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New Cell Control Retrofit Package

April 19, 2012
CNC Engineering simplifies HMI, functions for Fanuc control platform
CNC Engineering’s “substantial update” to the Fanuc control platform for machining cells has a user-friendly, touchscreen GUI that also reduces downtime.
The operator’s panel manual mode lets the machinist capture the shuttle position instantly, in case of mechanical changes or repositioning of the stations.
Open Vision cell control software was developed specifically for operators of Makino MMC systems, but the update can be customized for machining cells designed by other CNC suppliers.

CNC Engineering reported details of a “substantial update” to its Open Vision cell control retrofit package, including an improved operator interface with the ability to control multiple machines and pallets, running on a new touch-screen industrial PC connected via Fanuc HSSB. The company is a Fanuc retrofitter, and the Open Vision package includes the new Fanuc Powermate i-D control with a new Fanuc servo system as an replacement for the pallet shuttle hardware. The new system reportedly is easier to operate and achieves reduced downtime than the prior iteration, and the developer added that it brings users better access to training, service, customer support, and spare parts.

The original version of Open Vision cell control software was designed specifically for operators of Makino MMC systems. Though the new software emulates existing MMC functionality with an easy-to-use touchscreen HMI, the developer said it is not limited to Makino systems and can be customized for machining cells designed by other CNC suppliers. Among the software features are:

A user-friendly HMI — Open Vision’s graphical user interface allows the operator to set and view pallet/pallet station status easily. Pallets can be marked as “Ready to Load” and their load priority can be easily set or changed to alter the order of processing.

Improved pallet placement — Makino’s MMC system required a pallet to be moved to the workstation before it could be marked as “Ready to Load” and made available to the machine. This is no longer necessary, as any pallet can be moved directly to the machine from any pallet station.

Flexible workstation settings — The original MMC configuration designated two pallet stations as workstations, thereby limiting the number of potential pallet stations. The functionality of these two stations can be determined and set by the operator using the GUI. These stations can be designated, independently, as either a pallet station or a workstation.

Home/Random Pallet Placement — The new “Random” configuration setting allows the operator to specify whether a pallet can be moved to any available pallet station, rather than having to be moved to its specific, “Home” station. The “Random” configuration can result in faster Cell Control operation and increased spindle utilization.

Direct machine-to-worksation pallet placement — Another new configuration setting allows the operator to specify that pallets should be moved directly to any available workstation upon being removed from the machine. This allows the operator to more easily access the processed pallet and perform any post-machining operations.

Manual machine functions — The system’s Operator Panel allows the machinist to move the shuttle in MPG and Jog modes. It also allows him to raise and lower the pallet on the shuttle. These functions provide a way of manually moving pallets from station-to-station, including the load station, without being in Auto mode. They also aid in the setup of the machine.

Improved setup procedure — Using the manual mode of the Operator Panel, the system’s setup screen allows for capturing the shuttle’s position at the press of a button. This makes establishing the shuttle position at each pallet station quick and easy, should a change be necessary due to mechanical changes or repositioning of the stations.

Diagnostics and troubleshooting — Access to the Fanuc control ladder, settings and other diagnostic tools is provided through the Fanuc HSSB-based software, including the Ladder Editing Package and CNC Screen Display.

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