Machine-tool automation program developer NUM Corp. released a new software for its Flexium+ CNC platform, one that makes it possible to maintain high-level tool management over multiple machines operating in a shop. According to the developer, it is especially suitable for complex high-end milling applications and machines producing mold-and-die products.
The new tool-management functions form part of the latest version of NUM’s Flexium+ software (V4.1.00.00), and provide a comprehensive and constantly accessible database that can be installed on a server platform for use with multiple CNC machine tools in a large production plant; or, it can be used in a standalone set-up on a single CNC machine tool.
The software includes PLC libraries and dedicated CNC functions and HMI pages. It can handle a high number of tools of different types – including turning, milling, and boring – and standard, medium, or large sizes. Duplo tools with identical cutting characteristics are supported, as are different types of tool magazines, e.g., disk, chain, or rack. New tool characteristics are managed at maximum speed and maximum feed rate, and the tool life can be monitored over time, by wear amount or by the number of operations. Pre-emptive warning messages are generated automatically, whenever specified limits are approached.
The software provides a comprehensive set of extensions for tool characteristics. In addition to standard items like the name, type and number of cuts – as many as 18 of which can be specified – extensions are provided to handle numerous other factors, including magazine size, life management, technological characteristics such as maximum speed and speed rate, and status/warning indicators.
Developed primarily as a high-end system for complex tasks in milling applications, the software offers sophisticated NCK features, such as a large block look-ahead capability in excess of 1,000, together with very short NCK cycle times. These features also make the system ideal for HSM applications in the mold-and-die market.
NUM reported the tool-management system is easy to use and requires no special software tools: Operators simply employ NUM’s Flexium Tools software to extend the scope of their project to the database server. A full set of API functions is included to implement all necessary tool operations, together with a number of dedicated functions in NCK firmware.
The system also includes different logical HMI list pages for spindle and magazine view, tool view and tool data table, enabling users to visualize the complete content of tool information and current status.
“Manufacturers operating multiple CNC machine tools often are forced to devote significant resources to tool management,” according to Werner Heimpel, NUM product manager for HMI and Software Tools. “NUM’s new system can help them to save considerable engineering costs in the long term.”