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.
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Another outdated piece we have encountered in the machine automation space?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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com.
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:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Choosing the most appropriate PLC
As many machine automation professionals know, deciding on which PLC to work with can be one of the most difficult decisions you have to make when organizing your control system. There is no one size fits all equation, so are here are some guidelines I use.
Brand – Many of the major players such as have small, medium, and large-scale PLCs. Always consider when brands the end user already is using. Things will always go smoother if the maintenance personnel is already accustomed to the brand of PLC you choose. Also, try to pick a brand that will have stellar local support for the end user if you are not in the area.
Sizing – Sizing a PLC is imperative to the success of your project. If you go too small, you may max out your I/O (such as this Modicon Quantum I/O)on changes and additions. On the other hand, if you go too large, you may blow go over your budget. Leaving room for expansion is ideal, but, in the long run, going over your budget is not practical.
- Count up your:
- Discrete input points
- Discrete output points
- Analog input points
- Analog output points
- Communications. regularly have a port available on the PLC to communicate with it from your laptop without disconnecting other devices. With modern PLCs with several communications methods, there is no reason for this to happen.
- Will you need remote I/O? This can reduce installation time and troubleshooting in the long term.
- Will your system utilize an HMI? How will you communicate with it?
- Having a way to remotely monitor your PLC is becoming standard practice.
MRO Electric and Supply has new and refurbished Omron and Siemens products available. We also offer repair pricing. For more information, please call 800-691-8511 or email email@example.com.
How to maintain a PLC (Programmable Logic Controller)
As many of us know, PLCs (programmable logic controllers) are staples in the factory automation world. In order to have them running optimally and as efficiently as possible, routine maintenance is imperative. Generally, manufacturers produce PLCs to endure strenuous, unsterilized environments. By adhering to an adequate maintenance schedule, PLCs operating timeframe can be lengthened.
Protect your PLC
Always be on the lookout for corrosive and conductive contaminants that have the potential to become a detriment to a PLCs’ components. By completing visual inspections for black dust and blowing airborne particles from the PLC’s vicinity, you are lowering the likelihood of contamination.
Is power flowing?
A PLC will not operate correctly without adequate power. To avoid any operation bugs, remain vigilant of any surges or shorts.
Calibrate Analog Components
Always refer to the preventative maintenance schedule for any analog input device. Analog inputs need to be cleaned regularly and calibrated as accurately as possible.
Take EMI into consideration
EMI (electromagnetic interference) is known to cause horrible issues for PLCs without clearly indicating what the specific issue is or how to go about fixing it. To remain ahead of the game, many perform an audit of the local wiring to pinpoint potential EMI sources before they interfere with the operation of your PLC. Lower-level components and high-current wires often interfere with each other, which wiring designs must take into consideration.
Additional PLC Maintenance Tips
By creating a PLC maintenance checklist and adhering to it strictly, operating errors can likely be avoided. The space between the PLC and the machine it’s controlling should be minimal.
MRO Electric and Supply has new and refurbished Modicon PLC parts available here. We also offer repair pricing. For more information, please call 800-691-8511 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
FANUC Panel Keyboard Keys Overview
FANUC Alarm keys: These keys are located on the machine panel that displays alarm intelligence for the machine panel. MRO Electric has several FANUC part numbers starting with A06B, A20B, and A16B in-stock. These keys differ from the alarm keys correlated with the control panel.
FANUC Auto key: This is the key on the CNC machine (including the A16B, A17B & A20B product line) that reshapes the operation mode to automatic. Automatic mode authorizes an operator to contact and execute a part program stored in memory. Automatic mode is called memory mode on some FANUC CNC controls at times.
A safety function that determines if the tool has moved beyond its set boundaries. Forbidden zones can be programmed to specify areas where the tool can and cannot enter.
Page keys: The up and down arrow keys located on the MDI keypad (A20B ) that allow an operator to move through various screens and fields one page at a time.
Parentheses: ( ). Curved brackets used to separate program text information from CNC program commands.
Part program: A series of instructions used by a CNC machine to perform the necessary sequence of operations to machine a specific workpiece.
POS: A function key located on the MDI keypad that displays the position screen that shows axis locations.
Power off: The red button on a CNC control panel that shuts off power to the control.
Power on: The green button on a CNC control panel that provides power to the control.
PRGRM: A function key located on the MDI keypad that displays the program screen and blocks of the current part program.
Program edit keys: Keys located on the MDI keypad that allow an operator to alter, insert, or delete data from stored memory.
Program protect switch: A switch located on the machine control panel that allows the operator to secure current program information. The program protect switch prevents accidental or intentional deletion of programs in memory.
