The US-based CAD/CAM developer Surfware Inc. has received a notice of allowance from the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for its engagement milling technology, which has been incorporated into the company’s SURFCAM product line as TrueMill®. A notice of allowance signifies that a technology application has been examined and is allowed for issuance as a patent.
The USPTO accepted all key aspects of the company’s patent application.
Stephen Diehl, president and CEO of Surfware, expressed pleasure with the decision, which serves to protect the intellectual property and proprietary technology Surfware has developed.
“The mathematics and science behind engagement milling are revolutionary,” he explains. “SURFCAM Velocity 4 powered by TrueMill creates tool paths that dramatically increase material removal rates, reduce cycle time, and extend tool life.” TrueMill is designed to make milling pockets in titanium and other hard and exotic materials easy.
The patent application had three main components. (1) The isoloop method creates families of concentric circles that define the path the tool will travel as it maintains constant engagement with the material. (2) The tangent arc method creates efficient tool paths to machine corners and slots while not exceeding predefined engagement. (3) The concentric circle method allows for different spacing schemes between the circles (the step-over) to manage the tool engagement angle.
While other machining methods generate tool paths based on a given step-over value and the geometry being machined, this technology increases the material removal rate by creating engagement-controlled tool paths that eliminate all sharp directional changes. Not having to slow the machine down for corners allows far more aggressive cutting parameters, resulting in dramatically reduced cycle times.
The idea for engagement milling arose at Surfware in 2002. Robert Patterson and Surfware co-founder Alan Diehl then developed their idea into a workable product. Within a year, they created two versions of TrueMill that are covered in patent applications. The initial patent application for engagement milling was filed in 2005.
“We are just beginning to demonstrate what this powerful technology can do,” says Stephen Diehl. “Because TrueMill is useful to a wide spectrum of industries, Surfware will be providing custom and turnkey solutions, as well as partnering with vendors of complementary technologies.”
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