We're trying to move to Solid Edge and in that process are also looking at CAM operations. Given that both Camworks and Cam Express cost approximately the same (for the same features), has anyone done a head to head comparison?
I can only speak to the CAMWorks side, but:
CAMWorks for SE for the most part has feature parity with Solidworks. There are some features that are broken or not fully implemented, and there are a lot of strange bugs that the Solidworks version doesn't have.
Posts for CAMWorks are not free. Also, pick your reseller wisely, and question them about their skill with Solid Edge specifically. Don't end up with the same scenario I did, where there is only one guy at the reseller that knows enough about Solid Edge to design the occasional box or ring.
For a more detailed overview of CAMWorks so far, see here:
I would suggest you ask for a week demo and throw a representative sample of your programming needs at it. The problems with the SE version mean that some workflows and part types regularly fail to update or generate, and you don't want to box yourself into a corner.
CAM Express is a Siemens PLM product and is "functioanlly" the same as NX CAM- just with a pre-setup interface. With CAM Express you only have one finger to point. With CAMWorks for SE you have two fingers pointing back and forth (it's your problem...no it's yours).
CAM Express is a seperate environment. CAMWorks is available thru SE.
It truly depends on what your business requirements! List some of those and you may get some better advice/recommendations.
I have used CAMWorks, and I support CAM Express, so I know both products. To answer your question, it helps to understand how each one works.
CAMWorks starts with Feature-Based Machining, so it analyzes the geometry, then uses its Technology database to create operations for those recognized features. Because of that, it works great on prismatic geometry. CAMWorks also runs inside of Solid Edge, so if an embedded application is important, then CAMWorks is your answer.
CAM Express also has a Feature-Based Machining tool, but it's not the main tool. With CAM Express, you choose the geometry, tools, and operations you wish to use. CAM Express is very powerful, and can handle machining complex geometry (think aerospace structures or 5-axis mold machining) as well as prismatic geometry. If your shop has complicated machining centers (like 5-axis millturns), CAM Express is your answer. CAM Express is highly customizable and you can also automate it to a high degree. CAM Express is a separate application (doesn't run inside Solid Edge), but it has a one-click button to move files from Solid Edge to CAM Express.
Whichever solution you choose, make sure you are satisfied with the postprocessors before giving the final OK.
You should be able to get a demo/trial run of each product from you reseller. Your reseller can also help determine which product best fits your needs, based on type of machining you do and the CNC machines in your shop.
Thanks a lot for your explanation. We currently have a four axis machine. One of the machines is a 15 year old DMG 103V which we use for making metal parts, and we have a very large router like machine with a work volume of 4500x1500x500mm for making composite molds, for milling carbon composites (its got a very efficient dust collection system). Our parts can range from 10mm in size to 7500mm. For large parts, if they cannot be machined on our machine in one shot we make a jig and assemble them on the jig. This allows us to make parts that can be 12m in length and 2m in dia. Therefore, our needs are similar to those of a carbon composite prototype manufacturer. In the near future this will change.
That said, the programming is in either 4 or 3 axis. With all mold kind of things done in 3 axis and many master models in 4 axis. I may purchase a larger machine once resources permit, which will be a very large gantry type milling machine as well as a few robots. I'll like to program all these with the new CAM solution. Currently I use VisualMill Pro and used to extensively use Sprutcam. But I've decided to move away from Sprutcam, not because its not a capable system, but because I don't like their local VAR.
Our Solid Edge VAR on the other hand is excellent and thorough. I'm very happy with them and perhaps we'll go with them on the CAM solution. I'm going to try to see and evaluate both the tools and see what will work and what not. Having done the dance with two CAM vendors in the past and having written the Post processors myself for those CAM systems, I'm wary of the selection now. Therefore, I'm trying to knock and see which one of the cam systems is worth going for the long haul.
CAMWorks in their youtube videos appears to be a good concept, but have read many negatives on their system. Can you tell me a bit more of your experience with Camworks? Does it include the tools to enable the writing of one's own post? Suppose you had a fairly complex large 3d part, would that be the go to tool?
I have had training on CAMWorks both for creating NC Programs and for creating post processors. I do not use it in production. My experience with CAM Express is much deeper.
CAMWorks has a Universal Post Generator, but it is primarily used by the AEs as a starting point - after the initial post is created, most AEs use a text editor to tweak the post.
Speaking of posts, I did a 16-lesson series on Post Builder - that is Siemens product for building posts that is included with CAM Express. You can see those videos here
This is fantastic. I've seen one of your post processor videos to ascertain how easy or difficult it would be to do something for my setup. I think that your videos are just fantastic. TK/TCL is something I've extensively used in the early to late 1990's. Its interesting to see it reappear on the scene now!
Is there a way to send PM's to people from this site? I'll verymuch like to share with you what we're doing and where I stand in the process. We'll see what we can afford/get before I pour in too much of the time in investgating the options.
Thanks a lot for your insights.
I would like to ask can Cam Express support ST8 files??
Because after uninstall ST7 and install ST8, Cam Express 8.5 can not support ST8 files.
Have you experienced this issue.
CAM Express 9 and CAM Express 10 will support ST8 files for sure. We have a new DLL file that supports the file transfer. I have not back-tested to CAM Express 8.5
Is there a reason you cannot upgrade to the latest version of CAM Express?