Methods for CNC data transfer

10/11/2021
With CNC machining, we no longer need real person to manually handle the machine. We just need a way to instruct the machines to do everything themselves.
Methods for CNC data transfer
As the next tech-step in manufacturing process, CNC machines has replaced real persons in overseeing and performing production process. However, we still need to give the machines instruction on how to operate. So, how do we do that? The answer is: by data transfer.
Today we are looking at the 4 most essential data transfer methods that any CNC users must know about.
 
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1. CNC System data:

Every CNC machine has data about its system functionalities and this data is widely differ from one machine to another. 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 category, data includes parameters and programmable logic controller. ​Most modern CNCs rely on the same transfer method utilized for CNC programs to transmit system data. As mentioned above, as the data is unique to each machine, it is extremely crucial for CNC user to constantly back up and protect the current version. Doing so ensures that it is easier to get the CNC machine up and running in the unfortunate incident of a machine failure.  

2. Fixture offset:

A fixture offset is a datum coordinate that you specify and then apply to a copy of a toolpath. This enables you to shift the toolpath—without needing to recalculate it—so it can be machined in a new position. A fixture offset also enables you to make last-minute adjustments to the position of a toolpath, as you can use the machine tool controller to change the values of the fixture offset on the tape file. Every time a job is run on the CNC machine, it is important to use the same fixture offset values, especially if the same part is being manufactured repeatedly. 
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. 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. You can transfer the fixture offset settings into a CNC program file and run the file every time you initialize the machine. 
 
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3. Tool Offsets:

Similar to the fixture offset, tool offsets are also G10 commands. The tool offsets help the machine identify the center of the tool so that the machine runs along the intended programmed line. These data are based on each specific tool so once the tool is changed; its offsets must be adjusted to match the new parameters.
To load a tool offset back into the CNC program is just as simple so it will be beneficial for companies that preset cutting tools using 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:

Some CNC accessories use permanent common variables. Spindle probes, for instance, use them as calibration values. You may be using them for special applications of your own design, like timers, system constants and part family variables.

Like fixture and tool offsets, you can easily output the custom macro permanent common variable registers with current FANUC CNCs. They can also be used as system constants or timers. Creating a backup file of the custom macro variables present in the machine ensures that you do not accidentally end up using any previously defined variables. The data file that defines the custom macro variables contains a series of G10 commands.  

Conclusion:

The various system data associated with the CNC machine are an integral part of the CNC process. Without proper input for the system data and offsets, the machine fails to reproduce the design that was in the program. The choice of the technique might depend on the features of the machine. It is also important to know when to load certain data types and when to recheck the data. Most important, every CNC user mút be well-versed in how to transfer the mentioned data using any of the techniques mentioned above.

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