Two-channel CNC system for machine tools with up to five axes
NUM's Flexium+ 8 CNC, which is being showcased at IMTS 2014, is designed to be a control solution that in many cases eliminates the need for a second CNC kernel.
NUM is showing its two-channel CNC kernel, which is designed for developers of small- to medium-sized machine tools with four or five axes at IMTS. The Flexium+ 8 CNC is designed to be a control solution that in many cases eliminates the need for a second CNC kernel. NUM is also launching a version of its 3D simulation software which now includes kinematic equations to support advanced 5-axis machining applications.
The Flexium+ 8 CNC kernel offers two CNC channels and accommodates up to five axes, four of which can be interpolated. At any one time, either CNC channel can be used to control a spindle motor and four axes, instead of the full complement of five axes. This control flexibility helps designers to lower the cost of machines with complex synchronization requirements. For example, on a grinding machine, one channel could control two X/Z axes and a spindle to perform the grinding functions while the other channel controls two rear mounted U/W dressing axes. Each channel can either run its own part program asynchronously and operate autonomously—much as if it had a dedicated CNC kernel—or the two channels can be synchronized. Control of one to five axes, or a spindle, can be passed on-the-fly from one channel to the other, to maximize use of available hardware resources.
The Flexium+ 8 firmware includes RTCP (rotation around tool center point) and Inclined Plane functions. Pioneered by NUM, the RTCP function provides enormous advantages for precision 5-axis machining applications. By very accurately controlling the machine's rotary axes, such as a dual rotary tool-head or a table and cradle holding the part, the function enables the tool to be held in contact with the part, and at a constant angle, throughout the machining process.
Two versions of Flexium+ 3D simulation software are also available. One is designed for standalone use without a CNC system as a production planning tool for verifying part programs. The other is fully integrated with the Flexium+ HMI (human machine interface) and is connected to the machine's CNC system. Unlike many competitive CAD/CAM visualization systems, this uses the NC code that is being processed by the CNC interpolator to create a true real-time representation of machine operation.
- Edited by CFE Media. See more Control Engineering