Printer Friendly

Controls, software were out in full force at IMTS.

Faster, easier, more powerful, make it open, keep it simple. Those were the key areas that software providers were highlighting at IMTS 98. Users have been requesting this and software makers are answering. Everything was on display - ranging from CNCs, DNCs, and PC-based controls, to highlights of the system's open architecture, real-time communications, control packages, interactive communications, ease-of-use, and conversational design.

DNC Network System from Greco Systems, El Cajon, CA, is hardware, software, and machine communications devices for a totally automated shopfloor - providing users with a customized, economical manufacturing solution. Shown with DNC Network System was the TSS-12 open architecture touchscreen computer.

The Allen-Bradley 9/PC, a PC-based CNC, from Rockwell Automation, Milwaukee, WI, offers open interfaces for servo, part programming, communication, human interface, logic, and I/O. Equipped with a DDE (Dynamic Data Exchange) and OPC (Object Linking and Embedding for Process Control)compliant Application Programming Interface (API), the 9/PC allows users to interface third party software applications and leverage a wide variety of software compatible with the Microsoft NT operating system.

MachineMate PC-based CNC from Giddings & Lewis, Fond du Lac, WI, can be readily applied to all types of machining from metalcutting to woodworking. Featuring a modern open architecture CNC that fulfills all technical requirements from standard to high-tech applications, MachineMate CNC Series allows installation on new machines or retrofits on older machines and is based on standard PC technology using a Windows NT operating systems and real time kernel.

Live real time communications being accomplished by a Bosch open architecture control and an R666 Production Center were demonstrated by Bosch Automation Technology, Racine, WI, and Wisconsin Machine Tool Corp, W Allis, WI

Mazak Corp, Florence, KY, showed the Fusion 640 CNC/PC control offering the benefits of dedicated control and the flexibility of a PC. (See Technology Update, pg 27.)

Delta 40M2Q CNC retrofit packages for manual knee-type milling machines from Autocon Technologies Inc, Farmington Hills, MI, provide powerful levels of 2-axis machine control capabilities, coupled with a Z-axis linear scale for precise depth information displayed on the CNC's CRT. The Delta 40M2Q package is based on the DynaPath Delta 40, a 32-bit CNC. The controls use an industrial PC 486 motherboard for high reliability and future upgrade-ability; scaleable processors to provide high speed block processing times; and a high speed noise immune serial CANbus interface. Additionally, a DNC Terminal Mode permits initiating uploads and downloads of part programs and tool data from the CNC or a host computer.

NUM Corp, Naperville, IL, showed the NUM 1050 digital CNC/axes and spindles control package designed to meet the requirements of high speed and/or complex machining applications. NUM 1050 provides the CNC, PLC, and communication functions and is initially configured to control a total of eight digital axes or spindles with a maximum of three axis groups and can be used in conjunction with the operator interfaces of the NUM CNC product line.

Delta Tau Data Systems Inc, Chatsworth, CA, had a PMAC Turbo/MACRO demonstration of 64 axes of coordinated motion from 2 PMAC Turbo Ultralite motion control boards (32 axes each). Connected via a single fiber optic cable linked to 8 MACRO (motion and control ring optical) stations with 8 motors each (including I/O), for a total of 64 axes. Utilizing Motorola's new 56300 line of high performance digital signal processor (DSP) IC's, the PMAC Turbo adds new performance to the PMAC line of open architecture motion controllers.

DNC Operation Management Package from GE Fanuc, Charlottesville, VA, provides a convenient way to handle applications with part programs that are too large to store in the CNC memory. The DNC package supports "dripfeeding" - the process of transferring and executing a part program from the PC's hard drive on a block by block basis. Additionally, a scheduling function is included that allows an operator to define the execution sequence for a set of part programs. This software is available for the Series 150-B, 160-C, 160i, 180-C, 180i, and 210i, CNCs.

AXI-PAK servoaxis package from Thomson Industries, Port Washington, NY - a turnkey motion control package available off the shelf - is a combination of a high torque BLX brushless servomotor with IP65 sealing, a Thomson OMNIDRIVE digital servodrive, molded cables, and OMNILINK setup software. The TMC-2000 standalone controller was also shown.

Mitsubishi Electric Automation Inc, Vernon Hills, IL, introduced the MELsoft Computer Control (MC2) PC-based controller. MC2 is specifically tailored for use in development of control systems using Mitsubishi's line of A-Series I/O products. MC2 can provide faster control system design cycles, lower machinery downtime, simplified integration with other Windows-based software, and improved economies of scale. MC2 features hard, real time operation, providing deterministic control response similar to that of traditional PLCs.

