All posts by Joe Kaminski

FANUC CNC Codes

FANUC CNC Codes

fanuc cnc

In the world of automation, whether we’re talking about factory or shop automation, understanding how to operate and maintain FANUC CNC parts is imperative. Several businesses and companies suffer from dreaded downtime because a team isn’t well-rounded; many team members may know how to manage machine operators, etc., but are unaware of how to operate a CNC themselves. For a manager, knowing and understanding exactly what to look for to avoid an operating issue starts with understanding the basics of CNC machining and programming.

CNCs originally started coming about in the late 1940s, not long after World War II as NCs (Numerical Controls). They were engineered to be a reliable, cost-effective way to manufacture and design an increased amount of parts for the aircraft industry. Based on already-existing modified tools equipped with motors that manipulated the controls, CNCs were quickly and abruptly built up with computers, both digital and analog. As time has gone on, CNCs have continued to evolve as technology evolves.

Early Numerical Controls initially lacked computers. They also lacked calculating ability, which is absolutely unheard of in today’s world. After the 1960s, numerical controls eventually gained calculating and computer functions. Onboard processing became feasible and, as a result, CNC machines came about. Via the initiation of CNCs, a handful of features were then attainable, fortunately, including canned cycles, tool length compensation, sub programming, radial compensation and tool diameter.

Preparatory Codes

NC and CNC G Codes are referred to as preparatory codes. By preparing the machine to perform a specific function like, for example, rapid travel G0 / G00, the preparatory process is important to understand, as all of the stages of production are.

Miscellaneous Codes

NC / CNC M codes are known as miscellaneous codes.  CNC M codes basically perform on and off functions such as:

  • stopping processing of CNC code M0 / M00
  • turning the spindle on M3 / M0 or M3 / M03
  • stopping the spindle M5 / M05
  • turning coolant on M8 / M08

MRO Electric and Supply has new and refurbished FANUC CNC parts available. We also offer repair pricing. For more information, please call 800-691-8511 or email sales@mroelectric.com.

G Code and M Code

The ANSI standard for G code and M code programming is ANSI/EIA 274D-1988. The ISO standard for G code and M code programming is ISO 6983. There is a new and different standard ISO 14649 also known as the STEP-NC standard that addresses NC and CNC programming using the enhanced features of CAD and/or CAM software.

Machine tool builders are not required to adhere to standards and every so often create variations to standard G codes and M codes. Occasionally design different, unique alternatives to orthodox G codes and M codes. Typically, the majority of CNC G codes are considered modal, which means they stay active until they’re changed. Along with understanding CNC codes, feel free to view another one of our articles focused on choosing a CNC to become as well-versed with CNCs as possible.

Choosing a CNC

fanuc cnc

Choosing a CNC

Buying and building a new CNC (view FANUC CNC parts) can be challenging and often nerve-racking. Regardless of which space you’re in, downtime needs to be avoided as much as humanly (or robotically) possible.  Check out our points to avoid common CNC issues.

One of the most common reasons for CNC downtime would be low build quality. Balls screws,  linear guides, and linear boxes need to be built with high quality to avoid downtime. Often, unfortunately, CNC machines are built using several high-quality parts, and a handful of cheaper, lower-quality parts. Although a machine may consist of mainly high-quality, top-of-the-line parts, issues are still likely to occur due to the low-quality parts. A CNC machine, like most pieces of machinery, is ‘only as strong as its weakest link’.

By taking a look at the tool changer’s location, you can usually determine if its location will be an issue or not. Faulty tool changer designs are common in the CNC world. If it’s hard to get to the tool changer to, for example, change and replace the cam followers, then another design alternative may be best. Don’t be afraid to research other up-to-par designs and designs that have worked well for others in the past.

Avoid poor-quality spindles at all costs, as they’re everywhere and often result in issues. Take a good look at the spindles’ bearings. If they’re plentiful and look larger-than-average, you’re good to go. If they’re lacking in size, research instances where spindles’ bushings have been an issue to create your standard. Along with that, take a look at the horsepower of them; if their horsepower is below average, avoid at all costs. Stalling may occur with low horsepower spindles, which often results in many others with other parts on top of the spindle. Also, be sure to check out our article focused on maintaining automation machine tools. Maintenance is unavoidable and compiling maintenance with unnecessary rebuilds is unpractical and will likely result in downtime and lost profit.