Program source keys: The group of keys on the operator panel that control how part programs are used. The AUTO, EDIT, and MDI keys that comprise the program source keys are distinct machine modes.
Rapid traverse: The movement of machine components at the fastest possible rate of travel. Rapid traverse motion merely requires an endpoint for the movement.
Reference position: A fixed position on a machine tool to which the tool can easily be moved by the reference position return function.
Reset key: A key located on the MDI keypad that stops all machine motion and places the program cursor at the top of the current program.
Shift key: A key located on the MDI keypad that allows an operator to access letters and special characters found on the address keys.
SINGL BLOCK key: A key that activates the single block feature on the GE FANUC 0-C control. The single block function runs the program one block at a time to prove out the program.
Soft keys: Keys located directly below the display screen that have different purposes depending on which function key has been chosen. The function of each soft key is visible on the display screen between brackets.
SP: A key that allows an operator to enter a space when manually entering data.
Spindle jog key: A key located on the machine panel that rotates the spindle incrementally in either a clockwise or counterclockwise direction.
Spindle keys: The area of the CNC machine control that allows the operator to manually control the rotation of the spindle in a clockwise or counter-clockwise direction. The spindle keys include CW (clockwise) and CCW (counter-clockwise), STOP, and JOG.
TEACH key: A key that changes the operation mode of a CNC machine to allow tool positions obtained by manual operation to be stored in memory.
Tool limit switch: The component that prevents a tool from exceeding the set direction limit on an axis. The tool limit switch detects overtravel.
Zero return key: Also known as the home key, zero return automatically moves the spindle to the machine zero position.
Auto mode: Auto mode is the mode that enables an operator to contact and execute a part program stored in the machine.
AUX/Graph: AUX/Graph is a function key located on the MDI keypad (A20B) that demonstrates the graphics screen.
Axis/direction keys: Axis/direction keys are located in the area of the machine control that enables an operator to select a specific axis.
BLOCK DELET key: BLOCK DELET key is a machine control that delivers the option of leaving out a predetermined series of program blocks. A block delete authorizes the operator to run two versions of the identical program.
Brackets: [ ]. Punctuation marks used to distinguish CNC program commands from macro statements.
CAN key: The CAN key is located on the MDI keypad that backspaces the cursor to remove the last character entered. It also drops any program block that is highlighted during a block edit.
Control Panel: The Control Panel is a group of controls on a CNC machine (A02B, A16B, A17B & A20B) that runs, store, and edits the commands of a part program and other coordinate details.
Coolant keys: Coolant Keys are the area of the CNC machine control that enables an operator to switch the coolant on and off, manually or automatically, during a program cycle.
Cursor keys: Cursor keys are the up and down arrow keys located on the MDI keypad that authorize an operator to move through numerous screens and fields in the control, edit and search for CNC programs, and move the cursor through the program or screen options.
Cycle start: Cycle start is the control button used to initiate a program or continue a program that has been previously stopped.
Cycle stop: The control button used to bring a program to a temporary halt. Also known as feed hold, cycle stop pauses tool feed but does not pause spindle movement.
DGNOS/PARAM: A function key located on the MDI keypad that demonstrates the diagnostics and parameters screens.
Display screen: The main screen of the machine that displays urgent information for the operator.
DRY RUN key: A key that activates the dry run feature on a CNC machine (example: . The dry run function checks a program quickly without cutting parts.
EDIT key: The key on the CNC machine that modifies the operation mode to edit. Edit mode allows an operator to make changes to a part program and store those changes.
EDIT mode: The mode that enables an operator to modify a part program and store those changes.
Emergency stop: Used for emergencies only, the control button that automatically shuts down all machine functions.
End-of-block key: EOB. A signal that marks the end of a part program block. An end-of-block signal is symbolized by a semicolon (;) in a part program.
Execution keys: The area of the CNC machine control that enables an operator to begin or end a part program. The execution keys include CYCLE START and CYCLE STOP.
Feed hold: The control button used to pause a program. Also known as cycle stop, feed hold pauses tool feed but does not stop spindle movement.
Function keys: Keys located on the MDI keypad that allows the operator to choose between contrasting tasks.
HOME key: A key that automatically moves the spindle to the machine zero position. The HOME key is called the zero return key on some machines at times.
Input buffer: A temporary location on a computer that holds all incoming information before it continues to the CPU for processing.
Input key: A key located on the MDI keypad that enables an operator to enter data into the input buffer. This key is also used to input data from an input/output unit.
Jog feed: In JOG mode, the continuous movement of a tool in a direction along a selected axis.
