If you use CNC machining equipment in your production process, you know how complex it can be to ensure the programming is perfect. The good news is there are tools to help you prove out your program without wasting expensive time on the CNC equipment, but it can be difficult to cut through the hype to know which choice is right for you.
To help you out, we’ve done a CNC software comparison, looking at NCSIMUL and Vericut — two of the leading contenders in the space. Here’s what we found.
CNC Software Comparison: Features and Benefits
CAD Integrations: Advantage NCSIMUL
One of the best ways to eliminate transposition and entry errors is to have your CNC software take its information directly from your CAD system. That way you know it’s perfect before you spend time generating and testing code or actually machining parts.
Both systems offer integrations to popular CAD systems, including PTC Creo and Dassault CATIA. NCSIMUL has a simple interface that passes data seamlessly with a single click. Vericut has an extensive list of integrations, but the integration is neither seamless nor simple. In fact, they offer training classes on how to accomplish the download for “most” of the CAD systems they claim to integrate with.
NCSIMUL integrates seamlessly with popular CAD programs like PTC Creo and Dassault CATIA.
Testing: Tied Between NCSIMUL and Vericut
NCSIMUL Player allows an engineering team to run through the machining process on a PC before ever committing expensive machine time or materials to a test. It’s a free download from the website and offers a complete 3D view of the entire process. NCSIMUL Player is perfect for group showings during production or process improvement meetings for a group.
Vericut also offers a PC viewer, but they also have an iPad app that makes it easy to review on the go or during impromptu development or production meetings. The Vericut Reviewer is a free download from the App Store.
While NCSIMUL Player is better for desktop reviews, the option for an iPad app is very compelling. We have to give this one a tied score.
NCSIMUL and Vericut both have comprehensive testing and reviewing tools.
Training: Advantage NCSIMUL
NCSIMUL offers both online and in-person training, as well as user conferences and group meetings to help users get to know the product. Spring Academy is the name of its training arm, and it offers a complete training program and online eLearning that can save money and time bringing new users up to speed. NCSIMUL partners are also authorized to provide training, making it easy to get training at a time and location that works for your team.
Vericut also offers training, but it is offered as an integral part of its implementation services, making it harder to bring new users up to speed.
NCSIMUL offers a variety of training options like in-person training sessions, user conferences, and group meetings.
Robotics: Advantage NCSIMUL
Vericut has a module specifically designed to test CNC machining and robotics. It works out of the box with six-axis robots from Fanuc, KUKA, ABB, Kawasaki, and Motorman. With the increasing importance of robotics in manufacturing, this is an important capability—if not now, then soon.
NCSIMUL also supports robotics in its 3D simulation tools, and it can simulate any type of CNC machine—including robotics—with no limitations on the number of axes or machines involved in the process. This allows your team to view in three dimensions the entire machining process, step by step, even when multiple machines are involved.
Visualization: Advantage NCSIMUL
NCSIMUL offers WSIWIC (what you see is what you cut) 3D visualizations that synchronize simulations with the CNC equipment. These visualizations run on modern PCs and tablets to make the solution palatable to Gen X.
One of the toughest problems facing manufacturers today is the inability to attract younger people to the industry, often because of the perception that the technology in use is obsolete. Kudos to NCSIMUL for recognizing the role typical CNS hardware plays in the problem and taking positive steps to help their programs appeal to young people while still performing the rigorous activities required to increase shop-floor productivity.
NCSIMUL includes what you see is what you cut (WSIWIC) 3D visualizations that synchronize simulation with the CNC equipment.
Speed: Advantage NCSIMUL
Research shows that NCSIMUL easily outpaces Vericut, by a factor of more than 3 to one. When running a 5-axis machine job that required 13 tools and a 6MB program, NCSIMUL completed NC Decoding, Tool Path Analysis, Simulation with Display, and a Results Analysis in 8 minutes and 47 seconds. Vericut took more than 30 minutes to complete the same test.
NCSIMUL outpaces Vericut by a factor of more than 3 to 1.
While we admit to having a slight bias toward NCSIMUL, because that is what we offer, we also have a strong commitment to ensuring our customers get the best product for their needs. In some cases, Vericut might be the better solution. We have extensive experience with other tools besides NCSIMUL that helps us make recommendations based on real-world customer needs, not what’s best for us.
If you are interested in a more in-depth CNC software comparison, contact 3DSMAN today.