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Shop Solutions Continued from page 55


heads for more flexibility than a straight head, but it’s also not as fragile as the contour head. And they wanted to inter- change all of these heads to automatically go pick up a head out of the shuttle and, on the fly, reconfigure the axes and the zero positions. To do this, the compensation tables all had to be updated. Everything needed to be done with the macro program so that each head came on ready to run.”


put in the parameters as to size, length, width. Then once you’re in Job Mode, there’s a screen where you can tool change or jog the machine around to certain positions, or turn the spindle on, turn the coolant on, anything that traditionally required G-code. So now you can push a cycle stop button to pause the machine, enter a change such as turning coolant on, then restart the program,” said Burthay.


According to retrofitter Doug Huber of Indiana Automation, the Siemens 840D sl control raised MTM’s machine performance to better than the original machine. The Siemens CNC platform has become a retrofitting CNC regular for his company.


The interchangeable head strategy was a challenge, ac- cording to Huber, because the machines were not originally capable of sharing heads. But with support from Siemens, the strategy has worked, including the ability to interchange rotary tables as well as heads. “Each head or rotary table has a con- figuration file that has all the settings and compensations and travels with it from machine to machine. So now when you mount that head the control just runs the configuration file that goes with it and it’s all set up for you. We also incorporat- ed Siemens Tool Management for each machine’s 60-pocket tool chain. We used the feature on these machines to manage all the different tooling MTM uses, both in the automatic tool- changer as well as the ones manually loaded.” “I had never used a Siemens control before,” said MTM machinist Mike Burthay. “I have extensive knowledge of G- code and CNC controls and I would say the Siemens 840D sl with the Operate interface is the easiest one I’ve ever run. It’s user friendly, that’s exactly the words for it. There’s not as much G-code. The control does it all for you as long as you


98 ManufacturingEngineeringMedia.com | November 2014


“Another function I love is Block Search, which allows me to start or restart right in the middle of a program. Say you’re finish- ing a pocket and you have to run the tool two or three times to get a tight tolerance, I can enter in a line number and hit Block Search, the control picks up every line before that, restarts the spindle and every- thing for you,” said Burthay. The Siemens control also enables him to program parts right on the machine whenever necessary, using a simple yet robust program called ShopMill. “I can go into ShopMill, type in some parameters and it will kick out that G-code program for me


automatically. Say I want to drill a hole two inches deep. I open ShopMill, pick my tool, tell it the depth and these steps are all interactive on the screen. It even shows me 3D mo- tion images of the tool path, confirms the drill going down as expected into the part. So I hit go and it puts a drill cycle into the program for me.” Lead programmer Tim Hayden said: “We do a lot of work on compound angles, and with the Siemens Frames func- tion, you can scale and rotate your coordinate system on the control, just plug it in with your work offsets. Whereas, on the other control you will see a G54 request, you’ve got to enter G- code. You can’t just plug it into your work offsets like you can with the Siemens control.”


Hayden said the Sinumerik Operate interface brings greater programming flexibility. The HMI enables him to enter G-code using a comparatively more advanced manual data entry (MDI) function; however the HMI has all but eliminated the need for G-code entry by way of its intuitive design and evolved capabilities.


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