CNC Machine Monitoring: Introduction, Tools, and Applications

Computer Numeric Control (CNC) machines are advanced and automated machines that are used in metal and plastic machining industries for accurate, repeatable and affordable production. The performance of these systems depends on a numeric program set on the CNC operating panel. Once the machining process starts, the operator has minimal control over the function. Therefore, it is difficult to know the progress of the process until the products are ready and out of the CNC system. Generally, CNC machines are used for batch production, repeated operation, and operator-independent production. In such cases, one error can repeat over the whole batch production if not detected and resolved. This can cause major production loss followed by a drop in profits and damage to brand reputation. Therefore, it is important to monitor the CNC production. There are several CNC machine monitoring interfaces available, however, it is important to know them thoroughly before the use. In this post, the CNC machine monitoring system and the process is introduced followed by its industrial significance and applications.

Introduction to CNC Machine Monitoring

CNC machine monitoring is a process of keeping track of the CNC machine’s performance, production efficiency, and resource analysis. Since CNC machines are used for several machining operations such as turning, milling, drilling, etc. These machines enable complex product manufacturing, therefore they are considered as precision machining systems. However, in order to achieve quality intricate CNC production, it is important to ensure the appropriate performance of several functions. Therefore, in this CNC machine monitoring process, two factors are monitored in order to get the desired production outcome. Let’s discuss two main factors of CNC machine monitoring along with their monitoring tools respectively.

  • CNC Machine Production Monitoring: CNC production monitoring records various factors at different stages of manufacturing. The primary purpose of CNC production monitoring is to identify errors in the process and resolve them to get optimum efficiency. In this process, the monitoring interface generally records power inputs, spindle speeds, tool position, tool movement paths, final product dimensions, and so on. Vibration analysis, dimensional testing, power lag in the machining, material to tool compatibility testing, etc are few other checks performed by the monitoring system.
  • CNC Machine Tool Monitoring: CNC machine tool monitoring is a process of tool analysis. CNC uses various types of tools for operations like drilling, turning, milling, finishing, etc. Due to high-speed operation and material frictional resistance, the tools are prone to wear. Therefore, it is important to know about the tool situation, even during the running operation. These CNC machine tool monitoring systems record the tool motion, tooltip condition, etc.

There are several software tools for CNC production and tool monitoring. Let us introduce those tools to you.

CNC Machine Tool and Production Monitoring Tools

The popular tools used for CNC machine monitoring are detailed as follows.

  • Techna-Check:

    Techna-Check by Techna-Tool, Inc., is a CNC tool and production monitoring system, which is primarily used for detecting broken tools. Techna Check detects the tool condition by using various scanners. Tool detection generally involves broken or worn tool detection, missing tools, spindle alignment, tool travel, etc. The vibrational analysis is also performed to ensure safe operating conditions for the tool. However, there is a range of variations in this tool so that it can be used for several purposes. Techna Check PM-1 is a version of Techna-Check used for production monitoring. Techna Check PM-1 keeps a record of inputs, process speeds, operation times, any process interruptions, malfunctioning components, etc, in order to achieve higher efficiency. Techna-Check is the tool and production monitoring tool that helps in enhancing production efficiency and profit.

  • BK Mikro:

    BK Mikro offered by Techna-Tool is an object detection tool, which is used for tool detection. It is commonly used in CNC machines for checking tool alignments, broken tools, tool travel, etc. It is basically a function of a set of scanners and controllers that detect the tool conditions. It features several types of controllers with versatile programming support. This helps in utilizing the tool for a varying range of applications. It features a DC motor as a power source and a scanner probe to detect the tool condition. The expected tool track, tool specifications are coded to the controller and then the scanner ensures the specifications match throughout the operation.

Applications of Techna-Check and BK Mikro

These two tools and production monitoring tools are used in the following applications.

  • Horizontal and vertical CNC for tool location identification, these tools are used
  • Object inspection during production monitoring
  • Tool geometry inspection during CNC operation

These CNC machine monitoring tools have been successfully employed across industries like metal cutting, machine building, plastic and chemical engineering, packaging machines, and so on. Techna-Tool has been providing these CNC machines and tool monitoring systems since 1990. As they have been offering both contact and non-contact monitoring systems, so you can choose them according to your application requirements.

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