Operating system lets company customize machine tools

Operating system lets company customize machine tools

Precitech Inc. of Keene, N.H., a manufacturer of ultraprecision machines and metrology systems, always relied on commercial motion-control hardware to regulate its lathes. However, to innovate and stay ahead of the competition, the company needed to push

By incorporating QNX real-time operating-system software, Precitech no longer uses a one-size-fits-all control system on its Nanoform 200 diamond-turning lathe.


Precitech Inc. of Keene, N.H., a manufacturer of ultraprecision machines and metrology systems, always relied on commercial motion-control hardware to regulate its lathes. However, to innovate and stay ahead of the competition, the company needed to push the limits of the machines beyond what the hardware allowed. The solution was to operate the machine controllers entirely in software, so Precitech incorporated the QNX real-time operating system from QNX Software Systems Ltd.

Using the QNX operating system in conjunction with the Photon MicroGUI, QNX's graphical user inter-face, Precitech does all its development unhindered by having to make firmware changes. The company creates and tests scenarios in minutes, so it can quickly custom design control systems to meet end user needs.

With QNX, the company no longer has to use a onesize-fits-all control system or rely on creating appealing bells and whistles for an apparent technical edge. "Form and finish is what our business is all about," says David Davis, president and CEO of Precitech. "We now have complete control over form and finish and can provide the graphical interface and tools the world has come to rely on and expect."

Precitech's customers demand highly reliable machine tools and controls because what they manufacture is not

only expensive but must be extremely fine tuned. While some customers produce mechanical components that require tight dimensional and finish tolerances through submicron grinding or hardturning, others make contact lenses, lens molds, intraocular lenses, and specialized vision devices.

QNX Software Systems Ltd.
Ottawa, Ont.
www.qnx.com

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