Each CNC machine in MicroFMS has its own PC controller. This allows various industrial controllers to be installed onthe PC, such as Siemens 810/820, 810D/840D, Heidenhain TNC 355 or the WinCAM CAD/CAM system. An optional control panel allows the user interface of the desired controller to be simulated.
For automation, the CNC machines are equipped with an automatic door, pneumatic chucks or an electromechanical vice, and an I/O communication interface.
Two levels are defined for the automatic process:
Level 1: Automated buffer operation via I/O communication between robot and CNC machine
Central control of automated buffer operation is undertaken by the robot controller. Buffer operation start and stop is via the MPS® control panel at the robot.
Level 1 allows automated processing of a unmachined parts buffer. If different workpieces are to be manufactured, the appropriate program is selected at the CNC machine. Communication between the robot and the CNC machine – such as start and stop of CNC machining, task complete message, opening and closing of the door – is undertaken by setting and reading the I/Os of the CNC machine's robotics interface by the robot controller. Robot, CNC and cell PC and an optional CAD/CAM laboratory are interconnected via Ethernet. The DNC commands are passed from the cell PC to the CNC machine via the available DNC interface (RS232 or TCP/IP).
Level 2: Flexible buffer operation with SCADA system and DNC
Level 2 corresponds to the full functionality of the Flexible Manufacturing System (FMS). Each unmachined part in the buffer is assigned a specific process plan. This allows various workpieces to be machined on the system. The cell PC loads the appropriate CNC programs for the workpiece into the machines via DNC. The system can optionally be networked with a CAD/CAM laboratory.