FANUC Factory Automation introduces FOCAS Automation Solution Connect (FASConnect) software solution for network distributed data management for FANUC CNC equipped machine tools.
August 22, 2011 - FANUC Factory Automation introduces FOCAS Automation Solution Connect (FASConnect) software solution for network distributed data management for FANUC CNC equipped machine tools. FASConnect is a simple distributed network solution to CNC data management that is easy to use, cost effective, FANUC CNC specific, scalable and has support for older FANUC CNCs.
FASConnect allows CNC data management of all the machines in the factory from any computer on the network. Designed with ease of use in mind, once the service is configured no software is required except what is included in Windows. Additionally, incremental licensing allows for everyone from the small shops to the largest automotive plant to use this software cost effectively. FASConnect is FANUC CNC specific, developed by FANUC for use with FANUC CNC equipped machine tools. FASConnect was designed to address the needs of factories of any size as it is scalable from 2 to 22 simultaneous users, from 10 to unlimited CNC connections and multiple 'servers' are possible. HSSB support for older CNCs is also possible (dedicated PC needed in this case).
FASConnect is a software only solution that installs as a Windows service on a central computer. This computer becomes the 'server' and once configured it allows access to all the FANUC CNC systems that are on the plant network. FANUC CNC systems going back to the late 1990s are capable of Ethernet communication to the plant network and older FANUC CNC systems can utilize FANUC HSSB fiber optic communication. FASConnect can communicate with all of these systems going back to ~1994. This allows for a single solution for almost 2 decades of FANUC CNC controls.
FASConnect is the Server side of a Client/Server type application. So, the main application is installed on a central PC and then accessed either locally on that central "server" PC or remotely from a "client" PC that can be located elsewhere on the same network. FASConnect uses the common File Transfer Protocol (FTP) for a high degree of compatibility. The connected CNCs can then be accessed as if they were folders on a computer both locally from the computer in which software was installed on and remotely from computers throughout the network. No client software is required as FASConnect uses the standard Windows Explorer as the client. Up to 22 simultaneous users can connect using standard the Windows Explorer built into the PC.
With FASConnect the CNC data is presented in a folder/file structure in Windows Explorer. This is the same easy format that any PC users will recognize. The CNC data files can be dragged and dropped for backup, and the files themselves can be opened with any text editor and are easily readable.
Since FASConnect software installs as a service in Windows, it can be run without a user login or desktop interaction that may allow a user to accidentally terminate the software. Built-in security allows for only backing up of the critical CNC data. Writing of part programs to the CNC is possible as long as the user has the correct credentials (username/password). This reduces the risk of CNC data being compromised but allows for remote part program management by the programmer, without going down to the machine. The FASConnect service will run on Windows XP, Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008. Clients can be any Windows based computer.
FASConnect was designed to address the needs of factories of any size by using incremental licensing. Incremental licensing allows the purchase of only the number of connections and users that are needed at the time, and as the factory grows, additional connections or even new 'server' installations can be added at any time. A simple 2 user 10 CNC installation is extremely affordable and the installation can scale up from there. User licensing is for simultaneous connections and is offered from 2 to 22 simultaneous users. CNC connections are unlimited and offered in packs of 10.
CNC Systems get more complicated as time goes on, but the solutions to data management continue to use antiquated technology and manual processes. The current software solutions that do exist are typically complicated and expensive plant-wide solutions that do not adequately address the needs of CNC machines.
Traditionally end users have not actively backed up their CNC machines or used a manual method where someone went around from machine to machine backing them up by archaic RS232 communication to a PC on the shop floor or with a memory card. These methods are difficult, time consuming and failure prone. Program management has been the reverse, where someone needed to walk the program down to the CNC or an operator had to actively pull the program from the network while at the machine. FASConnect solves these problems by allowing CNC data management of all the machines in the factory from a central location.