CNC programming software with a language for 'family of parts'.

Currently looking for new software, what we have now requires no longer available operating systems, one Win2K license and many NT4 licenses
running 10+ year old Esprit, version 11 & 12. The PC's can be easily replaced but the real problem is that Esprit refuses to continue selling us modules (dongles) and they, like all hardware, tend to die.
Our group programs all the parts needed in mould making for the glass industry. We do everything but the decoration and non-round cavities (that is done by another group with dedicated software). Without a language 10 to 30 programs (depending on complexity) per 8 hour shift per person simply isn't possible.
Prefer Windows based but we could be flexible for the right package.
We have looked at Esprit's latest offering and Visual Basic isn't quite what we had in mind - way too much training needed. We would need to learn Visual Basic before we could even attempt CNC source work. Something like Compact, Apt or what Esprit used to offer back in the day would be ideal. A nice blend of language and menu driven graphics for the odd part would get us functional in the least amount of time. All of us in the group have been at CNC programming for quite a long time (nearly 30 years myself) so obviously something we are already familiar with is what we seek.
Strictly menu driven software certainly has its place but when you need to program the same batch of widgets daily but with continuously changing sizes and feature list a language is what you really need to bang out the tapes. Guess I showed my age with that term - heh! With the setup we now use we can in some cases provide accurate (yet unique, size wise & feaure list) programs in as little as 10 minutes, try that using menu based machining! Of course we have had 10+ years to refine our sources and post processors.
We program common machine tools like four axis lathes, robot loaded turning centers, transfer lathes, 3, 4 & 5 axis verticals, horizontals, gun drills and etc.
Any recommendations?
Thanks, John
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Exapt http://www.exapt.de/en/index.htm
Based on APT so fully parametric parts can be defined. Fully visual simulation of cutter path. Considering how long ago APT was created it really is a superb tool for driving CNC machine tools [1]. Lathe tools are a bit complex to define but the back edge and 2nd rad can be programmed and used.
IIRC licence is by FlexLM or some other server based licence file tied to IP addr.
It was good enough for the major UK aero engine maker to select for turning, 4 axis turning, millturn and synchronised disc lathes. Had over 20 machine tools, one general EXAPT post procesor that output APT which was post processed using existing ICAM post procesors.
12 years ago WFL supplied the above firm with 4 WFL M120 and were contracted to program the first few parts. Their programmers were so impressed by the ease of using Exapt instead of working direct on the Siemens 840D they wanted to make it a standard part of the software on the WFL Millturn machines. (Though part of the ease is sitting at a computer instead of standing or perching on a tall chair at the m/c) http://www.wfl.at/Products/Millturns?sc_lang=en The WFL reduced an 8 day 20 operation process on one part to 20 hours with 2 settings. There are now 8 WFL's in one shop.
EXAPT can cope with and simulate tools mounted on extension bars. So one capto head could be defined and used with a number of different bars. It was also possible to show the nutating tool head and thus visually check for clashes. Then there was the prismatic tool holder for very long boring bars. It also handled in process gauging.
You need Basic to create the post processor (unless you use an external post) and machine tool macro simulation. That really only needs a very small number of people to setup a definition for each machine tool.
[1] The graphical display soon led to requests for "dimensions" so ME staff could create stage drawings. They had to be told to go forth and use Cadds.
--
Peter Hill
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3rd party Backup/Copy the dongles.
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3rd party Backup/Copy the dongles.
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noneya wrote:

Care to explain?
John
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http://www.keylok.com/product /
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It is more than likely copying a dongle is against your software agreement, however if a company has dropped support and won't replace your dongles then it seems you should have the right to protect your investment/purchase by going elsewhere.
Do a search on the web for a company to sell you a copy of your dongle. You are better off with a hardware dongle rather than an emulator. Some emulators (software solution, dongle crack) may include malware. What they do is send you a program that decodes the dongle and either sell you a new dongle/s or emulator program.
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