UNIQUE CNC PLATFORM PROVIDES MACHINE TOOL MANUFACTURERS WITH ALMOST UNLIMITED CONFIGURATION FLEXIBILITY
Super-scalable control system with integrated safety architecture----- Includes application-specific machining functions and 3D simulator
Chicago, September 10, 2012 --- Today, NUM launches a new generation of its
flexible and scalable solution for safe control of machine tools.
Known as Flexium+, the modular safety-equipped platform enables OEMs to
standardize on a single cost- and performance-optimized CNC architecture for
a vast spectrum of machine types - from small machines with a few axes to
large multi-cell manufacturing equipment with over 200 axes and spindles. In
this way, the open architecture of the CNC platform can dramatically lower
development and support costs, and speed time to market.
Flexium+ builds on the architecture of NUM's Flexium CNC - the
fastest-growing and most successful CNC kernel in NUM's 50 year history. To
provide even greater versatility, dynamic performance and accuracy, the
platform's hardware includes new digital servodrive modules with integrated
safety, a safety PLC module, safe input and output modules, and a
multi-processor operator panel with touch-sensitive screen. New support
software includes a precision operating system and soft automation PLC,
complete with a fully customizable human-machine interface (HMI) that
recognizes touch gestures, an extensive suite of optional machining
functions, and a powerful 3D simulator for part program verification and
visualization of machining processes.
A choice of three CNC kernels, Flexium+ 6, Flexium+ 8 and Flexium+ 68,
enables machine designers to deploy technically and economically optimized
solutions for different machine tool applications. