The new tool management facility provides a comprehensive and constantly accessible database that can either be installed on a server platform for use with multiple CNC machine tools in a large production plant, or can be used standalone on a single CNC machine tool.
The tool management software includes PLC libraries, as well as dedicated CNC functions and HMI pages. It can handle a very large number of tools of different types – including turning, milling and boring – and standard, medium or large sizes. Duplo tools with identical cutting characteristics are also supported, as are different types of tool magazines, such as disc, chain or rack. New tool characteristics are managed at maximum speed and maximum feed rate, and the tool life can be monitored over time, by wear amount or by the number of operations. Pre-emptive warning messages are generated automatically, whenever specified limits are approached.
The software provides an especially comprehensive set of extensions for tool characteristics. In addition to standard items such as the name, type and number of cuts – as many as 18 of which can be specified – extensions are also provided to handle numerous other factors, including magazine size, life management, technological characteristics such as maximum speed and speed rate, and status/warning indicators.
Developed primarily as a high-end system for complex tasks in milling applications, the software offers highly sophisticated NC Kernel (NCK) features such as a large block look-ahead capability in excess of 1000, together with very short NCK cycle times. These features also make the system ideal for HSM applications in the mould and die market.
NUM’s new tool management system is very easy to use and requires no special software tools. Users simply employ NUM’s Flexium Tools software to extend the scope of their project to the database server. A full set of API functions is included to implement all necessary tool operations, together with a number of dedicated functions in NCK firmware. The system also includes different logical HMI list pages for spindle and magazine view, tool view and tool data table, enabling users to visualise the complete content of tool information and current status.
According to Werner Heimpel, NUM’s product manager for HMI and Software Tools: “Manufacturers operating multiple CNC machine tools are often forced to devote significant resources to tool management. NUM’s new system can help them to save considerable engineering costs in the long term.”