There is more than one path to optimizing CNC machine productivity,-and Maintenance Technologies (www.maint-tech.com), a business segment of MAG Industrial Automation Systems, has teamed up with Omative Systems to create a sensor/software package designed to reduce cycle times and extend tool life by performing automatic real-time feedrate optimization.
Sophisticated CAM software can optimize tool paths hoping to keep tool loading as consistent as possible, but programmers are still forced to set fixed feedrates based on a worst-case conditions to avoid excessive tool wear and breakage. The programs generated manually or by CAM packages cannot adjust feedrates based on local hardness of material, uneven material surface or dimensions, unexpected fixture instability or changing sharpness/dullness of the tool. That's where Maintenance Technologies' new sensor/software package comes in.
Their system uses a sensor to monitor spindle load and then uses that data to adjust and optimize the feedrate. As spindle load increases or decreases, the system decreases or increases feedrate accordingly. By maintaining a consistent, maximum permissible tool loading during each cutting operation regardless of variations in the workpiece material, tool condition or other factors, cycle times, tool breakage and excessive tool wear, manual intervention and human error are all reduced. Maintaining optimal cutting force on the tool also results in consistent dimensional accuracy due to uniform tool deflection.
Maintenance Technologies calls this process Adaptive Control and Monitoring. The sensor/software package is priced between $9,000 and $14,000 per spindle, and the company says it can be used on any machine. The package can also be used to provide machine data to Maintenance Technologies' new Freedom E-Log plant and production asset-management software.