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The Top 4 Ways to Transmit CNC Data

In the manufacturing industry, every CNC operator understands the importance of getting a CNC program into and out of a controller. In order for a particular operation to be fully finished, it has to be in the CNC and all set to begin the process. Once the work is finished, it is imperative that it is saved to an independent application before deletion, particularly if the work will run again and the necessary changes have been implemented during the verification process of the program.

There are varieties of computer application programs that enable CNC data transmission; this includes devices such as USB flash drive or serial communication methods such as wireless systems or Ethernet. Typically speaking, every manufacturing company using CNC machines incorporates one of those methods to transfer CNC programs.

Generally, most manufacturing companies utilizing CNCs tend to rely a lot on CNC program transfers. However, there are other types of data that can be simply transmitted using similar methods. CNC program transfer has been around for a good while and that is why optional data transmission methods are viewed as ‘newbie’s’ in the manufacturing industry and are not known to everyone. Below are the top 4 we think you should know about.

1.   CNC System Data:

As you may already be aware every CNC program should be customized to the machine tool it is connected to. Even duplicate machines will have different types of system data to handle issues related to functions for example spindle and axis drive systems. Different machine manufactures will have significant system data differentiations.

In this regard, data consists of programmable logic controllers and parameters. In the event of an unforeseen failure of the system, it is important that you preserve the current version, this form of backup will protect you and save the amount of time a service technician would need to repair your machine.  

Most modern CNCs rely on the same transfer method utilized for CNC programs to transmit system data. Although you should not require transferring system data as frequently as CNC programs, backing up data regularly is good practice.

2.   Fixture Offsets:

Each time a manufacturing company creates certified setups on their machining stations they use the same fixture offset on every production. Generally, you probably include a sequence of G-code commands, specifically G10, at the start of your CNC programs to make sure that fixture offset records the appropriate commands for the production.

The G10 command is especially useful when you have a small number of fixture offsets to handle. For each fixture offset you must have only one G10 command that is to be preserved manually. In the event that you modify a fixture offset value, you have to change the CNC program.

Currently, the CNCs produced by FANUC permits operators to transmit all fixture offset settings by touching a couple of buttons. Similar to other CNC program files, the output fixture offset data file will contain a sequence of G10 instructions for every fixture offset, it does not matter how many fixture offsets are being used. When you are ready to reload the particular fixture offsets, you would just load the fixture offset file and run it once.

3.   Tool Offsets:

Comparable to fixture offsets methods, you have the ability to quickly output the system settings for all tool offsets. Similar to the fixture offset data file, the file will have a sequence of G10 commands.

To load a tool offset back into the CNC program is just as simple, however, tool offsets are typically more complex than fixture offsets because they have the tendency to change when new cutting tools are connected. This is a helpful feature for companies that preload cutting tools by utilizing a tool length setting gage.

Another helpful tip for tool offsets is to output it after the setup is finished because it is useful in verifying that all tool length compensation values are within the bounds of an acceptable range. Outside software, for instance, Excel by Microsoft, could be used to verify that all cutting tool offsets are in place and do not drift too far from a fixed value.

4.   Custom Macro Variables Data:

There are CNC additions that use indefinite common variables. Spindle probes, for example, utilize them as calibration values. It could also be utilized for special applications such as custom system constants, like timers, and design etc.

Similar to tool offsets and fixtures, with the current FANUC CNCs you can simply output the customized common variable register. That data will also consist of a sequence of G10 instructions to set each one.

Because it is possible to overwrite a permanent common variable meant for another purpose and because some machine additions use permanent common variables and some don’t, it would be smart to make a backup file for custom macro variables before customizing a macro application that uses permanent common variables.

Because techniques differentiate among CNCs, it is always useful to work with a CNC program that enables you to transmit and output data easily.

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