Gage Software Connects to CNC, Automates Tool Offset Updates

The Renishaw Equator flexible gage is now offered with intelligent process control (IPC) software, providing the functionality to fully automate tool offset updates in CNC manufacturing processes.

The Renishaw Equator flexible gage is now offered with intelligent process control (IPC) software, providing the functionality to fully automate tool offset updates in CNC manufacturing processes. IPC works with the existing software running on the Equator controller, using recent historical gaging data to determine process corrections. Options within the IPC software can constantly monitor the process and detect excessive tool offset update values, indicating tool failure or high rates of wear, and automatically signal to the machine that the tool needs to be changed. Connection to a compatible machine tool can be as simple as connecting an Ethernet cable from the Equator to a CNC machine, the company says.

The software is said to enable constant monitoring and adjustment of a machining operation, keeping part dimensions close to nominal and well within process control limits. This means that any process drift is quickly corrected, improving part quality and manufacturing capability, along with reducing scrap. The proximity of the Equator gage to the CNC process allows rapid measurement and process adjustment at the point of manufacture, avoiding time delays or relying on finished part (tailgate) inspection.

The ability to correct a process automatically with IPC software eliminates the potential for manual data entry errors and removes the requirement for an expert to decipher traditional measurement reports into a process correction value at the CNC machine.

An Equator gaging system can be connected to one or multiple CNC machine tools, so that parts from different machines can be gaged on one Equator, with the offset updates being sent to the corresponding machine (part/machine identification is required).

According to Renishaw, the IPC software has proven to be particularly useful for conventional CNC lathes or Swiss-type sliding head machines where integration of a conventional machine tool probing system may be difficult due to machine configuration or tool station availability. The first release of the new IPC software enables connection to one or multiple machine tools, with direct Ethernet links from the Equator controller to FANUC, Mazak and Okuma CNCs. 

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