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Columbia Marking Tools says that in addition to controlling all of its marking machines, the I-Mark software and control system can control those from other manufacturers with a simple adapter cable. The system, which is said to be easy to operate for Windows users, features two operating modes: basic and advanced. In basic mode, operators can create a layout for a mark with any combination of graphics, text, date codes, proprietary fonts or 2D IUID codes, including Military Specification 130. Advanced mode includes the ability to control other machine I/Os, such as automation, machine motions, part handling, gaging and vision cameras.
Simple drag-and-drop functionality eases program creation and entity sizing, the company says. The system also includes various non-printable marking utilities to set way points, I/Os and programmable dwell times. After configuring the marking program, the operator can preview the sequence of operations for verification.
Designed with the user in mind, the software features a machine activity screen that provides a real-time log of the activities of the marking machine or network of machines. The company says the stored log data is useful for troubleshooting. It adds that an operator with proper networking can remotely control, monitor and make necessary changes to programming on any number of marking machines. The system’s hardware uses Ethernet connections for communications, programming and networking information. Each plug-and-play controller is capable of controlling a marking machine servo or stepper motor with a 10-amp peak motor output per axis. There are four axes per controller, and drives are contained in a NEMA 4 industrial enclosure with (16) 24vdc digital I/O points split over 2 × 25 pin DIN connectors.