CNC Operators’ Rules and Precautions before Running CNC Machines28 April 2020
Computer Numerical Control (CNC) is the process by which a computer converts the design produced by Computer Aided Design software (CAD), into numbers. The numbers can be considered to be the coordinates of a graph and they control the movement of the cutter. In this way the computer controls the cutting and shaping of the material.
CNC operators are responsible for any CNC machine crash when they are in operation. Crashes happen frequently on the shop floor and are often catastrophic and costly. Accidents are usually due to the lack of skilled CNC Operators or well-trained CNC Operators within the manufacturing industry. Crashes are often due to the lack understanding of CNC operators in terms of CNC motion in use, spindle travel reference, CNC coordinates. zero position, and CNC axes travel limits. Below are several CNC operators’ rules and precautions before running CNC machines.
Check and Recheck Manufacturing Process
As a CNC operator, you are responsible for the result after completing the process in the manufacturing of a particular part from the part print to the CNC program and finally the CNC motion. These steps must be accurately checked and rechecked to avoid any error slipping through. All CNC machines are designed for several applications such as turning, milling, grinding and drilling. But all CNC machines have two or more directions of movement or axis, this means the more axis the machine has the more complex the CNC machine, hence a 3-axis milling machine is considered to be less complex than a 5-axis milling machine.
Make Sure Data is Recorded and Stored
A CNC operator is responsible for placing the part onto the table and making sure the setting of XYZ axes to the datum are recorded and stored into work offset registry (i.e G54 TO G59 in Haas machines) this will enable the part to be manufactured to be located at any point within the table by simple setting the x and y value to zero than machine zero.
Ensure Spindle View Measurement
A CNC operator must understand that even though the table moves when the part is being manufactured the motion of the machine is always measured from the spindle view not from the table view. Hence we must always refer to the spindle centre point location when taking measurement.
Clarify Coordinate Systems
A CNC operator must not confuse between the two coordinates systems i. e the machine coordinates systems and the work coordinates systems. The machine coordinates system is set by the manufacturer of that particular machine and cannot be changed and is within the machine itself. It is therefore the reference coordinate system from which all else is referenced. The location of XYZ machine origin within the machine may be different depending on the machines manufacturers. Hence it is advised to check the machine manufacturer’s catalogue for precise instructions.
Know Machine Limit
A CNC operator or programmer must know the total limits that each machine axis is allowed to move, in general this depends on the manufacturer of the machine. However, a skilled CNC operator or programmer can easily identify these parameters as they decide the fate of the manufacturing process.
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