Tolerance of CNCs should be tight. The tighter the tolerance, the longer the life expectancy generally is. Tighter tolerance will also result in an overall smoother operation. MRO Electric and Supply has new and refurbished FANUC CNC parts available. We also offer repair pricing. For more information, please call 800-691-8511 or email sales@mroelectric.com.

Factory Automation and Machine-to-Machine (M2M) Advances

fanuc robotics

 Factory Automation and Machine-to-Machine (M2M) Advances

As technology evolves, automation has become more and more prevalent in the factory automation space. Machine-to-machine enables private and exclusive communication and control over sensors, cameras, industrial equipment, robotics (check out our FANUC Robotics parts) and essentially anything else. Manufactory facilities and several other remote systems are managed much more easily with machine-to-machine advances in communication.

Initially, with industrial and enterprise applications as a focal point, machine-to-machine communication was easily defined and used for a limited amount of tasks. Nowadays, there are many fewer limitations associated with the machine-to-machine communication.

Pressured to lower costs and improve speed and overall efficiency, factory automation companies are often in an uncomfortable spot. While using high-end, sophisticated automation applications and tools, more real-time data must be obtained to streamline more of the day-to-day operations and tasks. Implementing machine-to-machine solutions can help with operational efficiency gains, time and cost savings, and performance optimization.

From a cellular standpoint, machine-to-machine solutions enable integration of environmental controls into a single system, and to unify with security and video surveillance systems. All and all, companies are able to secure several properties from anywhere they wish to, even as they fine-tune power efficiency and decrease operating expenses.

Due to the immense increase of machine-operated plants in companies who rely on keeping critical assets and functions performing optimally, several companies are exploring options associated with a machine-to-machine communication. Of the many benefits, the fact that it’s able to deliver remote access to gather real-time process data to cut operation costs is often one of the most well-recognized. The ability to identify and rectify production line faults, or design and implement preventative maintenance strategies, for example, is what machine-to-machine communication is designed for.

Involving data exchange over the telephone line or via the internal with machines, plants, computers for issue detection, diagnostics, and repair, teleservice is an imperative aspect of machine-to-machine communication. Offering an optimal answer to diagnose distant systems, teleservice is becoming more and more popular and is not going anywhere.

Telecontrol, another aspect of machine-to-machine communication, deals with connections of distant process stations to one or more central control systems. Many networks, both public and private,  can be used for communication used to control. For these diverse applications and businesses, cellular M2M connectivity can address many business and technical challenges and enable important benefits.

MRO Electric and Supply has new and refurbished FANUC parts available. We also offer repair pricing. For more information, please call 800-691-8511 or email sales@mroelectric.com.

Additionally, M2M systems can be designed to withstand harsh environmental conditions and easily manage and control connected devices across the country or around the world. M2M systems provide flexibility to move equipment as needed, or bring up and tear down systems quickly for temporary or seasonal deployments. By using modern M2M management and application platforms, and taking care to choose platforms designed to meet real-world requirements, organizations can take full advantage of the M2M revolution.

In case you were wondering, machine-to-machine systems are indeed designed to withstand environmental conditions and easily control connected devices in any location. They are flexible and can move equipment with ease. In order to use machine-to-machine communication optimally, look into management and application platforms. Click here to view our article on IT and Robotics.

Boosting Factory Automation Productivity

fanuc cnc

Boosting Factory Automation Productivity

In the factory automation space, productivity is much more than an imperative management concept; it is a scalable tool that drives employees and processes to be functioning at their best. In order to keep employees on track and enable goals to be met in the workplace, fine-tuning processes and running a ‘tight ship’ as far as time management is concerned is considered best practice.

As far as work is concerned, understanding where to start is the first, and often, most difficult step. Understand what may set your company back, whether it be a worn down motor (such as a FANUC CNC Motor) not performing up-to-par, or a poorly-maintained Servo Amp (such as a FANUC CNC Servo Amp).  Missing expectations due to a faulty machine is avoidable, as seen in this article focusing on Maintaining Automation Machine Tools.

