HMI Provides Common Language for Wire EDMs

The AC CUT HMI (human machine interface) from GF Machining Solutions gives enables shops to freely run any job on any one of their EDM machines – no matter when the part programs were first produced.

The AC CUT HMI (human machine interface) from GF Machining Solutions (formerly GF AgieCharmilles) (Lincolnshire, IL) provides a common language for the company’s entire CUT line of wire EDM machines.

AC CUT gives operators a fast, efficient and easy-to-use programming interface that shares the same basic platform and functional layout as the company’s AC FORM HMI for sinker EDMs. These shared commonalities allow experienced wire EDM operators to seamlessly transition, with minimal training, over to also running sinker EDM machines and vice-versa with those experienced sinker EDM operators moving to wire machines.

A good interaction between the operator and the machine increases efficiency and process reliability,” said Gisbert Ledvon, the director of business development for GF Machining Solutions in North America. And according to him, the AC CUT and AC FORM are the result of GF Machining Solutions taking a new approach to the user interface design – making operation simpler and more easily accessible to operators of all skill levels.

In fact, the interface is extremely intuitive and uncomplicated for beginners, allowing them to quickly learn it and confidently run their machines. Based on a standard Windows® platform, the AC CUT HMI offers interactive graphical assistance so that all functions, such as measurement and machining cycles, are illustrated by graphics/icons for fast operator understanding and ease of use.

The AC CUT HMI also features a “sequence” screen that automatically organizes machining flow. Programming steps are in logical and chronological order, and there is an onboard CAM system for quickly programming at the machine from common part file formats such as IGES and dxf. The AC CUT also offers several automatic wire EDM machining strategy functions that are unique to the industry and that optimize both machine setup and performance.

These functions include wire recommendations through the EDM Expert, reverse cut and skimming in the gap functionalities and backward program compatibility. As part of the AC CUT HMI, the on-board EDM Expert recommends specific types of wire that will give the best performance and surface finish based on workpiece materials and desired machining parameters.

The function eliminates the guess work in selecting the optimum wire – choosing between hard or soft brass wire, brass coated or copper coated wire and others – as opposed to using the same type of wire for all materials and achieving mediocre results. With AC CUT’s reverse-cut function, wire EDMs, once at the end of a burn path, automatically reverse direction and cut back along the same path just traveled.

This capability is particularly beneficial when EDMing punches. Machines are able to rough cut clockwise around the punch shape, then counterclockwise for the finish pass – resulting in significantly shorter part cycle times. There is no longer a need for machines to break the wire at the end of a rough pass, travel back to the program start position, off-set for a finish pass, rethread the wire and re-start the program to run through a second time.

For thicker/taller workpieces, the two skim-cutting technologies – skimming in the open and skimming in the gap – within the AC CUT HMI ensure both absolute parallelism and straightness from a part’s top to its bottom.

Different conditions exist when wire EDMing in an open part cavity where the slug has been removed and when cutting in the gap between the slug and workpiece where flushing is hindered. While most other EDMs fail to differentiate between these two skimming conditions in terms of flush and level of gap contamination, the AC CUT HMI compensates for both of them by automatically adjusting gap voltage for optimized skimming in the open or skimming in the gap.

As an industry first, the backward compatibility function of the AC CUT HMI allows shops to work backwards and run older part programs generated for existing GF Machining Solutions EDMs on newer and even future machine models. Instead of older programs having to be rewritten for use on today’s machines, the new HMI includes a converter that automatically updates these programs to increase workflow-scheduling versatility. Shops can freely run any job on any one of their GF Machining Solutions EDM machines – no matter when the part programs were first produced.

In terms of connectivity and documentation, users can take advantage of the AC CUT HMI’s E-Connect for MTConnect compatibility and the electronic documentation that is available in an embedded HTML format. The embedded documentation eliminates big hardcopy manuals, so there is no need for users to print out information on topics such as code programming, machining parameters and maintenance because with a simple touch of a button, they can instantly access all of this data on the screen.

Furthermore, once their jobs are complete, operators can easily run complete machining reports that detail data such as strategy, discharge time and events. Having such information in one report allows operators to control the workpiece, archive data, enrich their know-how and calculate production costs.

GF Machining Solutions, 560 Bond St., Lincolnshire, IL 60069–4224, 800−282−1336, Fax: 847−913−5340, www.gfms.com/us.

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