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Programming using conversational tools either off-line or directly on a CNC machine is becoming more popular.


now aggressively recruiting graduates from these educational institutions that have CNC certified education train- ing programs.


Conversational Programming In the past, the rework of existing


parts was oſten performed on manual machines by highly skilled opera- tors. Simple new parts in low-volume production were also programmed manually by skilled machinists at the CNC. Ease of programming using conversational tools either off-line or directly on a CNC machine is becoming more popular as companies are looking for ways to enhance their productivity and offset the lack of skilled workers. Conversational programming is an ideal way to learn CNC machining as it forces a student to focus on the sequence of operations before they learn G-code. Conversational programming has


evolved over time and is now much more user friendly and yet more power- ful. Although conversational program- ming has been around for 30+ years, advances in computer graphics have made it more attractive to a younger generation of programmers who grew up with video games. For every step in


34 Energy Manufacturing 2014


creating a program, the user receives guidance with graphical prompts and a 3D solid model animation of the ma- chining operation. Without particular knowledge of


G-code programming, using conver- sational programming such as Fanuc’s Manual Guide i makes it possible to interactively generate part programs in just a few steps—allowing the user to go from a drawing to a production part in a very short time. In fact, companies are reporting that they have been able to train operators who have little or no prior experience. A feature that is very important in


the oil & gas industry is thread repair. Aſter a while, threads get beat up and soſt. It takes thread repair and a phos- phate bath to make them hard again. If the threads are ruined, a part used to be thrown away. Today, companies reclaim pipe, rethreading it over and over, and the producers want to do it reliably and cost effectively. Companies that used to do the


thread cutting setup procedure manu- ally are now having their operators, with little or no previous machining experi- ence, use the thread repair capability within Manual Guide i conversational


programming. Tey are guided through the creation of part programs by answering simple questions—all of the relevant information is displayed on one CNC screen. It is quick to set up and it does compensation for the user. One of the toughest things to do is


remachining threads. Manual Guide i simplifies a variety of complicated func- tions including thread repairs. In many cases, the threads are industry standard. So, all the operator has to do is enter the numbers and then Manual Guide i con- versational programming will calculate the cut based on pitch of the thread and how deep it has to be. Oil & gas companies are increasing


their productivity with conversational programming while also upgrading their capabilities by having the pro- gramming needed for the new type of connections also used in the oil fields.


Safety First An increase in OSHA compliance


is forcing both large and small compa- nies to look at adding interlocks and safety switches to existing machines. With safety being a huge concern in the industry, leading CNC manufacturers understand the importance of safety and


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