Bridging the Skills Gap: Thermo-Friendly Concept Manages Heat
While CNC machine operations have changed drastically in last decade, finding talent with the training, skills and experience to keep up with technology isn’t easy. Automated operation often is a reliable solution to bridge this skills gap.
In accordance with the basic laws of physics, most metals expand as their temperatures increase and shrink as the temperature decreases. The changes are typically very small (+/- 0.00004’’), but when this amount of difference occurs at an angle, it can result in a positioning error of +/- 0.001’’ or greater. This growth can then be compounded by simultaneous moves in two or more directions (axes).
Machining a part after a CNC machine has been turned off all night will result in a different quality part than one made on a machine that has been running all day. The machining accuracy of the workpiece changes signifcantly because of ambient temperature around the machine, heat generated by the machine, and heat generated in the machine. To account for these changes, machinists used to be able to stabilize the machine through warm-up cycles, similar to the way people start their car on cold winter mornings. However this wastes time and energy. Other practices have been to thoroughly inspect each part and adjust the machine as it warms up. This requires a high amount of machinist interpretation and adjustment to product acceptable parts, and as mentioned above, many machinists today lack this skill. Errors occur as all machinists will eventually make a math or an entry error when performing these adjustments.
Okuma’s Thermal Active Stabilizer (TAS), a function of the Thermo-Friendly Concept (TFC) Intelligent Technology, performs these adjustments automatically, providing the quickest response possible while ensuring that the correct amount and direction of adjustment is made.
TAS is used by Okuma as a fine-tuning instrument since great engineering energy has been devoted toward designing both the mechanical and electrical components to reduce their heat transfer from one to another. Additionally, Okuma engineers have designed the covers and thermal barrier zones to reduce heat transferred from the machined part, chips and coolant to the machine’s structure. Finally, sensors are added to measure and adjust the machine’s growth as the outside temperature changes. The combination of these three features provides the highest repeatable part-to-part quality throughout the day with no, or very little, machinist input.
Okuma’s TAS greatly reduces manual adjustments made to the CNC machine thus allowing your machinist to perform tasks with the assurance that quality conforming parts are being made. For more information on Thermo-Friendly Concept or any of the other Intelligent Technologies, visit http://www.okuma.com/intelligent-technology or read our white paper, “Thermo-Friendly Concept Helps CNC Machines Take the Heat.”