JOG key: The area of the machine control that allows an operator to move a selected axis. Jog keys are often called axis direction keys.
Machine function keys: The area of the control panel that allows an operator to perform different functions depending on what display or mode is selected. The machine function keys include SINGL BLOCK, BLOCK DELET, and DRY RUN.
Machine panel: The group of controls on a CNC machine that allow an operator to control machine components manually. Sometimes called the operator panel.
Machine zero: The position located at the farthest possible distance in a positive direction along the machine axes. Machine zero is permanently set for each particular CNC machine.
Manual data input keypad: The MDI keypad is located on the control panel and houses the address, numeric, and navigation keys.
Manual pulse generator: A circular handwheel on a CNC machine that can move a tool incrementally along an axis. On some machines, the MPG is known as the “handle.”
Manual pulse generator keys: Keys located on the machine panel that allow the operator to move the tool incrementally along an axis.
MDI key: The key on the CNC machine that changes the operation mode to manual data input mode. Manual data input mode lets an operator enter and execute program data without disturbing stored data.
MDI mode: An operation mode that lets an operator enter and execute program data without disturbing stored data.
MPG keys: The keys on the operator panel that control the size of incremental movement of the manual pulse generator.
No. key: A key that allows an operator to enter a numerical value into the input buffer. The SHIFT key must be used with the No. key.
Numeric keys: Keys located on the MDI keypad that allow an operator to enter numbers, a minus sign, and a decimal point into the control. These keys also contain the CAN key, manual JOG arrow keys, the EOB key, the BLOCK DELET, and the right and left cursor move keys.
Offset register: Area of the machine control that holds tool geometry, wear, and work offset settings.
OFSET: A function key located on the MDI keypad that displays tool offsets and settings.
OFSET MESUR key: A key on the CNC machine control panel that allows the operator to determine and set a tool offset. It measures the current coordinate value and the coordinate value of a command, and uses the difference as the offset value. If the offset value is already known, pressing the OFSET MESUR key moves the tool to the specified offset position.
Operation keys: The keys located on the operator panel that allow an operator to move tools and set offsets.
Operation mode keys: The AUTO, EDIT, and MDI keys that change the operation mode of the CNC machine.
Operator panel: The group of controls on a CNC machine that allow an operator to control machine components manually. Sometimes called the machine panel.
OPR/ALARM: A function key located on the MDI keypad that displays the alarm screen.
Output/start key: A key located on the MDI keypad that allows an operator to start an automatic operation and output data into an input/output unit.
Override: A machine control component that adjusts programmed values such as speed and feed rate by a certain percentage during operation.
Over-travel check: A safety function that determines if the tool has moved beyond its set boundaries. Forbidden zones can be programmed to specify areas where the tool can and cannot enter.
MRO Electric and Supply has new and refurbished FANUC CNC parts available now such as motors, servo amps, spindle amps, displays and controls, power supplies, I/O modules, and PCBs.
We also offer repair pricing. For more information, please call 800-691-8511 or email email@example.com.
AC or DC Drives Comparison: Which is best for you?
An AC drive stands for Alternating Current, but could also be referred to as an adjustable speed drive, adjustable frequency drive, variable frequency drive, variable speed drive, frequency converter, inverters and a power converter. Typically, they are used to control the speed of an electric motor in order to enhance the operation of numerous applications relying on electric motors, minimize mechanical stress on motor control applications, generate energy as efficiently as possible, cut down on energy usage and, lastly, optimize process control.
Also known as adjustable speed drives, inverters and power converters, adjustable frequency drives, and variable speed drives, AC drives are similar to DC drives because an AC input is regulated to DC by simple bridge rectifiers, commonly referred to as SCRs. Because AC drives use a capacitor bank to stabilize and smooth this DC voltage, the DC output would be half cycle according to AC input phase frequency. Then, power is supplied to the motor in the output section of the drive by means of 6 output transistor or IGBT modules. Essentially, the AC input current is converted by the drive to DC and, again, converted back to AC in order to supply the motor. The current is converted twice by the drive because the AC input is either 50 or 60-hertz cycles. When the DC voltage is converted to AC again by the drive, it uses a carrier frequency of at least 2 KHZ to 100 KHZ in more complex drives. Therefore, the output current is able to be raised tens or hundreds of times without burning up the motor coil.
The AC motor is also able to rapidly switch speeds with zero problems because of this function. AC drives typically have numerous types of feedbacks from simple, 2-line incremental encoders, to resolvers or absolute encoders with a significant resolution that facilitates the drive to calculate motor shaft speed and angle as spot-on as possible. There is a third circuit called regeneration on a handful of larger, more powerful drives. This circuit converts the inertia of the load and motor to AC power and transfers it back to the input lines when the motor transitions from a significantly high speed to a low one, which, in the long run, would conserve on power and increase energy efficiency.
