Integration between CNC machines and smart devices has been slow in coming for many machinists. The industry can be conservative, and many people are mentally still in a world that has barely put down the slide rules of old. However, your smart devices can do a lot that will have your CNC machining operation working better than ever.
Scheduling maintenance on a CNC machine used to be part marking it on a calendar and part simply checking it over carefully to find any wear on a reasonably regular basis. In the modern world, your smart devices can make the process easier by both automatically pinging you when maintenance should be performed, and even checking subtle changes to the speeds of the motors or flow of power through the device as a diagnostic your eyes cannot see.
Smart devices can often identify the angles of objects as simply as pointing them at the angle to be measured and essentially taking its picture. By doing this, the smart device can aid you in selecting the angle by which you are going to make a given cut on the materials. The smart device may even be able to aide you by helping determine the cut depth and whether you are using the best possible cutter.
Cut Course Planning
Cut courses can be determined through a variety of calculations CNC machinists are required to know. However, human error does still play a role. Thus, the less direct calculating you do, the better for your CNC machining. Allowing your smart device to suggest the courses of your cuts can reduce your mistakes, as the smart device requires few inputs from fallible human sources.
Have you ever been curious if a given material would be ideal or simply “okay” for a given cutter? With a smart device, you can research the relative merits instantly, and even set up automated warnings to yourself if there is the potential for cutter damage due to an incompatibility between the blade and the material.
Smart devices integrate well with CNC machines. With open-mindedness, the experience is an even better one.
The training of CNC workers is vital to running a shop properly. When your workers are not properly trained, they are not assets but liabilities. With effective training, your operators can get a lot done for you.
The Basic Basics
Often, this involves taking people who have never worked in a shop before. The first part of training comes down to safety in the shop, interpreting tolerances, and using measuring devices. Once those are mastered, you can continue with the reading of blueprints and shop math. After the trainees have gotten the feel for the most basic topics that all CNC workers need to know, you can begin moving on to more specific training related to the machines themselves.
Which Machine They Will Run
What are the various components of the machine that each given CNC operator will be using? The learners need to know about the axes and how these are to be programmed into the machine. They also need to know about the spindle, how to change the tools, how to change the pallet, and every other part the young operator is eventually going to interact with. There should not be a single button or switch with which the learner is unfamiliar by the end of this portion of the training. While it might seem like overkill for the learner to be able to field strip the CNC machine like a soldier can do with their rifle, this level of understanding of how every component in the machine interacts with every other component would be the ideal state.
Compensating Within the Machine
Every part of a CNC machine, as well as every part of a CNC worker’s training, needs to involve compensators, which are also used for the cutter radius. Turning centers intimately involve tool nose radius compensation, offsets for wear, and geometry offsets. The learner must know how to assign program zero, attach the cutting portions of the tools, and determine how much offset is necessary for each given tool length to ensure both an accurate cut and one that will not damage the equipment.
There is a lot to learn in CNC work. Covering every relevant aspect is crucial to an effectively run operation.