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Post-processors for Pro/NC

Newbie

Post-processors for Pro/NC

We are evaluating both MasterCam and Pro/NC (Production machining) for use
as our CAM system. One of the grey areas is the availability of
post-processors for our machines. MasterCam tells us that they can supply
posts for all our machines (except one very new one) and that they will not
charge us extra for any of them except the new one. Our PTC VAR tells us
that there is an extensive PTC library of posts available and that they
will train us to adapt existing posts to our machines if one doesn't
already exist. I checked out the PTC library and only one out of 12 of our
machines is on the list and the list doesn't seem too extensive to me, but
maybe I'm looking in the wrong place. We're new to CAM so please excuse my
lack of knowledge.

What is everyone's experience with implementing either or these two CAM
packages and getting posts that work reliably. I don't want to be hit with
unexpected delays or costs because we have to wait for posts to created or
tweaked by a consultant. If we know ahead of time that it will take time
to develop and tweak the posts then that's OK but at this point both
contenders make it seem like we will be up and cutting metal in no time at
all. Our in-house CAM experience is limited so if we have to do it on our
own it will be time consuming. We have a proposal in place to have the PTC
consultant here for 4 days of mentoring after 4 days of user training but I
can't see this as being enough time to get all the post right if he has to
make or tweak each one.

Any other opinions about first time CAM implementation would also be
welcome.

Thanks in advance.

Mark Dolata
5 REPLIES 5

Re: Post-processors for Pro/NC

Mike,

When we converted from CimCam to Pro/NC posts too were a concern for us.
We decided to contract them out to a third party so that we would not have
to learn Pro/NC AND how to write posts at the same time. There is no
greater timesaver than the 'perfect' post; there is no more annoying chore
than hand-editing G-code. Being able to make a quick edit to a program,
post it and immediately download it to the machine control with confidence
is worth its weight in gold.

That being said, I don't think the availibility of posts for a particular
machine or application should be a determining factor in choosing an NC
package, so ignore the salesmen. You should assume you are going to need a
custom post for each machine type that you intend to program and proceed
accordingly in locating a source for each one (or all of them) and finding
out what the dollar cost will be. We are constantly having our posts
tweaked to add support for variables or broken tool detection or whatever.
No off-the-shelf post is going to suit your needs 100% either, so just
buy a custom one.

Even if you happen to find a turnkey post, you are going to need to add
something to it at some point, guaranteed. If you buy one with a
maintenance contract you will be free to have immediate changes made when
you want them done (or within a reasonable time frame), at a cost you've
already negotiated, and not when you figure out how to do it yourself.
Correctly. I don't think that you will need to have an on-site consultant
do them for you either; this thing is easily handled via email.

Regards
Peter Brown

Re: Post-processors for Pro/NC

> I don't think that you will need to have an on-site consultant
> do them for you either; this thing is easily handled via email.
>
> Regards
> Peter Brown

I think Peter makes a good point here. To many "post suppliers" try to
tell you that you "must" have a consultant come on-site for at least some
portion of your posts development. This is just not true! Most users can
take care of the testing of their post and relay any information needed
for post changes.

Just my thoughts...

Re: Post-processors for Pro/NC

Beg to differ but...

On-site consulting is a good solution for the following (non exhaustive) cases:

If you are new to CAM in general, or Pro NC in particular, an on-site post consultant can help you get up to speed quickly.

If the machine is ready to go but the post is just being ordered, it will likely cost less to have a dedicated full-time post
consultant on-site. Phone, fax and email all have their place, but they are not as timely or as effective as having the post
processor developer at your site during prove-out.

If your machine has more than 5 controllable axes, an on-site post consultant can help you identify the machining scenarios that
call for different sets of axis control and synchronization. An on-site post-consultant can get the NC operator, NC programmer and
anyone else with a vested interest around the same table to discuss and work out optimization issues.

Bottom line: If you are not sure of the process and/or if machine downtime is a serious concern, you are better off investing in an
on-site consultant.

Brian.
ICAM

Re: Post-processors for Pro/NC

Mike,

When we converted from CimCam to Pro/NC posts too were a concern for us.
We decided to contract them out to a third party so that we would not have
to learn Pro/NC AND how to write posts at the same time. There is no
greater timesaver than the 'perfect' post; there is no more annoying chore
than hand-editing G-code. Being able to make a quick edit to a program,
post it and immediately download it to the machine control with confidence
is worth its weight in gold.

That being said, I don't think the availibility of posts for a particular
machine or application should be a determining factor in choosing an NC
package, so ignore the salesmen. You should assume you are going to need a
custom post for each machine type that you intend to program and proceed
accordingly in locating a source for each one (or all of them) and finding
out what the dollar cost will be. We are constantly having our posts
tweaked to add support for variables or broken tool detection or whatever.
No off-the-shelf post is going to suit your needs 100% either, so just
buy a custom one.

Even if you happen to find a turnkey post, you are going to need to add
something to it at some point, guaranteed. If you buy one with a
maintenance contract you will be free to have immediate changes made when
you want them done (or within a reasonable time frame), at a cost you've
already negotiated, and not when you figure out how to do it yourself.
Correctly. I don't think that you will need to have an on-site consultant
do them for you either; this thing is easily handled via email.

Regards
Peter Brown

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Re: Post-processors for Pro/NC

As I stated originaly, it is not normally necessary! I agree that in some
cases it makes sense to have the post guy on-site. I am just saying that
is is not required for every post or even most of them.


> Beg to differ but...
>
> On-site consulting is a good solution for the following (non exhaustive) cases:
>
> If you are new to CAM in general, or Pro NC in particular, an on-site post consultant can help you get up to speed quickly.
>
> If the machine is ready to go but the post is just being ordered, it will likely cost less to have a dedicated full-time post
> consultant on-site. Phone, fax and email all have their place, but they are not as timely or as effective as having the post
> processor developer at your site during prove-out.
>
> If your machine has more than 5 controllable axes, an on-site post consultant can help you identify the machining scenarios that
> call for different sets of axis control and synchronization. An on-site post-consultant can get the NC operator, NC programmer and
> anyone else with a vested interest around the same table to discuss and work out optimization issues.
>
> Bottom line: If you are not sure of the process and/or if machine downtime is a serious concern, you are better off investing in an
> on-site consultant.
>
> Brian.
> ICAM
>
>
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