Monday, December 8, 2008

programmable functions of cnc

The programmer must also know what functions of the CNC machine are programmable (as well as the commands related to programmable functions). With low cost CNC equipment, often times many machine functions must be manually activated. With some CNC milling machines, for example, about the only programmable function is axis motion. Just about everything else may have to be activated by the operator. With this type of machine, the spindle speed and direction, coolant and tool changes may have to be activated manually by the operator.

With full blown CNC equipment, on the other hand, almost everything is programmable and the operator may only be required to load and remove workpieces. Once the cycle is activated, the operator may be freed to do other company functions.

Reference the machine tool builder's manual to find out what functions of your machine are programmable. To give you some examples of how many programmable functions are handled, here is a list a few of the most common programmable functions along with their related programming words.
Spindle control

An "S" word is used to specify the spindle speed (in RPM for machining centers). An M03 is used to turn the spindle on in a clockwise (forward) manner. M04 turns the spindle on in a counter clockwise manner. M05 turns the spindle off. Note that turning centers also have a feature called constant surface speed which allows spindle speed to also be specified in surface feet per minute (or meters per minute)
Automatic tool changer (machining center)

A "T" word is used to tell the machine which tool station is to be placed in the spindle. On most machines, an M06 tells the machine to actually make the tool change. Tool change (on turning centers) A four digit "T" word is used to command tool changes on most turning centers. The first two digits of the T word specify the turret station number and the second two digits specify the offset number to be used with the tool. T0101, for example specifies tool station number one with offset number one.
Coolant control

M08 is used to turn on flood coolant. If available M07 is used to turn on mist coolant. M09 turns off the coolant.
Automatic pallet changer

An M60 command is commonly used to make pallet changes.
Other programmable features to look into

An M60 command is commonly used to make pallet changes.

As stated, programmable functions will vary dramatically from one machine to the next. The actual programming commands needed will also vary from builder to builder. Be sure to check the M codes list (miscellaneous functions) given in the machine tool builder's manual to find out more about what other functions may be programmable on your particular machine. M codes are commonly used by the machine tool builder to give the user programmable ON/OFF switches for machine functions. In any case, you must know what you have available for activating within your CNC programs.

For turning centers, for example, you may find that the tailstock and tailstock quill is programmable. The chuck jaw open and close may be programmable. If the machine has more than one spindle range, commonly the spindle range selection is programmable. And if the machine has a bar feeder, it will be programmable. You may even find that your machine's chip conveyor can be turned on and off through programmed commands. All of this, of course, is important information to the CNC programmer. 

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