AC drives serve many different industrial and commercial applications.
Essentially, a DC drive converts an AC drive into direct current, otherwise known as DC to operate a DC motor. The majority of DC drives use a handful of thyristors (also known as SCR’s) to craft a half cycle of DC output from a single phase AC input, also known as the half-bridge method. The more complex ones use up to 6 SCR’s to power a DC output from a 3 phase AC input, which is known as the full-bridge. Therefore, in the full-bridge method, we have 2 SCR’s for every input phase. The aspects of a DC drive are as follows: compact in size, outstanding speed regulation, broad speed range, cost-effective for medium and high HP applications, and speed changes that are derived from by increasing or decreasing the amount of DC voltage the drive feeds the motor.
Controlled by the gate input, an SCR switch is similar to a one direction switch and turns on by applying a low voltage to the gates. The drive can control the motor speed by applying the voltage to the gate at a contrasting angle of the input phase. To authenticate the motor speed and compensate if necessary, the majority of DC drives require the motor to have a tachometer as means of feedback. A tachometer is essentially a mini permanent magnet DC motor accompanied by the main motor’s shaft.
Because higher motor speed generates more voltage in the tachometer, the drive references this voltage to ensure the motor is operating at a correct speed per-user settings. More compact DC motors have a permanent magnet field while larger DC motors have a separate coil inside the motor, also known as a field, which eliminates the need for a permanent magnet in the motor. DC drives with field output typically have a more compact circuit to supply the field coil. DC drives are best used in when a DC motor exists in a safe and dry atmosphere and the use of DPG, DPG-FV, TENV, or TEFC motor enclosures is required, motor speeds are able to reach 2500 RPM, application requirements are medium or large, and starting torque is either unpredictable or greater than 150%.
DC drives are commonly considered problematic, despite their prestige for having simple circuits, providing high start-up torque, and being ideal for applications with constant speed due to the requirement of commutators and brush assemblies in their motors. These motors can become worn over time, have operational issues, and will likely require labor to preserve.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, AC drives are considered more energy-friendly and are able to endure rapid speed changes more efficiently due to their running induction motors. Often times, they have hundreds of numerous programmable parameters for secure protection. Although, because of these factors, the AC drive is more complex, modernized software is simplifying their overall use.
In previous years, DC drives were regularly utilized due to their simplicity, the majority of machine manufacturers prefer to use AC drives as of late. The complexity of an AC drive has been repeatedly simplified and fine-tuned, resulting in a plethora of advantages.
Though in the past DC drives were often utilized due to their simplicity, most machine manufacturers now prefer to use AC drives (especially for servo applications). The intricacy of an AC drive has been simplified over time and has many upper hands.
MRO Electric and Supply has new and refurbished Control Techniques parts available now, and also offers repair pricing. For more information, please call 800-691-8511 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Siemens Sinamics 6AV6642-0BA01-1AX1: Beyond the User Manual
The Siemens Sinamics 6AV6642-0BA01-1AX1 is a SIMATIC TP177B 6″ PN/DP Color HMI. The TP177 series of HMIs is the successor to the popular 170 HMI devices. The 6AV6642-0BA01-1AX1 makes for efficient use of text or graphic based projects for simple to medium level HMI operating and monitoring tasks for both machines and plants. The HMI features a 5.7″ STN display with a wide-screen format and 256 colors. This display extends the visible area on the HMI device by approximately 25% compared to similar displays with 4:3 format. In combination with the intuitive and user-friendly touch operation, it offers maximum operating efficiency. In addition to MMC cards, the TP 177B 6″ supports SD cards and USB memory sticks.
The 6AV6642-0BA01-1AX1 has a back-light lifespan of 50,000 hours, and should be replaced to avoid downtime around this usage mark. The unit uses a 24V DC supply voltage with a rated current of 0.24 Amps. It has an ARM processor that is rated at 200MHz. The 6AV6642-0BA01-1AX1 uses a synchronizable hardware clock that has no battery backup. The module has one industrial Ethernet (RJ45) port with one industrial Ethernet status LED.
The 6AV6642-0BA01-1AX1 has 2048 KB of available memory for user data. It uses the WinCC configuration tool, which would be referred to as Version 2005. It has a plastic housing and uses clamp terminals as its mounting technology. The front dimensions (W x H) are 212 mm by 156 mm. This HMI has marine approval from a number of organizations, including GL, ABS, BV, DNV, LRS, and PRS. The module has a total of 5 run-time languages.