Inexpensive Wireless Intranet Based Program Transfer to Multiple Machines
I have spent the better part of six months working on a solution for our machines. We have a variety of machines ranging from Fanuc to Mitsubishi. I am just finalizing the installation of a wireless network that enables us to download programs to our machines via the intranet. I have developed a VB program that opens a Winsock connection to the WiBox and send the program to the machines.
There are several little pieces that must be installed to work.
1. WiBox - $279.00
2. Access Point - approx. $300.00
3. Specialized cable to connect WiBox to Controller - $3 - $4
4. VB Program to manage transfer of programs. - Lots of my time
5. Database to house all of the machines and their particular programs. - More of my time.
I will discuss the processes to make this work.
1. Install an AP within 300 feet of the machines that you are trying to communicate with.
2. Attach a Wibox to each machine you want to convert to wireless.
3. Built a cable based on the WiBox and machine requirements. These can be found on in the machine manuals (normally)
4. Set machine comport settings per your requirements
5. Set WiBox comport settings per machine settings
6. Update database to house the specific machine IP address and port number
7. Open Winsock connection to the IP/port
8. Open file on network
9. Read file using the FileSystemObject; one line at a time. Ensuring that a VBCRLF is sent at the end of each line.
10. At the end of each transmission add the '3' for file completion indication.
This setup, though rough, provides the ability to have all of our machines on the intranet. It also allows us to have some consistency in programs. People used to have copies of programs on 3.5" diskettes and version control became a major issue. Since this implementation, version control is no longer an issue.
This process allows me to have an entire group of machines setup ready to receive programs and go to one PC, centrally located, and download the program to them all at one time. Talk about time savings.
Since most machines are designed to drip-feed, I can have the operators delete unused programs, to release memory, and upload new programs while a current program is running. This provides a great time savings for program changeovers.
What I do not have is the indepth knowledge of CNC. I would like to be able to write the PLC parts that allow for DNC. I know that there are some of you out there that already have or know how to write this. The machines that I am interested in are IBH-Macro8000, Fanuc, Mitsubishi,Hardiage, and Boston.
If anyone has the PLC software for DNC for any of these machines, I would greatly appreciate it. In return, I would be more than willing to assist anyone interested in installing a wireless network for program transfer to machines. I have all of the machines listed above cabling and machine settings documented.
Another item that I am interested in is the ability to monitor cycle times, etc. I know that there are packages out there that already do this, but I am more interested in learning the programming specifics per machine. This way, I can build applications that operate in the .NET world and allow for one module configuring and monitoring all machines.
The total number of machines that we currently have on-line is 25. We are going to have approx. 50 - 60 machines by the time this project is over.
I would greatly appreciate any assistance, source code, programs, etc. that any of you could provide. I will be more than willing to post the programming and development results back to this forum as they become available.
Thank each of you for your time and attention
Senior Systems Analyst