Using The Perfect CNC Machine For Every Job

CNC Machine

CNC Machining is a process within manufacturing involving the use of computers to control machine tools. Tools that are controlled in this manner include lathes, mills, routers and grinders. CNC Machining is an abbreviation for Computer Numerical Control.

Modern CNC technologies have come a longer way. At BF Machine Products, when we are selecting a CNC, we tend to consider faster program processing, easier integration and use, customization capabilities, and tooling speed.

Typically, we examine the capability of CAM integration, volumetric error compensation, CNC/IT integration, motion system connectivity, simpler integration, setup, use, maintenance, and human-machine interface standardization.

We work with B&F Machine to make our patent-pending Thread Caps, because we know they use the best [CNC Machines] products and can be trusted to meet and exceed our strict specifications.

~ Alan Gross, President, AMG Bolting Solutions, LLC.

We have a 19-point checklist we use when determining which CNC machine to purchase from 1 of our 3 favorite CNC manufacturers.

Choosing the right CNC Machinery for the job

1) What specific needs do we need for our application? If serving high-production markets, such as aerospace, automotive, and medical, their might be different needs. Specifications and material types play a big role. For example; wood, marble, glass, presses, grinding, cutting, or forming.

2) What types of machines are we replacing/ we will use it for multiple purposes? Dedicated turning and milling machines may have different needs than complex 5-axis, multi-spindle, and extended bed gantry machining centers. Needs may differ for prismatic part production, mold and die work, lathes, and other areas in the machine tool industry.

3) Our facility is small, so our CNC equipment size is important.

4) Are the controls going onto a retrofit or a new design? Should machine tools be constructed the same way with the same kinds of controls as they have been for decades?

5) What features do we really need? Are we simply looking for a CNC or also an amplifier, motors, I/O modules, and operator panel?

6) Will we use any existing G code programming, newer plain-language programming options, or a combination?

7) Does CNC operating system design matter to us? Do we need or want to run one / two operating systems (Microsoft Windows and a real-time operating system) on the same platform?

8) How many axes need to be controlled? Five-axes (and greater) machining, for complex workpieces, require high-end CNC capabilities (often for aerospace and automotive manufacturing). Note that number of axes controlled can differ from spindles controlled, and from simultaneously controlled axes.

9) Do we need transformation orientation for higher speeds and using programs on different machines? Related functions allow tool center point programming, so part programs can be processed independently of the tool length and the machine tool kinematics. Part programs also can increase speed by reducing part program size compared to a traditional point-to-point method. It also allows the same part program to run on different machine tool kinematics. Compression can help generate smooth transitions at block boundaries to ensure optimum cycle time and increase accuracy.

10) Do we need to integrate with computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) and computer-aided design (CAD) software? CNC integration with CAD/CAM systems speeds time to completion and can decrease downtime between jobs.

11) Will we use simulation for design and feed the results into the control programming?

12) Will our machine tools require customization? Open architectures may more easily support customization for flexible support across many machine configurations.

13) How accurate will CNC machine be? What tolerances for error or deviation from specifications be we have for most applications? Techniques such as CNC volumetric error compensation (as opposed to individual axis compensation) allow higher accuracy, favored for tight tolerances in controlled tightening tools, for example.

14) Does information need to flow into the IT environment? Connecting CNC with IT systems enables users to evaluate overall equipment effectiveness (OEE), exchange data with an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, schedule preventive maintenance, monitor systems remotely, and perform other functions, helping large end users to optimize factories and facilities.

15) Does CNC need to integrate with other motion systems? Integrating CNC with other drives and motors may ease information flow through a facility and provide a better overall view into processes and workflow.

16) Does CNC need to integrate tool and process monitoring, measuring and calibration, and other systems?

17) Will we integrate CNC with safety automation? Typically yes, but, not always necessary.

18) What level of CNC knowledge exists among engineering design, engineering operations, operators, and maintenance personnel? Inquire about simple language commands for setup and programming, maintenance-free controls, and if wearable components are needed. Ask if human-machine interfaces (HMIs) are integrated across CNC offerings, if they are scalable, and if ease-of-use features can decrease the need for training.

-We commonly gather machine information from the following CNC providers; see links below.

Rexroth – Bosch – “The Drive & Control Company: You set the requirements for your machine, your project, your system. Then, we combine our drive and control technology and unique expertise to give you the right solution. Whether it’s for Mobile Applications, Machinery Applications and Engineering, Factory Automation, or Renewable Energies, companies worldwide trust us to provide innovative components, complete system solutions and expert services, drawing on our portfolio of precise, proven, energy-efficient hydraulics, electric drives and controls and linear motion and assembly technologies. It’s what we do. We move everything.”

HEIDENHAIN – “Measurement and Control Technology for Demanding Positioning Tasks: DR. JOHANNES HEIDENHAIN GmbH develops and manufactures linear and angle encoders, rotary encoders, digital readouts, and numerical controls for demanding positioning tasks. HEIDENHAIN products are used primarily in high-precision machine tools as well as in plants for the production and processing of electronic components.

With our extensive experience and know-how in the development and manufacture of measuring devices and numerical controls, we create the groundwork for the automation of tomorrow’s plants and production machines.”

Siemens SINUMERIK CNC – “Customers who have chosen SINUMERIK CNC can tell you why they love them.

They understand SINUMERIK controls have been setting the standard in the American machine tool industry for more than 50 years and that Siemens continues this innovation. Siemens customers know us to be an innovative partner who stands for quality.

These customers have watched their productivity increase and can proudly say that SINUMERIK CNC systems make sure every workpiece is an absolute success, whether individual parts or mass production — simple or complex workpieces.

Do you have what it takes to be highly-productive and highly-efficient?
Isn’t it time to think about whether or not you have the right tools for the job?”

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