Posts

A Turn Toward Manufacturing Perfection with CNC Digital Twins

The concept of an effective digital twin, or exact replica of your equipment or process on the shop floor, gained notoriety in 2002 despite its early roots in NASA’s space program in the 1960s. Today digital twin creation is happening across manufacturing floors around the world in an effort to speed up and optimize traditional processes. Rather than perform process steps in a particular sequence, manufacturers with digital twins may carry out processes simultaneously for faster results. And there’s plenty of applications for digital twins as well. Manufacturers with a digital twin of a prototype can be tested across multiple simulations or designs to reduce the number of physical iterations needed before production, says the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, or they can be used to analyze product performance, distribution and end-user experience for product design improvements.

Simulating Success

CNC machine simulation software provider CGTech, the makers of VERICUT®, and Scytec, producer of the DataXchange machine monitoring solution, identified another such application for CNC digital twins: quality management. By identifying the presence of variances before production begins on the floor, the partnering companies found that non-conformances and rework can be minimized, if not wholly eliminated. It works like this: CNC machines with modern FANUC oi and 30i series controls are monitored by the DataXchange solution, sending set up information, like main NC programs, subprograms, axis locations, work offsets, and tooling, to compare with VERICUT’s Machine Configuration (VMC) for accuracy verification. Any differences between machine values and simulation values are then updated in the VERICUT simulation to ensure only the intended result. By rerunning the simulation with values from the machine, it’s possible to check that there are no new problems or unexpected errors related to the machine setup.

A screenshot of DataXchange with VERICUT software integration, which servers to provide a simulation of a machine's workflow to catch errors before they happen.

With this latest DataXchange integration with VERICUT, any differences between actual machine values and simulation values can be updated in the VERICUT simulation to ensure only the intended result.

VERICUT shows material removal at the workpiece level, but it can also simulate entire machine tools as they appear on the shop floor. Its Machine Simulation detects collisions and near-misses between all machine tool components, such as axis slides, heads, turrets, rotary tables, spindles, tool changers, fixtures, work pieces, cutting tools and other user-defined objects. A user can set up near-miss zones around the components to check for close calls, and detect over-travel errors.

Honing Predictive Accuracy

In future releases, the VERICUT integration with DataXchange for CNC Digital Twins is expected to introduce these capabilities:

  • Glean post-machining insights to investigate differences between how the part ran on the machine and simulation
  • Investigate potential issues that may have caused parts to be out of specification, review any modifications to the NC program subroutines, or feed rates and spindle speeds
  • Identify and review any errors or problems that resulted in overrides or emergency stops in real-time
  • Compare live cycle times to VERICUT’s predicted run times
A screenshot of VERICUT software, showing the project tree and programs that can be simulated within the software.

Collisions and near-misses between all machine tool components may be recorded in the VERICUT Machine Simulation for refinement opportunities.

The digital twin concept has come a long way since Dr. Michael Grieves first applied it to manufacturing in the early 2000s. But its benefits hold promise, particularly for manufacturers saddled with costly materials, a limited and extended workforce and high customer demands for exceptional quality. To learn more about the VERICUT integration with DataXchange for your manufacturing business, contact a Shop Floor Automations expert today.

 

DNC Networking Software for CNC Communication to Machines

DNC software for CNC communication


Shop Floor Automations has been providing DNC software to communicate to CNC machines since 1998. We provide two leading software product lines: Predator Software and Ascendant Technologies.

Most companies have methods to deliver files to machines, but are limited to using floppy disks, USB sticks, PCMCIA cards, and tape readers—or even manual typing. Theses methods use several hours to load programs, but offer no revision control, management of proven or released files, or traceability.

With our solutions, we can implement a product that improves productivity and tracks every upload, download or drip-feed to the CNC, while decreasing the time it takes to load programs. Every minute on the shop floor counts, and if we can save you 5 minutes a day, your new system could be paid for in months.

