View Full Version : Need Help! Bar code scanning to load program to controller

07-30-2008, 11:10 AM
I must preface this request by saying my experience with CNC machines and controllers is extremely limited. My background is in IT and I have had no contact with these technologies till very recently, so I apologize in advance if I make some blunders.

To cut to the chase, our company is studying the possibility of using bar codes to automatically download programs to the CNC machines to reduce setup times and avoid mistakes when typing program names/numbers.

We have over 16 different machines from different companies (colchester, mazak, gildemeister, emco, etc) with different controllers (fanuc, siemens, mazatrol, etc). Our DNC server is Cimco DNC-Max 5.

Not being familiar with this kind of technology, I'm not sure of the best way to go about this. So far I've considered two different options:

Option 1 - Interface with the DNC server to send the program to the machine automatically with a custom built tool. I'm not sure if this is even possible, and it raises the problem that mistakes could cause the program to be sent to the wrong machine. This would allow us however to use the same scanners for other purposes as well, and would be a common solution for all kinds of controller.

Option 2 - Connect the scanners to the controllers and from there automate the loading process. Once again I have no idea how to go about this, though I'm pretty sure it's possible. I assume that since we're using different controllers, it all depends on each individual controller on how to do this, so for each type of controller an individual solution would have to be found. It does have the benefit that you won't be sending programs to the wrong machine.

At this point I'm not sure which way to pursue first, so I ask for some advice from the experienced people in this forum. Any advice at all on this issue would be very helpful and appreciated.

Thank you in advance,
Pedro Marques