To ensure your teams’ insights aren’t hindered, consider documenting priority-oriented processes such as customer service, client retention, and cutting operation costs, that way, more focus can be put toward improving workflow, coaching employees and pinpointing other areas that could be improved on. Take industry benchmarks into consideration; they can be used as a point of reference to determine if an area can be improved in, or if it’s already up-to-par. Along with documenting the aforementioned processes, keeping track of progress and growth can also aid in fine-tuning.

In order to remain on the same page with employees, ask for their buy-in and try to understand where they’re coming from. They may help shed light on problematic areas such as why certain departments aren’t working as closely together as they could be, or if downtime could be minimized by having two departments working together more effectively. By making employees feel valued and trusted, a company is less likely to run into honesty issues, communication issues and/or issues with collaboration. The foundation for productive operations starts with an honest, well-communicating team. Teams need to have an in-depth understanding of where they’re expected to add value and, of course, what the company is working toward as a whole. Eliminating clutter in order to have a well-focused and productive team is an achievement that most of those in the factory machine automation space don’t lose sight of. MRO Electric and Supply has new and refurbished FANUC CNC parts available. We also offer repair pricing. For more information, please call 800-691-8511 or email sales@mroelectric.com.

These days, there are shortcuts and tools for essentially any and every niche. Many of those in the machine and factory automation space are focusing on robotics (see FANUC Robotics parts) to explore ways to automate processes in hope of enhancing productivity. Be sure to stay ‘in the loop’ when it comes to tools that could enhance one’s productivity through collaboration, etc.

Gathering Information Before Considering a Repair

fanuc repair

Gathering Information Before Considering a Repair

Downtime is inevitable when it comes to machine automation. When production stops, orders will likely stack up quickly, hitting start on the ‘profits lost’ clock. After the failed part is identified, many machine automation professionals would lean towards shipping the flawed part to get serviced as soon as humanly possible. While MRO Electric and Supply appreciates the business, we want to ensure our customers are as well-informed as possible and able to fix issues of their own, is able to.

By grouping observations together and looking at them closely,  many of those in the machine automation space may find that the issue can be fixed internally, rather than sending a part out to another party. Be sure to press the in-house employees for details, as someone on the clock may have witnessed the failure first-hand and would be able to provide more intimate and valuable insight as far as what may have happened. Any way to avoid a future issue is worth exploring!

As many know, factory automation machines consist of several interconnected parts and components. Because of this, it’s important not to overlook related issues that have occurred or may occur. If a drive (such as a FANUC Robotics Drive)  were to fail, best practice would be to send it along with the motor it’s connected with to preventative maintenance to be checked together. By consulting with the machines’ operators, you may find that other parts could be sent to preventative maintenance along with motor (such as a FANUC CNC motor)  and drive. Keep in mind, certified experts will likely be able to point machine details out that others may not recognize or think of. Nobody wants to run into an issue, fix said issue, and run into it again, due to lack of attention to detail.

Whether you have only two wires to unhook or twelve hundred, document everything. When you uninstall the damaged unit, label your wires. Be sure what you are using is sturdy and will remain affixed. Do not use tape that will slip off with grease or dust. Also, take before, during and after pictures of the operation. These pictures can save you from a tremendous headache later on. Also, when possible, make sure to save any parameters and record any settings before the unit has been taken out of service.

By documenting all of the parts or wires that had to be disassembled as specifically as possible, you would likely be avoiding many headaches. Nobody wants to disassemble a section of a machine, later to discover a wire or bolt is misplaced, which would lead to dreaded downtime that everyone in the factory automation and manufacturing space despises. Don’t be afraid to take a video or several photos of the disassembling process; in-depth videos or even photos are often invaluable to refer back to, especially when in a rush or a busy time of the year.

In order to make your time count with the service center, be sure to prepare your explanation on a written or typed document. If there’s a possibility of more than one employee communicating with the service center, ensure they’re up-to-speed with all details that may be of help to fixing the issue or issues at hand. MRO Electric and Supply has new and refurbished parts available now, and also offers repair pricing. Be sure to check out our core exchange program to learn how to save. For more information, please call 800-691-8511 or email sales@mroelectric.com.

Be sure to avoid shipping damage by packing the part or parts securely and appropriately. Nobody wants a quick and painless fix to turn into an extended fix due to laziness or lack of initiative to research correct packaging processes. Most units need 3-5 inches of packaging insulation on all sides, to ensure rough handling won’t damage the part or parts. Check out our other articles focused on robotics here.

