Shop Solutions: CNC Provides Shop with Needed Flexibility
Baum Machine (Appleton, WI) is one of the most complete custom machine shops in northeast Wisconsin. Baum’s capabilities include prototype and quantity production runs on a wide variety of machined and simple or complex fabricated components. To meet their customers’ requirements, Baum requires flexibility, not just from their people, but also from their equipment.
The word flexibility has taken on special meaning when it came to selecting the automation products that Baum decided to use. “We have to have the flexibility of the products to grow with us,” said Karl Hornick, lead machine rebuild electrician. “Baum Machine, which started out as a small one-machine operation in 1989, has expanded into a multi-tiered business in a 55,000 ft2 [5110 m2] state-of-the-art facility. In other words, we are growing in only one direction and that is up,” said Hornick.
What Baum Machine understands is that business growth can only happen when both people and equipment maintain the flexibility to compete in today’s manufacturing environment with an eye toward what will be required in tomorrow’s environment.
As Fagor Automation (Elk Grove Village, IL) has learned over the years, Baum is very serious about ensuring that their products can meet strict flexibility requirements and has selected its CNC control products with an eye toward meeting the requirements of legacy equipment as well as the latest state-of-the-art machines.
“We have machines that still require analog servo commands. On new installations, however, we will require digital commands and some machines will need a mix of both analog and digital servo commands due to motor concerns,” said Hornick. “On top of these requirements the CNC must also be capable of multiple feedback protocol interfaces.”
The Fagor 8055 CNC product series, which Baum uses, is able to satisfy these requirements by allowing for both digital or analog servo commands, which can also be combined on the same control when necessary. In addition, both Sercos and CAN digital protocols are available ensuring additional flexibility. Multiple feedback protocols including both absolute or incremental are available for the 8055 control and, in most cases, with pre-manufactured plug-and-play cable assemblies.
Over the years, Baum specified that the PLC must have the ability to be modified instantly from the keyboard. Products must be seamlessly married to each other, thus ensuring not just a fast and efficient integration, but also assuring that today’s advanced technology is quickly and easily accessible and ready to run.
The Fagor 8055 CNC contains a built-in PLC that also allows for CAN I/O modules as well as Local I/O, all programmable directly from the keyboard. This capability allows for remote modules to be located in ideal locations within the shop for best functionality. In addition, the 8055 CNC also includes a built-in Logic Analyzer that allows for advanced, yet simple PLC diagnostic assistance. The Logic Analyzer allows for up to eight PLC signals/registers/timers to be monitored simultaneously on a single on-board plotter. The ability to program a trigger and freeze of the signals helps make tough to diagnose problems easy to solve.
Another aspect often overlooked is that Fagor Automation products were designed to work together in harmony with one another. Thus the Digital Drive System and Encoder Systems complement each other to ensure the customer receives the full benefit of today’s technology.
Fagor CNCs can quickly and easily be updated with new features utilizing nothing more than the USB port on the keyboard and requiring only a few minutes. The knowledge that the 8055 is engineered around the concept of simple programming utilizing both a conversational and ISO G-code programming system in which no prior operator experience is required to operate successfully has proven to be the final key to all successful manufacturing operations. Every Fagor 8055 CNC contains a flexible parameter set allowing for precise machine customization, but also an on-board graphic editor that allows for true operator and application customization. ME
For more information from Fagor Automation Corp., go to www.fagor-automation.com, or phone 847-981-1500.
This article was first published in the April 2014 edition of Manufacturing Engineering magazine. Click here for PDF.
Published Date : 4/1/2014