Routing/Milling of metal

Programming of aluminum sheet routing machines using the almaCAM Routing software

For more than 25 years, Alma has specialized in routing of aluminum sheets, a technology specific to the aeronautics industry. With high nesting performance and the ability to meet all the technological requirements and constraints of the routing process (multi-layer machining, screwing, riveting, micro-junctions, etc.) almaCAM Routing is the ideal system to program your aluminum routing machines.

The technological process

In certain areas of activity such as aeronautics, automobile construction or armaments, some parts cannot be machined using a thermal process due to possible deterioration of the material’s properties. The parts are then machined by removal of material, using cutters that make it possible to route complex geometric shapes with great precision and a very good finish quality.

However, this routing process requires considerable safety precautions, in order to prevent material being detached and projected out of the machine, causing accidents. This is why one of the specific features of routing is that the parts must not move when the cutter separates them from the metal sheet at the end of machining.

To achieve this, some machines are fitted with a system that holds the parts by means of suction. On other machines the parts and the metal sheet are screwed or riveted to a sacrificial plate. This makes it possible to route several sheets stacked in layers. On completion of routing, the screws or rivets can be removed by a program, in order to unload the machined parts.

Main advantages and benefits of almaCAM Routing for routing aluminum sheets

Significant material savings

Significant reduction of loss rates thanks to automatic nesting performance, since there is a choice of several available strategies.

Minimized programming times

  • Automatic nesting functions with no or limited user intervention required.
  • Automatic assignment of tools (drill bits, taps, etc.) depending on the drilling diameter.
  • Automatic positioning of the screws/rivets to hold the parts and the skeleton.
  • Possibility to operate in full automatic mode.

Optimized time cycles

  • Multi-layer nesting to minimize machining time.
  • Optimized computation of the tool paths.
  • Automated management of tool order (drilling, screwing, riveting and routing) with possible interactive modification.
  • De-tagging functionality (destruction of tags holding parts fixed to the skeleton at the end of routing), eliminating any need for screwing or riveting.
  • Optimized management of routing speeds according to part geometry.

Complete mastering of the technological process and complex machines

  • Automatic or interactive management of pocketing (with or without islands).
  • Constant depth management (spot facing, etc.)
  • Tool turret management according to the machine capabilities and to the parts combined in the nesting.
  • Management of multi-pass routing when the stacking depth is too large.

Savings on consumables and tools

  • Tool life increased by taking into account drill wear through the use of the tool correction feature.
  • Increase in sacrificial plate life by optimizing stacking of sheets in nesting.

An approach that contributes to improving the quality of manufactured parts

  • Automatic drill re-machining to cut notches out.
  • Automatic or interactive management of pocketing (with or without island) and finishing cuts.
  • Parts positioned in the nesting according to material fiber direction.
  • Tool life increased by taking into account drill wear through the use of the tool correction feature.

Programming that guarantees safety on the machine

  • Automated addition of micro-junctions on the part geometry for machines not equipped with the De-tagging feature.
  • Automatic and interactive management of screwing on the part and skeleton.
  • Management of the De-tagging feature ensuring parts are safely detached from the skeleton.

Methods to facilitate handling on the shop floor

  • Support of automatic rivet removal to avoid manual operations.
  • Reduced number of programs thanks to multi-layer nesting.
  • Minimization or elimination of partial nesting generating off-cuts that can be re-used but are costly to manage.

Routing/Milling machines brands we drive

  • Biesse
  • CMS
  • Creno
  • Holz-Her
  • Homag
  • Kimla
  • Maka
  • Mecanumeric
  • Multicam
  • OSAI
  • Protek
  • Reichenbacher
  • Stako
  • Techtronix

Customer success stories