Barcode + DNC = ?
Good morning everyone,
I'm not certain if this is the correct forum for this, but here it goes...
"I'm looking for a DNC program that works with a barcode scanner for an 8-machine shop. Can anyone help?" <--the short of it.
Here's the long of it:
The company I work for has given me a task: Find a way to automate the 'loading' of programs into a shop of eight (8) CNC Lathes from Haas.
I've been looking online and I'm finding that DNC might be the way to go. However, they were explicit in asking me to look for something that would include a 'barcode scanner'.
I'm guessing they want to use the barcode scanner because our jobs here come not with a job sheet, but rather a job envelope with a barcode and they'd like the barcode to become a way for the operators to run jobs, rather than using the time-consuming typing in the control method (which is List Prog->Hard Drive ->Manufacturing ID->Oxxxxx.nc, select, Memory->ProgramLoad->Ready).
They've been running some studies here at work and we want to get into making small-order jobs. The problem is, since we are production-oriented (30 to 40 seconds per piece), the loading of a program can sometimes take longer than actually machining the thing because the manufacturing ID can be tough to find. I have arranged the files in the hard-drive in alphanumeric folders to minimize error and to maximize ease of finding the ID. Each ID has about 20 programs associated with it, so the Oxxxxx.nc files are easy to locate and use because the job envelope clearly says which one it is.
They find that running small jobs will not be worth the cost of the operator/machine because it would take longer to find/load a program than to make the piece, and they also noticed the obvious fall in productivity as a result.
Thus, they want to find a way to make the loading/unloading of programs easier. They want to use the barcode because the job envelopes already have one, being that the routing of jobs is done via an AS400-type database system, which they use for inventory control and B.O.M's (bills of materials) and pricing info, etc. The job envelope would have the manufacturingID and the part number (which becomes the Oxxxxx.nc number since I made them associated), so scanning that with a barcode scanner (to get the ID, and the part number) becomes 'the norm' for an operator.
My plan is to get a PC to become the 'server' and host all the code programs, and have it have a small database that would associate the manufacturingID with the folder containing the part numbers, and the part number with the NC file within. Then, the DNC would determine what file to pick, and send it to the CNC.
I do not know if I will need one barcode scanner or eight, or if the scanner would be located at the CNC or at the PC.
Anyway, that's the LONG of it.
I've been looking into programs such as Predator DNC, Dostek DNC, etc. Does anyone have experience with them, such that they can tell me if such a feat is possible?
Jorge yes you can set up bar code scanners with a DNC system you will need to make sure you don't have any duplicate file names. This is a custom system you could do it with one scanner or 8 we have set up about 40 you could put one scanner at each machine this is the fastest way to get programs. But there are some other options available to you once you get a solid DNC system in place that don't have the cost of a bar code system i.e. remote request or file queuing.
Thanks for the response.
It's good to know that such a method can be implemented. We have duplicate files, but I would imagine that it would ask me to overwrite by pressing Y or N like how it does now. Right now we load up the files and when the filenames are the same it asks us at the control to press Y or N to overwrite in memory.
I suppose doing it with a scanner would simplify the process in the same way only it would end up asking the question.
Remote Request won't be as efficient because the operators are going to have to know what file to request, which means that they will have to 1. know the file, and 2. have to type up a program in the control in order to fetch it, which would end up taking up about as much time as to load the program the current way (30-40 seconds or so).
Queueing would be nice to do, but we get random jobs spoonfed to us throughout the day, and sometimes one particular job might take priority over another so file queueing sounds like it might be more trouble than it's worth.
Where do you connect the scanner at the CNC? We have a LAN/Ethernet port, an RS-232 port, and a USB port on our Haas machines. Only the LAN/Ethernet port is being used, the other two are mostly free.
We don't mind having a scanner at each CNC. In fact, that's how I'd like it to be.
In order for the system to work you can not have duplicate file names on the sever unless you were to create separate machine directories and you still can't have duplicates within them. The reason is your are limited on the custom command string used by the scanners.
You could connect the scanners to the RS232 port if you do so you will need a DNC system. You may also connect the scanners to the LAN port with a hub and you would need FTP server software.
You can also connect the scanners to the LAN via Wireless systems.
In all the above cases you need programmable scanners.
Barcode scanners work on a PC. They push the data into the keyboard buffer as if you were typing it in by hand. They connect to a serial/USB port or through the same keyboard cable with an adapter.
Added: Forgot about wireless scanners - Thanks Jim
Last edited by WayneHill; 11-19-2007 at 02:31 PM.
We have deparate directories, yeah.
Originally Posted by Jim-MFGNetworks
For example, say we have PartA
PartA has, say, 5 variations (by size/inches), so there's a folder/directory at work that is labelled
and inside of it you will find:
Now you will have another part, PartB. All our parts have the same variations (for example, five), so you'd have a folder/directory labelled
and inside of it, like the other one, you will find:
Does this kind of setup make it impossible to use scanners?
I know that there are DNC programs that use 'aliasing' which might be able to help in this case.
Yes this directory structure will work as long as you put the parent directory in the bar-code like so
/PARTA/O00010.txt some of that depends on the root of your FTP server if using LAN or Wireless LAN.
You have 255 characters to use for a filename length. Why limit it two six characters?
The machine does not care what you name the filename. The CNC control reads the program number (O1234) from inside the file.
I set the limit to eight actually... though yes I only use six.
The reason is, the Haas control window limits the view since it seems to have the same limits that DOS has.
Thus, part 6 should be:
because if I used:
then in the Haas control it would only show:
which the operators cannot easily decipher (it's a DOS-like limitation).
Currently, the Haas CNCs hold all the files in their hard drives, which I update via a small router/network I set up. I do this because 1. the main computer is not on all the time, and 2. I need the power to run the SolidEdge models, etc. and 3. I use the PC's only LAN port for connecting to the company network at times, so I cannot be on the company network AND connected to the little CNC network.
So which software should I go with?
It looks like the first one might be the easiest for the shop floor to use...
EDIT- I don't mind getting another computer and using it as the server/database/DNC Workstation, btw.
If your doing it LAN based you don't need DNC software
Based on what you told me you are using LAN all you need is A FTP server software and install it on your server if you don't have a server you can install it on any PC. You should be able to connect the networks together it may require some IP changes.
Most DNC software is designed to be used with serial communications RS232. You will need a custom setup not a off the shelf DNC software.