, necessitating unparalleled precision with zero margin for error. The release of CAM Assist forms a pivotal time in our organisation as we continue on our path to realising the vision of single-click manufacturing. While there is still some distance to cover, the progress we have achieved thus far in overcoming challenges is substantial.
We are empowering the acceleration of CNC machine programming, enabling faster production of components, fostering innovation, and bridging the skills gap in the manufacturing industry! The impact of our accomplishments to date is poised to be truly transformative, and we eagerly anticipate witnessing its far-reaching effects.