In-Process Workpiece (IPW) is a great feature that Solid Edge CAM Pro provides to show the state of the machined model during the machining process. If you don’t understand why that is valuable, let me give you an example. A few years back, I was an NC Programmer at an aerospace firm. One of the jobs I had was to turn a long slender chunk of aluminum into a wing spar. The raw material was a forging. We used forgings because hammering nature of the forging process aligns the grain structure of the material so that it is stronger than a rectangular billet of aluminum.
The forging process also introduces a lot of stress. You can relieve some of that stress with heat-treatment, but residual stress still remains. The act of machining also relieves stress, which can make the model move. That meant we had to “sneak up” on the final product shape:
1. Rough-machine one side
2. Flip the part over
3. Rough-machine the second side
4. Allow the part to rest for a week or so for stress relief
5. Semi-finish one side
6. Flip the part over
7. Semi-finish the second side
8. Allow the part to rest for a week or so for stress relief
9. Finish-machine one side
10. Flip the part over
11. Finish-machine the second side.
To accomplish this, we needed three sets of fixtures (rough, semi-finish, and finish). We had models of the forging and the finished product, but not the semi-finished state. How do we get that model so we can build the fixture? We had to model it.
Like I said, that was a few years ago. Today, I would not need to do that. Solid Edge CAM Pro can automatically save the IPW at any point in the process. In essence, it can build the model from the raw state of the stock and the machining instructions. These IPW models are handy for lots of things, like building fixtures, and documenting manufacturing states for shop floor usage.
Here is a video showing how to create and save IPWs in Solid Edge CAM Pro.