MDSI, Ann Arbor, MI, highlighted OpenCNC on Microsoft Windows NT where the control is software, you don't need any proprietary hardware to do it, you can retrofit a machine tool yourself, and you can run a software CNC control on Windows NT and integrate it with your MES and ERP applications.

A CNC support tool, Interactive Support (IS) from Tree Machine Tool Co Inc, Franklin, WI, allows interactive communication via voice, data, and video through Tree's PC-2100 CNC. Service staff at Tree, or a Tree distributor can now see and communicate with a machine operator at a remote location 10 miles or 10,000 miles away and can perform all functions of the PC-2100 from this remote location, including diagnostics and programming.

SmartPath CNC control from Newall Electronics Inc, Columbus, OH, features an easy-to-use design, conversational prompts and programming via the Windows 95 interface, and an available DXF file transfer feature to allow operators to create a conversational part program from a CAD drawing.

Showing an aggressive display to promote their entrance into the job-shop spectrum, Siemens Corp, Alpharetta, GA, unveiled many products aimed at this market. AutoTurn and AutoTurn Plus are workshop-oriented graphical programming systems for Siemens 810D and 840D NC systems. Designed for turning technology, both systems facilitate the cost-effective use of NC machine tools in jobshop environments that specialize in small-batch production runs. ShopMill, for milling and drilling tasks, and ManualTurn, which provides a bridge to CNC productivity for all turning tasks, were also shown.

Version 9.7 PC-based machine tool controller from CamSoft Corp, Lake Elsinore, CA, features over 70 enhancements. Four major areas of improvement are: 3D and 5-axis tool compensation at the machine using four new G-codes; the ability for the 3D CAD/CAM system and the PC-based machine tool controller to share the same database in memory; the control can now cut at a maximum programmed feedrate and the controller will make decisions in real time to dynamically adjust the feedrate based on cutting conditions and the torque or lead on the spindle; and self-diagnostic features, displays, watch windows, and remote viewing abilities.


Machine communications were were a loud topic at IMTS 98, but CAD/CAM software made its own noise. Displayed were not just new versions, but rather there were new products or entirely redesigned software packages - such as DP Technologies Esprit 98, Siemens Corp with AutoTurn and AutoTurn Plus, and Shop Suite 2K from CIM-NET Inc.

Esprit 98 from DP Technology, Camarillo, CA, was developed from the ground up as a 100% Windows-compliant application, using Windows standards. Esprit 98 highlights all of the features of its earlier 5-axis versions, with the added benefit of solid representation of parts throughout the entire creation of the machining process, web access, and seamless communication with all CAD systems via its open architecture design. The parametric engine easily handles the engineering changes and part families most often encountered, regardless of the CAD system source.

SURFCAM Ver 7.1 from Surfware, Westlake Village, CA, provides shop-tested solutions for 2D and 3D mechanical design, surface and solid modeling, NC programming, and multiaxis machining. "SURFCAM's modeling capability bridges the gap from design to NC programming," claims Bryan Diehl, vp software development. "The new surface trimming is incredibly easy to use and accelerates the design process from concept to finished model." Vet 7.1 supports trimming to curves, multiple curves, surfaces, and even multiple surfaces.

CIMNET Inc, Robesonia, PA, released Shop Suite 2K manufacturing software - CIMNET products bundles with other, industry-leading software products into a single product suite - aimed at addressing the needs of the small to midsize job shop or manufacturer. Included are Virtual Gibbs, CIMNET Front OfFice Millennia, DNC Professional, SPCMaN, Folders Lite, Mpulse, and ToolMaN which includes Tool Manager, Tool Administrator, Calibration, and Requisition.

PowerSHAPE and PowerINSPECT CAD packages from Delcam Int'l Inc, Windsor, Ontario, Canada, are for molds, models, dies, and tools. "PowerSHAPE bridges the gap between conventional CAD systems, and in particular solid modelers, and the needs of manufacturing," says Steve Sivitter, vice president, North American operations. Those needs include creating surfaces from curves, filleting, parting lines, and dynamic surface manipulation. PowerINSPECT allows inspection of complex finished parts by directly comparing data generated by the CMMs probe with the original CAD file.

Automated programming capabilities for Virtual Gibbs CAM system from Gibbs & Associates, Moorpark, CA, include automatic feature recognition (AFR) capabilities and enhanced knowledge-based machining (KBM) functionality, both of which result in significant increases in programming productivity. Additional features are the automatic roughing capabilities including "material-only" machining for both 2D and 3D solid models, high speed machining of pockets, and machining of open-sided pockets.

