How To Properly Integrate CNC And Automation

- Jun 10, 2018-

While the benefits of CNC and automation are clear there are still barriers to overcome. The primary assumption of many is that CNC machines can be left unattended once they have been automated; running all night and weekend in the dark. This is untrue. CNC machines can be set up to run finishing cuts and operations at night by only if done properly by the operator. They must inspect the cutting tool is not worn out and that the programmed parameters are set. The CNC machine will not detect wear on a tool bit. The thermal expansion of the machine is another parameter that must be carefully monitored. While thermal expansion algorithms can help predict when a tool is out of tolerance, operators are still need to adjust warning indicators and perform measurements on the tool after machining processes are complete; changing the tool if necessary.

The investment in resources will be also important. Not just in new machines or connection equipment (i.e. robotic arms, Ethernet systems, sensors, machine vision, etc.) but also in the labor work force. Advances in solid modeling, CAM/CAD systems, and computer integration have helped several operators create millions of lines of code to perform several operations. Companies need to invest into computer programmers and software modelers to handle the increased amount of computer data needed to operate these machines.