Harlow Dr., Willoughby, OH 44094 (440) 951-8974 Fax: (440) 951-1412
PC-DNC Plus Tooling Control
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PC-DNC Plus is now available with an optional tooling control
system that uses barcodes to identify qualified (pre-measured)
tools. When a qualified tool is loaded into a CNC machine, PC-DNC
Plus will automatically generate the correct tool offset commands
and load them into the CNC control. The system can also be used
to control your tool inventory, and to actively monitor the usage
of each tool during production. This powerful new feature works
through the PC-DNC Plus communications system, and can be added
to existing systems currently in operation.
The qualified tooling features of the system can be used with
any CNC control that is capable of executing a program command to
set tool offset values (such as the Fanuc "G10"
command). Additional features for active tool life monitoring
require that the CNC control have "macro" programming
features (similar to the Fanuc Macro B option.) The only hardware
items required are barcode wands or readers, and some inexpensive
(pre-printed) barcode tags and machine placards.
Functionally, PC-DNC Plus Tooling Control System is similar to the system
made by Balluff Corporation that uses RFID chips embedded in the tool
holders. Unlike the Balluff system however, the PC-DNC Plus system:
1) Does not require an RFID chip, so it does not require any
modification (or rebalancing) of the tool holders
2) Does not require
a special RFID reader mounted on the machine to read the data on the chip
Works on both machining centers AND lathes
4) Reports tool usage to the
DNC system, showing total tool usage time as the tool is used
send emails to selected recipients when a tool's predicted use limit is near
6) Shows on the DNC system what machine and what tool position has the
specified tool holder
7) Works with multiple machines in your shop.
Lathes or Machining Centers.
8) A single wireless barcode reader can be
used on multiple machines
In the tool room:
- New cutting tools or inserts are installed in ordinary
tool holders, and each tools standard length and
cutting diameter are entered into a simple tooling
database. If the expected cutting life of the tool has
been determined, it can also be entered into the
database. The name of the tool room technician and the
date & time the tool was qualified is automatically
recorded by the system. To avoid manual data entry, it is
also possible to use measuring devices with RS232 serial
output to automatically enter the length and diameter
values as the tools are measured.
- Once a tool is qualified, a disposable barcode tag is
attached to the tool holder, and the unique barcode on
the tag is scanned into the database. This barcoded
serial number is then used to identify the qualified tool
to the PC-DNC Plus system.
- Used tool holders that are returned to the tool room
without tags can have new inserts or cutting tools
mounted, or (if the old tools useful life has not
been reached) a new barcode tag can be attached and new
length/diameter data entered into the database. Tool room
personnel can quickly determine how long a tool has been
in use from the database.
At the CNC machine:
- An embossed placard is attached to each machine, which
contains a unique barcode for each of the machines
tool positions along with a special "DONE"
- To replace a tool, the operator takes any qualified
(tagged) tool holder and scans it with a barcode reader.
He then scans the tool position number on the
machines placard. This informs the PC-DNC system
that this tool is being placed into a specific tool
changer position on this particular machine. The barcode
tag is then discarded.
- As each tag and tool position is scanned, PC-DNC Plus
automatically creates a "G10" command, which it
adds to a temporary tool offset file. The tool length and
diameter data from the tooling database are used to
construct the correct G10 command format for each
machine. If a macro variable is also being used to
monitor tool life, that macro variable is automatically
reset to zero with a macro command. If a tool that has
been previously used is being installed in the machine,
PC-DNC Plus will "preset" the variable to the
correct value to reflect the previous use of the tool.
- When all the necessary tools have been loaded into the
machine, the operator scans the "DONE" barcode
on the placard, and PC-DNC Plus automatically queues up
the temporary tool offset file containing all the G10
commands. The tool-offset file is then ready for the
machine to read through the DNC system.
- The machine operator can then download the tool offset
file in Edit mode (or run it in TAPE mode) and all the
correct offset data from the database is automatically
loaded into the CNCs tool offset registers.
- As each tool is loaded into a machine, PC-DNC Plus
automatically updates the "tool use" field in
the tooling database, and registers the tools new
location. Tools that are removed from the machine are
also tagged as being "used", and the location
of the tool in the database is changed to "in
During automatic operation on the machine:
- Each time the CNC executes a "spindle start"
command (M03 or M04), a small macro program is called
that resets the CNCs internal timer variable to zero.
- When a "spindle stop" command (M05) is
executed, a second macro reads the timer data, and adds
this time to a pre-assigned macro variable.
- At the end of each part program (M30 or M02) a third
macro runs, which transmits the values of each of the
pre-assigned tool use variables. PC-DNC Plus receives
this information, and updates the "tool use"
fields in the tooling database. Anyone viewing the
database can see the actual time that each tool has been
in use. These "use times" are automatically
updated at the end of each part cycle. Tool use can be
recorded independently by the CNC control, even if the
PC-DNC Plus system is not running.
- When a tool approaches its expected cutting time limit,
PC-DNC Plus can automatically transmit e-mail
messages to notify the correct personnel.
From any PC-DNC Plus server or client station:
- The PC-DNC Plus operator can use the "Tool
List" menu to view the status of every tool in the
shops inventory. Listed with each tools
description is the location of that tool, its use status,
and its expected life. In addition, the time and date
that the tool was qualified, and the person who qualified
the tool is listed.
- By programming the optional PC-DNC Plus E-mail
function, the system can be set to automatically send or e-mails when any specific tool reaches its
expected use limit, or if ANY tool reaches its expected
use limit. Preset pages or e-mails can be sent to any
single recipient, or simultaneously to a list of multiple
PC-DNC Plus users who are authorized to edit the tooling
database may do so using any PC-DNC Plus server or client
workstation. Since the tooling database file is a simple comma
delimited text file, anyone with access to the file can read and
analyze the tooling database with Microsoft Excel or any similar