Programming A Swiss-type Lathe Is Now User's Choice
Advancements in CNC technology hardware and software have been astounding over the last 10 years. It was in 1996 that Tornos Technologies U.S. Corp. (Brookfield, Connecticut) introduced Deco technology and coined the acronym "PNC” for Parallel Numerical Control.
With PNC, programming is carried out 100 percent in hidden time on a PC so parts can be planned at any time, anywhere. Since the calculations are carried out by the PC during programming, a powerful control on the machine isn’t necessary. The machines run smoothly for years without NC obsolescence. Programming can always be done on the latest-generation PC using all the power it can muster.
Once the calculations are complete, the program is rapidly installed on the machine electronically through a memory card or Ethernet cable.
On a CNC, cam sets are no longer used. What makes the technology of the Tornos PNC TB-Deco software significantly different is that the cam is replaced by a stored calculation, which eliminates the physical 360-degree limit and the feed distribution limit. As such, finishing work and production optimization are considerably easier.
The company has continued to evolve its TB-Deco software since its introduction. Its latest option, TB-Deco-ADV, offers a range of functions including Windows-based features such as undo/redo, the capability to copy and paste groups of tools or operations with their synchronization and shortcuts for part file storage in any folder. Additional program synchronizations are also available, along with unlimited axis combinations (X3-Z1 threadcutting), energy optimization and cycle time display. The required configuration for the TB-Deco-ADV is a PC that is compatible with a CD reader and Windows 2000 or Windows XP.
Enter PartMaker SwissCam
As an alternative to programming with the dedicated software, users can now program Deco Swiss-type lathes directly from PartMaker’s SwissCAM program, developed by PartMaker Inc., a Division of Delcam PLC. (Fort Washington, Pennsylvania). This programming option allows Tornos customers to output a program that can be directly imported into TB-Deco.
The integrated solution has been available since July, 2005, and many customers are jumping on board.
"Particularly if our customers are already using PartMaker throughout their shops, this is a seamless solution for them,” says Tom Dierks, president of Tornos Technologies.
The integration of the two programs is beneficial because it permits users to integrate TB-Deco with external CAD data, perform 3D machining simulation and program all their Swiss machines in the same manner as their other CNC machines, whether they are Swiss-type or conventional CNC mills and lathes.
Additionally, Deco users will be able to take advantage of TB-Deco’s process optimization features because they will be starting from a part that has already been programmed and synchronized across the multiple axes of the Tornos machine. Once imported, the user can further optimize his part’s cycle time using the many cycle-time-reducing capabilities.
How It Works
SwissCAM and TB-Deco have been linked via a Tornos standard file called a TTFT (Tornos Text Format) file, which is exported by SwissCAM and imported by TB-Deco. The file, created automatically by SwissCAM during post-processing, contains all the information needed to program a part, including tooling, cutter paths, speeds and feeds and process synchronization information.
Once the TTFT has been created in PartMaker, with one click of a button, the user can automatically launch TB-Deco-ADV and import the generated TTFT file directly into TB-Deco for the Deco machine of his choice.
Technology Ensures Productivity
SwissCAM employs a "Divide and Conquer” programming strategy that simplifies the programming of parts with a number of turned and milled features by breaking down a complex part into a number of simpler operations. Each machine surface is programmed in a separate window. As each operation is programmed, it is verified graphically on the screen.
Knowledge-based machining ensures that the machinist’s knowledge about such issues as tooling and feeds and speeds is saved within the system. This data can be used over and over again, thus automating the programming task. A process table displays a complete summary of all the work that has been done. Each operation has speeds and feeds automatically applied for the material used, and the time for each operation is calculated and displayed. The total time is shown for both main and subspindle machining.
PartMaker’s visual synchronization approach makes programming process synchronization an easy task. Process synchronization can be done by pointing and clicking, choosing from a variety of graphical synchronization strategies. Once the operations have been synchronized, a time chart shows the operations in bar chart format, showing the main and subspindle times side by side and how much machining time the user is getting for free by overlapping synchronous operations. Integrated, fully dynamic 3D machining simulation allows the user to see the entire machining process on screen and check for tool collisions before machining.
Whether programming through TB-Deco exclusively or with the integrated PartMaker solution, it’s nice to have a choice.
By Mark Saalmuller, Tornos Technologies U.S. Corporation and
Hanan Fishman, PartMaker Software/IMCS Inc.