We offer wired and wireless solutions, personalized to meet your specific needs. Want to learn more? Visit us at shopfloorautomations.com or call us at 877-611-5825. More info on our DNC Solutions:

Manage your CNC programs, machine parameters, & offsets. Enjoy a wide range of CNC communication options from your Predator PCs for drip-feeding, downloading, & bi-directional communication. Upload via parallel, RS232, RS422 Ethernet, & wireless Ethernet for thousands of CNC machines. With Microsoft Office  & Windows Explorer-compatible user interface (Windows 10 O/S supported), use familiar features for drag & drop, cut, copy, paste, shortcut menus, object-based menus, toolbars, tool tips, & available online help.

Improve CNC revision control while using existing ERP & MES bar-coded paperwork. Eliminate time wasted walking back & forth between your CNC & PC with a Remote Request function. Consider a 32-Bit, Multi-thread, Multi-tasking, Open-Architecture DNC Software solution that works wired & wirelessly.

Simplify operations with one network for all of your CNC machines, Robots, PLCs, & part makers, grouped by building or cell.

We offer the following DNC Communication solutions: Predator DNC, Ascendant extremeDNC, Predator TouchHMI, and Predator EditLock. We also have many pieces of hardware to help your shop floor achieve wireless DNC.

SFA in February 2014 Manufacturing News

February 2014 Manufacturing News

Read our article about DNC in this month’s Manufacturing News issue, “SFA + Predator DNC Software For Windows”

Shop Floor Automations Newsletter Shop Floor Automations (SFA), a provider of software for the manufacturing shop floor, installed Predator’s version 9.0.16 through the end of 2013 while beta testing version 10.0 of Predator DNC Software and Editor.

Version 9.0 has been installed at hundreds of different sites. The main benefit is its compatibility with Windows 7 and Windows 2008/2012 server, including both 32- and 64-bit Operating systems.

“The DNC is easily migrated from previous versions running under Windows XP to the latest Predator DNC with our migration tools and hardware program,” said SFA President Greg Mercurio. “Customers have used the same solution for years from us and if it works, they do not want to change anything unless needed. Because of the end to Microsoft’s support for Windows XP, we have created a program to assist customers in keeping their machines up and running without interrupting production.”

SFA can provide end users with new hardware to integrate their existing wired system into wireless 802.11 B/G or embrace Ethernet technology on the shop floor. The use of RS232 serial ports is being phased out and networking CNC machines is becoming more prevalent. Predator Software includes functionality to communicate via FTP or Windows Share, and supports the use of the FANUC FOCAS to simplify file transfers. RS232 standard protocol is also included to support the hundreds of legacy CNC controllers with enhanced file management tools to automate the download and upload process.

Read the whole piece here! You may also call SFA and ask us about more Predator Software solutions at (877) 611-5825.

The different Predator solutions we are offer: DNC. Touch HMI, EditLock, MDC, CNC Editor, CNC Editor Express, CNC Editor Light, PDM, and Tracker. We have been the number one reseller of Predator Software since 1999 and continue to customize this solution to fit customer needs. Ask about demos and free trials!

 

Virtual Machine

Virtual Machine — Machine Simulation & Verification

Predator Software Product Description

Predator Virtual CNC and Virtual Machine integrates CNC verification and machine simulation within a single Windows-based product. Predator Virtual Machine is designed to accurately simulate the CNC, the machine and the machining process.

How it Works

Predator Virtual Machine works just like a machine tool. It requires CNC programs, offsets, stock material, tooling, and fixturing details. A 3D virtual machining environment is displayed to the user with VCR buttons to control the simulation. Unlike a machine tool, Predator Virtual Machine will safely detect machine crashes, broken tooling, CNC programming errors, and numerous other problems.

Initial setup requires the user to design a machine with any major CAD/CAM system. By leveraging the strengths of today’s solid modelers, machine design is faster and easier then ever before. The machine’s base and moving parts are imported into Predator Virtual Machine and the kinematics are defined. A library of machine types such as VMCs and HMCs simplify the kinematic definitions. CNC specifics are configured down to the G-code & M-code level. A library of 150 CNC controls that can be edited by the user, dramatically simplify initial configuration.

Read more below.

Read more