Siemens partnerships: self-compensating CNC; error checking

Several recent announcements from Siemens Energy & Automation Machine Tool Business expand the company’s computer numerical control (CNC) capability by offering self-compensating CNC and increased error checking for machine tool code.

By Control Engineering Staff December 15, 2004
Siemens collaborated with API to offer what they say is the world’s first self-compensating CNC.

Several recent announcements from Siemens Energy & Automation Machine Tool Business expand the company’s computer numerical control (CNC) capability by offering self-compensating CNC and increased error checking for machine tool code.

Siemens’ collaboration with Automated Precision Inc . (API) is said to create the world’s first self-compensating CNC by integrating API laser-based metrology products into the compensation scheme of the Siemens Sinumerik 840D CNC. The first phase integrates API’s 5/6D Laser interferometer system to automatically perform full compensation (linear and straightness), using native compensation abilities of the 840D computer numerical control. Other integrations of the API product family into the Sinumerik 840D are expected, with the goal of increasing calibration efficiencies and overall equipment effectiveness (OEE). These are expected to include squareness and full volumetric compensation; API’s laser will record error information from the subject machine tool and automatically feed volumetric compensation data into Siemens’ Spatial Error Compensation (SEC), suggests Rajas Sukthankar, manager, marketing and business development, Siemens Energy & Automation.

Speaking on behalf of API, CEO Kam Lau says, “customers can take full advantage of the compensation provided in the control without requiring more machine down time to do so. In fact, it will be even more efficient with even less down time being required over conventional compensation methods.”

In a separate development, Siemens E&A announced a partnership with CGTech to tightly integrate CGTech’s Vericut software with Siemens Sinumerik CNCs. Vericut is stand-alone software that verifies NC program accuracy before running them on the machine tool. It simulates machining to detect errors and correct areas of inefficiency, enabling NC manufacturers to run perfect and efficient first-time parts without taking the time and expense to manually prove-out the program, the companies said. Siemens Virtual Numerical Control Kernel (VNCK) software is used for part simulation and verification. It contains “numerical control” of the CNC and runs on a PC. It is fully configurable like the one already integrated into Siemens CNC hardware. Implemented as a stand-alone Microsoft Windows program, Sinumerik 840D’s NC kernel motion logic is built inside the VNCK, which communicates with Vericut and drives the simulation by moving virtual machine axes, with the motion algorithms used by the control’s electronics.

Bill Hasenjaeger, product manager, CGTech, says, “The VNCK/Vericut integration is another facet of the long-standing close relationship among Siemens, CGTech, and our mutual customers. CGTech has been emulating the Siemens 840D control since 1996, developing critical technologies that allow us to accurately and correctly simulate CNC machines that use the 840D control. Connection to VNCK provides a new method to drive Vericut’s CNC machine simulation, ensuring correct motion simulation for 100% of the 840D control’s advanced features, unique motion control techniques and high-level programming options.”

Sinumerik 840D CNC system offers specialized functions for milling, drilling, turning, grinding, and handling technologies. Capabilities also include nibbling, punching, and laser-machining, for high-speed and 5-axis machining. The most powerful version directs 10 channels, 10 mode groups, and 31 axes. With a high demand on motion axes and channels, computing power, configuration possibilities, and storage areas of the NCUs can be expanded via link modules. In this way, the 840D can combine up to 248 axes and spindles into one CNC, Siemens says.

—Mark T. Hoske, editor-in-chief, Control Engineering, MHoske@cfemedia.com