Monitor Your Productivity
Monitoring machine productivity and utilisation is the first step towards production optimisation. Small improvements to setup and cycle times can equate to significant long term productivity gains, allowing your machine to produce more parts per hour.
A simple way to monitor productivity is to use the Production Data utility. This handy utility can be found under UTIL (F11) on the ANCA sidebar menu. The Production Data utility provides an easy way to monitor setup and cycle times which can then be used to collect information regarding productivity versus batch sizes.
Production Data utility provides a simple way to analyse machine utilisation
Typically, the Production Data utility would be zeroed upon commencing setup for a particular job. The Total Time counter monitors the time since zeroing, whereas the Operating Time counter monitors the time the machine is in-cycle. From this information, a machine utilisation percentage is calculated as well as the number of tools produced per hour relative to total and operating time.
Apart from information gathering and analysis, the utility can be used to set and monitor daily production goals.
Monitor Your Spindle Load
Analysing spindle load during grinding can be used to optimise and improve various aspects of the process. The Tool Grind Page (TGP) provides a visual gauge to view the current spindle load, however, in many cases it is useful to chart the history of the spindle load to see how it changes over time. This can be easily achieved using the Chart Recorder application. This utility can be accessed via the icon on the top right hand corner of the TGP page.
Chart Recorder images of spindle load history
The Chart Recorder application provides a convenient way to visually monitor spindle load over time. The update speed as well as the scale of the graph can be adjusted and the results logged to a file for further analysis.
Flute grinding provides a good example of where spindle load can provide important feedback regarding process setup. The figure above shows a fluting process for a four flute HSS tool with three passes per flute. In this example it can be seen in the image on the left that maximum spindle load is obtained in the second set of passes. This generally may not represent an ideal process. The image on the right shows an optimised process with the desired decreasing load characteristics for this process.
Apart from infeed adjustment, the Chart Recorder can show if spindle load is increasing over a batch of tools for a given tool grinding operation. This may provide important information regarding ideal wheel white-sticking or dressing intervals.
Advanced Tip: The Chart Recorder monitors spindle load by default. However, changing the logged variable from XILF17 to XILF31 in the “configure” dialog will allow logging of spindle temperature for machines fitted with this option.
Wheel Wear Compensation
All grinding wheels wear during use. The effect of wheel wear on the finished tool can be negligible, but as batch and tool size increases, the effect of wheel wear can become significant.
The iGrind Wheel Wear Compensation feature allows wheel dimensions to be automatically updated based on known wheel wear rates
As of Toolroom release RN30, iGrind features an option to automatically adjust the grinding wheel by known wheel wear rates. The feature is accessed via the TOOL menu. By knowing the approximate wheel wear rate for a given process in terms of wear per number of tools, this can be specified for each wheel. This can be particularly useful to negate the effect of wheel wear when grinding large batches of tools.
Scale your Tools to Minimise Programming Time
Cutting tools are typically created as a series consisting of different diameters. Geometry between tool diameters in a given series is generally very similar, with smaller tools being a scaled-down version of larger tools.
As of Toolroom RN31, iGrind features an option to automatically scale tools to different diameters. For example, a 10mm tool file can be scaled down to an 8mm tool file very easily using the Scale Tool feature, found under the iGrind TOOL menu. Simply click on the menu option and enter in the new tool diameter. iGrind will then apply default behaviour to scale the tool as required.
For custom scaling behaviour, an advanced feature exists under the Utilities -> Scripting -> Write Scaled Script from current Tool iGrind menu option. This option allows a script to be created where the scaling for each parameter can be defined in simple scripting language. Either simple linear scaling or more complicated behaviour can be specified. The created script can then later be executed to create any size diameter tool.
Toolroom RN31 introduced iGrind tool scaling features to allow a series of tools to be quickly programmed
Advanced Tip: The tool parameters scaled by the default scaling option under the Tools menu are specified in the p:/toolroom/tcg/tga/autoscale.txt file. This file can be copied to a directory named p:/toolroom/misc/tga and modified to customise the parameters which are scaled.
Download the RN31 Software Brochure
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