Workforce Automation and Robots

FANUC Robotics

Workforce Automation and Robots

Automation has been in mind for not just decades, but centuries. Whether we’re talking about those who worked in flour mills or those who dealt with windmills, automated processes have always been on inventors’ minds. While automation would technically result in job losses, the increased prevalence of robots and robotics parts (FANUC Robotic Parts found at MRO Electric)  in the manufacturing, packaging, and engineering space would result in interesting implications for consumers, employees, companies, organizations, etc.

Does Workforce Automation Result in Job Losses?

Many are convinced that automation will come and take over a majority of the work done by humans in the next few decades, and some feel as though their jobs are safe. Let us take China for example. China is one of the most dominant manufacturing hubs in the world, supplying a huge chunk of the world’s electronics products. Over the past few years, Chinas’ factories cut human workforce by an astounding average of 50%, due to the increased prevalence of robots.

Are there Advantages of Workforce Automation?

Although there is definitely a negative side of workforce automation, do positive sides exist? Customers could experience, to an extent, cheaper and more effective services and products. This would be due to the cost savings of the autonomous robotics, which yield a one-time fee along with other basic upkeep costs. Lower production costs would also make it possible to build items in the U.S. vs overseas, which many would prefer.

 Automation Limits?

There are limits to mostly everything, and automation is no exception. Short product life cycles that quickly become obsolete and ability to entertain fully-custom projects do not fit into an automation system. For example, paying for a large number of robots to build an electronic product that will become obsolete in less than a year would not be a smart decision from a business standpoint. The ability to be flexible and custom is imperative when concerning several products in several different markets.

What does Second Machine Age Mean?

Robotics in machine automation is becoming a larger part of the workforce as time goes on. Some companies plan to simply increase production levels with the help of robots and robotics parts while keeping their employee count the same and reassigning their workers to other positions within the company. With the addition of robots and robotic parts in the workplace, workers will be needed to maintain robots, calibrate and monitor them, analyze data and more.

The rise of robots and robotic parts is unavoidable in several niches. Today’s technological prosperity is changing tomorrow’s workforce for good. MRO Electric and Supply has new and refurbished FANUC Robotics parts available. We also offer repair pricing. For more information, please call 800-691-8511 or email sales@mroelectric.com.

Lastly, be sure to check out our articles on boosting factory automation productivity here.

LCD Retrofitting Benefits

LCD Retrofit

LCD Retrofitting Benefits

Part 1: CRT to LCD Retrofits

Many professionals in the automation space that have a CNC Machine (such as FANUC CNC parts found here) in their shop deal with pesky issues from time-to-time. One common issue for those who use CNC machines would be CRT monitors that begin showing their age. Several of our customers have been in this situation, feel as though they’re left with two choices: repair their CRT monitors, or replace them.

To be clear, those are not the only two options. The main reasons:

1.) it’s often time-consuming to pinpoint a CRT Replacement part.

2.) It is not cost-effective to have the CRT monitor repaired.

 Our alternative to the two options: an LCD retrofit (found in FANUC Displays and Controls) .

The advantages of retrofitting or upgrading a CRT monitor with an LCD retrofit are:

    • Improved screen visibility
    • Increased life of CNC Machine
  • Decrease amount of electricity used during operation

Part 2: Floppy Disk to USB Drive Retrofits

Another outdated piece we have encountered in the machine automation space? a floppy disk.  

Floppy disks are still in use today for some, often causing issues. By implementing an updated, customized USB flash drive, several issues can likely be avoided. What is now a slow and obsolete tool, the floppy disk is still in use with some of our clients and causing problems.  Our recommendation is a new custom-built USB flash drive solution.

Upgrading to a USB drive is usually a straightforward process. No changes or system configurations are necessary during this process, and yes, it will work on CNC machines and other devices that still use the floppy drive.

Nobody likes the costs of downtime including those in the machine automation space.

MRO Electric and Supply has new and refurbished FANUC CNC products available, including LCD Retrofit products. We also offer repair pricing. For more information, please call 800-691-8511 or email sales@mroelectric.com.

