Step-reduction milling, an NC method for more efficiently roughing a part, was awarded U.S. Patent No. 6,704,611 B2 on March 9.
Engineers at Surfware Inc., Westlake Village, Calif. (www.surfware.com), who developed the process, say it's a multiple-tool programming procedure. "It creates the most efficient NC program to run an entire set of tools as a single set-up process, and it can be created in one step," says Brian Kindilien, a vice president at the company.
The technology involves the rough milling of complex, multiple surfaces by synchronizing the depths-of-cut for each tool used in the process. Material is removed with the largest possible tool and no tool is overtaxed. "The technology can help manufacturers increase efficiency in bulk material removal, one of the most time-consuming aspects of machining," says Kindilien.
Surfware recently received a patent for the process it calls step-reduction milling. The company says the technique reduces roughmachining time by up to 50% or more and cuts NC programming time by up to 90%.