CAD/CAM integration explained by Missler Software

May 7, 2014 --- Missler Software has been a keen advocate of integrated CAD/CAM software and has been in the business of software development for 30 years. Many software developers communicate and promote their « integrated » solutions but what does integrated CAD/CAM really mean and what are the benefits for the enduser ? In this article we will interview Christian Arber, CEO of Missler Software and founding father of the TopSolid product range, on what integrated CAD/CAM means to him.

Interview with Christian Arber on integrated CAD/CAM :

  • What makes TopSolid an integrated CAD/CAM software solution ?

In fact TopSolid in an integrated CAD/CAM/ERP solution. In this article I will only talk about the CAD/CAM integration as for the moment we mainly sell our ERP solution, TopSolid’Erp, within France.

In my opinion TopSolid is one of the only truly integrated CAD/CAM software solutions on the market. What does this mean ? Well, in fact our CAD software TopSolid’Design is at the heart of all our CAM packages – many people may not know in fact that when they buy our CAM software that TopSolid’Design is automatically embarked with it. You cannot dissociate CAD from CAM when it comes to TopSolid. When we set about completely rewriting our software to bring out the new TopSolid 7 generation we had to completely rewrite CAD and only then could we start on TopSolid’Cam.

This means that a user is always using just one software whether he is using it for design or manufacturing purposes. If he updates the CAD file the tool paths are updated.

Without leaving the CAD environment the user can then place the part onto a machine tool (either in a vice, chuck or on a fixture) and begin machining in a complete simulated environment with full collision checking. The user works directly on the 3D model itself and of course if the model needs to change then the toolpaths will update themselves.

  • What is the alternative to an integrated package ?

Buying separate CAD and CAM solutions. This happens very often, many of our customers work with a different CAD solution (sub-contractors in specific industries often have to use the CAD software imposed by their contractors, for example.) In cases where companies use a CAD software other than TopSolid’Design we strive to develop functions to make the transition as seamless as possible. In TopSolid 7 we have developed the FreeShape function to manage tolerances for imported parts designed using another CAD software.

  • What are the key advantages of using an integrated CAD/CAM software ?

Missler Software takes into account manufacturing imperatives throughout the entire product development lifecycle. We offer a complete solution right up to and including the actual programming of the machine tool which means that manufacturing considerations such as tolerances are taken into account and managed in the CAD stage.

One of the real benefits of having CAD capabilities alongside your CAM system is that it gives the user, complete control over the whole process (hence our baseline « Master your Manufacturing Process »). We all know that manufacturing is all about “changes” and with a completely integrated solution the user can adapt to changes easily and of course the toolpaths will automatically adapt themselves.

Another major benefit highlighted by some of our customers is the ability to design work holding fixtures “on the fly”. Once they have specified what the raw material will look like they then use the CAD system to model any special jigs etc. that are required. TopSolid comes complete with a fully configured library of 3D parts including cap screws, nuts bolts etc. and as the user does not have to switch from CAD to CAM he is free to design any time he needs to.

Last but not least many companies wrongly believe that an integrated solution will be much more expensive than a stand-alone CAD or CAM software. This is false as TopSolid is on a par with almost all other stand-alone products and therefore offers great value for money.

About Missler Software

Missler Software, whose headquarters is located just outside Paris, France, is the software developer of the TopSolid CAD/CAM/ERP software range dedicated to the mechanical manufacturing, toolmaking, wood and sheetmetal industries. In 2013 company turnover was €27M for 200 employees. Every year Missler Software invests in the region of 30% of its annual turnover in Research and Development for its integrated software range. The company was founded in 1984 and has been present on the international market since 1997. Missler Software exports approximately 60% of its software licenses via a network of 80 value added resellers throughout the world. For further information visit www.topsolid.com




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