Siemens’ Update Broadens Toolset for Digitization in Machine Shop Environments

Siemens CNC

Siemens’ Update Broadens Toolset for Digitization in Machine Shop Environments

The most recent update from Siemens’ NX software coalesces the next generation of tools concerning additive manufacturing, CNC (computer numeric control) machining, robotics, and, last but not least, quality inspection to enable the digitalization of part manufacturing within a single, cohesive end-to-end system.

Up-to-date automation competence for computer-aided manufacturing (CAM), including robotic programming, adaptive milling, and tooling design, provide innovative, industry-specific technology to help deliver high-quality products to the market in less time. The new NX Machining Line Planner tool, combined with integrated NX CAM software for feature-based machining, provides new capabilities for industries with high-volume production of complicated parts, such as automotive and industrial machinery. The latest version of NX continues to support end-to-end solutions for additive manufacturing, helping manufacturers realize the goal of using 3D printing for industrial production.

Part manufacturers proceed to face increased pressures from modified market expectations, with customers who require optimized accuracy and faster response times. In order to remain competitive, many part manufacturers look to digitalization, which connects all of the steps of part manufacturing planning and production with a single source of information, or a digital thread. Implementing a digital strategy can enable part manufacturers of all sizes to take greater advantage of automation, adopt 3D printing for production, and ultimately expand into new market opportunities and reduce time to delivery.

State-of-the-art automation enhancements within the latest version of NX provide powerful ways to expand production efficiency and decrease cost. Robotic programming technology provides the ability to automate complete manufacturing cells, including programming robots to perform machining. Adaptive milling and tube milling are new capabilities that provide innovative ways to automate CNC machines and accelerate cutting of complex parts. Adaptive milling is a high-speed cutting method that leverages automation within NX to decrease machining cycles by up to 60 percent while extending tool life. Tube milling streamlines the 5-axis programming process by eliminating preparation and minimizing inputs, utilizing advanced capabilities to create ideal tool paths and minimize errors in machining on the shop floor.

Mold and die manufacturers can now accordingly dictate tool production costs through integration between NX and the Teamcenter portfolio. Engineers can now use NX to automatically recognize features and parameters on the desired part, and provide pertinent information to Teamcenter, which can precisely calculate the tool cost. The newly integrated capabilities of Siemens’ product lifecycle management (PLM) software solutions can enable tool manufacturers to win more orders and increase profit margins through automated costing and accurate quotations.

New to this version, NX Machining Line Planner, combined with integrated NX CAM, enables the feature recognition, distribution, balancing, programming and simulation of operations over multiple setups and machines. Particularly helpful for industries with high-volume production of complicated parts with many features, NX Machining Line Planner uses a digital twin of the complete machining line and NX CAM feature-based machining technology to optimize the entire process. NX Machining Line Planner, combined with the power of the digital twin, offers a truly unique solution that enables automotive and machinery manufacturers to reduce planning time and increase overall production results.

The newest version also inflates the new additive manufacturing solution in NX by including the new module, NX AM for HP Multi Jet Fusion, which is certified by HP and powered by Materialise, to prepare print jobs for HP Jet Fusion 4200 3D printers. The NX software module will allow customers to develop and manage parts in a single software environment for Multi Jet Fusion printing solutions, avoid costly and time-consuming data conversions and third-party tools, and improve their overall design-to-finished-part workflow efficiency.

Additionally, Siemens develops applications for additive manufacturing process simulation in Simcenter 3D, a crucial tool to help manufacturers industrialize additive manufacturing by printing components the first-time-right. These simulation applications are an integral part of the Siemens’  additive manufacturing solution. Increasing productivity is one goal for most of those in the automation space (check out boosting factory automation productivity here). MRO Electric and Supply has new and refurbished Siemens products available. We also offer repair pricing. For more information, please call 800-691-8511 or email sales@mroelectric.com.

Maintaining Automation Machine Tools

Maintaining Automation Machine Tools Maintaining Automation Machine Tools

Properly maintaining automation machine tools and machine parts (such as Control Techniques Unidrives found here) is the only way to avoid issues from a performance and durability perspective. Whether it’s an attachment, cleaning or routine check-up, keeping machinery tools up-to-date is imperative. Monsterous losses could very well occur from a business and production standpoint if maintenance is not prioritized, which nobody wants to run into.

