If anything can wean the numerical control community away from its perverse addiction to punched paper tape, CAD/CAM Integration Inc of Woburn, Massachusetts reckons it has to be the tumbling prices of the IBM Personal XT or AT or compatibles. The company has found that the IBM machines are quite man enough to run an implementation of Unix supporting its Computer Numerical Control software, and it has accordingly come up with the Series 1000 Factory Automation Systems. The systems are designed to provide for distributed numerical control and communications and the company claims that the new line is a distinct break from the past. Up to now, factory communications systems were designed around proprietary and costly operating environments, says president Joe Lewis. With the introduction of these products, we have eliminated several barriers to entry – price, standard hardware, and the lack of good factory communications software. Series 1000 provides electronic transmission of manufacturing information between a CAD/CAM/CAE or numerical control preparation system and machine tools or other automated shop floor equipment.
Ethernet or Broadband
Unix was chosen as a convenient source of a multi-tasking operating environment: using Series 1000, an operator can simultaneously take data from a CAD/CAM system, queue jobs on the Series 1000 and sending a job to the machine tool simultaneously. The system provides for two-way communications for downloading to, and uploading manufacturing information from numerical control and computer numerical control machine tools, robots, co-ordinate measuring machines and other shop-floor devices. Post-processed files are downloaded from a CAD/CAM or numerical control preparation system to the Series 1000, which can store and distribute the information to the shop floor. The system can then monitor the machine tool for production reporting, quality control and maintenance. In its basic form, the Series 1000 can be configured as a DNC 1000 for standard direct numerical control applications including eliminating paper tapes, part program editing at the shop floor, job queuing and remote job requests. The system provides software links into host systems and multiple protocols for linking into machine tools. The DNC 1000 uses a 16-channel multiplexer, expandable to 64 channels, to download part programs via asynchronous RS-422 or RS-232 communications to the machine tools. A Cell 1000 includes the DNC 1000 and monitoring software, such as machine tool monitoring, production control system, probe data collection, maintenance reporting, and graphics communications. Hardware options include machine interface units, probe mate, communicator modules, and graphic terminals. All Series 1000 products support Ethernet and Broadband local area networks. The Series 1000 is available now, and starts at $7,500 and includes a 16-channel multiplexer, Unix, RS-422 or RS-232 links, full screen numerical control editor and standard machine tool protocols. Bring your own Personalike.