Programming, Monitoring Multiple CNCs via Client-Server Network

Programming, Monitoring Multiple CNCs via Client-Server Network

FANUC introduces scalable data-management software

FANUC Factory Automation has developed a distributed data-management program specifically for machine tools driven by Fanuc CNC automation. FOCAS Automation Solution Connect (FASConnect) software is described as easy to use, cost-effective, and scalable, and it supports older FANUC CNC systems as well as newer installations. It allows operators to manage CNC data for all the machines in a shop from any network computer.

FANUC FA America will introduce FASConnect at the imX even next month in Las Vegas. FANUC manufactures factory automation (FA) and robots, and its FANUC FA America supplies FANUC CNC systems and in the Americas.

“Backup all your FANUC CNCs and manage your part-programs from anywhere on the network without going down to the factory floor,” explained Paul Webster, product engineering manager. “FASConnect was designed by FANUC, for FANUC, to support the data management requirements of the industry.”

FASConnect is a software-only solution that installs as a Windows service on a central computer. This computer becomes the ‘server’ in the client/server arrangement, and once configured it allows access to all the FANUC CNC systems that are on the plant network.

FASConnect is a software program for network-distributed data management for FANUC CNC-equipped machine tools.

With the main application installed on a central PC and then accessed either locally on that central “server” PC, or remotely via a “client” PC that can be located elsewhere on the same network.

FASConnect uses file transfer protocol (FTP) to achieve a high degree of compatibility. The connected CNCs are accessed “as if they were folders on a computer,” the developer explained. Local and remote access are equally effective, and no client software is required as FASConnect uses the standard Windows Explorer web browser as the client.

Up to 22 users can connect simultaneously. The CNC data files can be dragged and dropped for backup, and the files themselves can be opened with any text editor, and are easy to read.

Since FASConnect software installs as a service in Windows, it can be run without a user login or desktop interaction (which may risk a user accidentally deleting the program.) Built-in security allows for backing up only critical CNC data. Writing of part programs to the CNC is possible as long as the user has the proper credentials (username/password). This reduces the risk of CNC data being compromised but allows for remote part-programs remotely. The FASConnect service will run on Windows XP, Windows 7, or Windows Server 2008. The client can be any Windows-based computer.

Once the program is configured, no non-Windows software is required, and incremental licensing allows shops and manufacturers of all types to use this software cost effectively. It is scalable from 2 to 22 simultaneous users, from 10 to unlimited CNC connections, and multiple ‘servers’ are possible, too.

FASConnect was designed for use by factories of any size using incremental licensing. This purchasing concept allows the buyer to acquire only the number of connections and users that are needed: as the operation grows, additional connections or even new ‘server’ installations can be added. A basic, two-user 10-CNC installation is affordable, and the installation can be scaled up. There is no limit on the number of possible CNC connections.

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