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A Quick Way to Enter Offsets

A shop that specializes in machining powder metal parts created a novel way for operators to make offsets on vertical turning centers.

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I’m currently finishing an article for our May issue about a shop that’s particularly effective at micromilling powder metal tooling components. Of course, I’m reminded of this shop I visited some years ago that performs a good deal of turning on powder metal parts. One aspect of that shop’s process—how offsets are quickly and easily made—still seems particularly nifty.

The shop’s two Eurotech inverted vertical chuckers have basic electronic pushbuttons wired to their Siemens Sinumerik 840D controls to enable one-touch offset changes without an operator having to look at the control screen. There are two buttons for each tool—one for advancing tool offset and another for decreasing the offset. Each + or – button assigned to a tool is given a specific offset value for each button push. These increments are very small (typically 0.0002 inch) to reduce the chance of an operator overcompensating for tool wear.

Pushbutton offsetting saves time by eliminating the need to navigate through the machine’s control screen to enter offset values. It also eliminates the possibility of the operator keying in an incorrect offset value. A maximum offset value is stored in the control to prevent a crash that could occur if too large an offset value (too many button pushes) is entered.