Machine Tools’ Lubrication:
 Lubrication is one of the most important things to keep in mind when it comes to any automation machines. Generally, regularly inspecting lubrication levels is a great place to start. If you notice decreased lubrication levels throughout a period of time, be sure to schedule a weekly check-in and carefully monitor. Regularly protecting machines’ motors, including oiling and greasing of their moving parts, cannot be avoided.
Sharpen Key Parts

When concerning machine tools that feature components engineered for cutting, slicing, or chopping, ensuring their parts maintain their sharpness is a must. Consult with a specialist to determine if the machines’ parts are in proper condition, and also be sure that their parts are sharpened properly also.

Verify alignment specifications

Another strategy to maintain factory automation tools and parts (such as the Modicon Quantum CPU 140CPU43412A) is to ensure you’re aware of the appropriate verification of alignment specifications. Product or component misalignment may be detrimental to a machine’s performance. By performing a handful of test jobs to check the tools’ alignment, you’ll be able to adjust accordingly.

Examine the cleanliness

Ensure all machine tools are cleaned daily or weekly, depending on the user guides’ instructions. Machines often collect a large amount of dirt and filth when operated, which may result in long-term issues if not tended to appropriately.

Understand Correct Power Mode 

By routinely inspecting the working mode of machines and setting them to the appropriate power mode, issues can be avoided such as overworking a machine or running a machine too slowly, which could cause debris. Refer to the machine’s operating manual to understand appropriate power modes associated with specific machines.

MRO Electric and Supply has new and refurbished Modicon Quantum CPUs and Control Techniques Unidrives products available. We also offer repair pricing. For more information, please call 800-691-8511 or email sales@mroelectric.com.

IT and Robotics

IT and Robotics

IT and Robotics

Information Technology involves storing, retrieving, altering and transmitting massive amounts of data.

Because IT is heavily reliant on computers, automating the field is definitely the most practical direction.

Slowly taking rein in the sector, RPA (Robotic Process Automation) is terminating the manual effort associated with IT tasks and business processes.

RPA grips technologies such as AI (artificial intelligence), machine learning and vision, big data analytics and, eventually, quantum mechanics, to complete several tasks.

There are two types of automated deployments:

  1. Simplified robots (such as FANUC Robotics products found here) that execute a script to recurrently execute a specific function.
  2. Cognitive RPA/software-based AI that learns the tasks they are presented with and learn how to make choices on their own.

Currently, large global IT and BPO (business process outsourcing) organizations are using lesser forms of RPA.

Using RPA enables organizations to provide IT services at higher efficiencies and minimize costs.

Utilizing RPA enables organizations to provide IT services at increased efficiencies while cutting costs.

Many say that a handful of companies are currently in the early stages of conducting RPA proof-of-concept trials, while some are entertaining production pilots.

Affected Areas

Many IT service lines are expected to come under RPA’s influence.

  1. Helpdesk is a field that falls under this category. RPAs could potentially automate non-ticketing activities that, as per IT reports, occupy 25% to 40% of a helpdesk’s tasks. Some of these tasks include monitoring, providing clarifications and reporting. As for ticketing, RPA could assist in automation common service requests such as password resets.
  1. IT infrastructure outsourcing is another area that is expected to be impacted by RPA. In this, robots (such as FANUC motors, amplifiers, and drives) could observe critical thresholds and, under certain threshold breach conditions, could even fix the issue.

Companies have already started to leverage RPA for many of their client projects.

Processes that mandate RPA include rule-based, high volume, several systems, repetitive tasks, data mining, or data entry tasks. MRO Electric and Supply has new and refurbished FANUC Robotics products available. We also offer repair pricing. For more information, please call 800-691-8511 or email sales@mroelectric.com.

Automation Advantages

  1. RPA slashes labor costs immensely.
  2. The technology offers a less prying way for integrating systems because software AI access applications through the user interface.
  3. Robots would connect to various UIs, including legacy green-screen applications, and would not touch the underlying software.
  4. RPA projects require less time and money when compared to traditional automation.
  5. AI robots will provide better quality, faster processing times (within hours compared to weeks with manual approach), major improvement in traceability for audit purposes, and increased high-speed analytics.
  6. RPA would easily scale and address fluctuations in volume.

Feasibility

Automation projects, as per industry experts, should not take more than a year to complete. They would likely cost between half a million USDs to two million or more, depending on the number of robots and their complexities. Check out our article on factory automation and machine-to-machine learning here.