Vista 4.0 business management software from DataWorks Corp, Minneapolis, MN, is designed for jobshops. Features include support for Microsoft SQL Server client-server database management system, a Multi-Currency module, setup wizards, and complete workflow management. The Microsoft SQL Server is available either as a standalone product or bundled with Microsoft BackOffice Small Business Server.

Open Mind Software Technologies, Southfield, MI, introduced hyperMILL Vet 4.5, the integrated CAM solution for Autodesk Mechanical Desktop. The latest release includes large number of enhancements and improved functions for both 2.5D and 3D machining. Additionally, Open Mind showed Ver 6.5 of its CAM-application hyperMILL for CATIA, and introduced hyperWORK V2.0 in AutoCAD R14.

Mastercam Ver 7 from CNC Software Inc, Tolland, CT, delivers dozens of new features including associativity, leftover removal and enhanced solids-based toolpath verification. The 2 1/2 axis machining package brings full associativity to pocketing, contouring, and drilling while the multisurface machining enhancements give programmers a suite of new efficiency tools.

Quote Management Module, integrated into the COSTIMATOR Computer-Aided Cost Estimating System from Manufacturers Technologies Inc, W Springfield, MA, enables managers to easily track the status of all company estimates.

CGTech, Irvine, CA, demonstrated the latest in NC verification technology full material removal during machine tool simulation with Vericut Vet 4.0 software. Vericut enables users to virtually eliminate the process of manually proving-out NC programs by simulating the material removal process on a computer.

Machine Shop Estimating (MSE) software from Micro Estimating Systems Inc, New Berlin, WI, offers sheet metal fabrication estimating modules which pay extensive attention to material handling. Among the strengths of MSE is the thoroughness paid to providing accurate speeds and feeds for machines.

Intelligent Programming System (ISP) software, specifically designed for ROBOFORM die sinker technology was on display by Charmilles Technologies, Licolnshire, IL. IPS more effectively prioritizes die sink machining cycles and is anticipated to achieve up to 25% reduction in both setup and burn time.

Deneb Robotics Inc, Troy, MI, released Virtual NC Ver 5.1 which offers a superior, interactive, 3D simulation environment specifically for visualizing and analyzing the functionality of a machine tool, its CNC controller, and the material removal process. Vet 5.1 features faster, more accurate and robust material removal simulation, fast part verification, and enhanced controller emulation capabilities.

Remstar Int'l Inc, Westbrook, ME, highlighted the multiplatform version of FastPic Inventory Management software. FASTPIC4 runs on Windows 95, Windows NT, or Unix, is SQL/ODBC enabled, and provides internet-based help and technical support as well as containing material handling features for multiuser carousel operation, bulk storage management, ergonomics, and other productivity enhancements.

JobBOSS enterprise resource planning systems, from JobBOSS Software Inc, Minneapolis, MN, combined with Autodesk's AutoCAD, AutoCAD LT, and Mechanical Desktop software allows JobBOSS to be a job-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) vendor with the ability to read native DWG code. Regardless of the version of AutoCAD, 100% data reception is guaranteed within JobBOSS.

CMS, Common Model Structure from N-See Software, Silver Spring, MD, is solid modeling technology for multiaxis NC program verification that provides increased performance and significantly improved functionality. CMS provides views for each type of machining operation that are optimized for speed and accuracy.

Softech Inc, Troy, MI, introduced generative knowledge-based Prospector 3.0 software with PowerSource Technology to help mold and die shops. By transferring decisions from the CAM room to the shopfloor, where machinists can tailor the entire project to meet realtime considerations and reduce or eliminate human error, Prospector allows electronic development of the entire moldmaking process.

Cimatron Technologies, Burlington, Ontario, Canada, featured [] Ver 9.0 software for computer-aided design and manufacturing. [Cimaton.sup.a] NC software allows users to completely automate the manufacturing process with Intelligent NC which combines automatic NC (ANC), knowledge-based machining (KBM), and knowledge of stock remaining (KSR).
COPYRIGHT 1998 Nelson Publishing
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1998 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:1998 International Manufacturing Technology Show
Publication:Tooling & Production
Geographic Code:00WOR
Date:Dec 1, 1998
Previous Article:Technology opens way to process improvement.
Next Article:The toggle clamp connection.

Related Articles
One more look at IMTS 96.
Where it all began, what it is today.
IMTS 98: previewing manufacturing's next millennium.
Pavilions sharpen IMTS focus.
Attending was the thing to do.
Insights on IMTS 2006.
IMTS changes to six day show in 2008.
Planning your visit.
Two sets of organizers vie to launch machine-tool shows in Vegas.
Group's move toward new software standard is launched with 'inter-operability challenge' for IMTS 2008 exhibitors.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2021 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters |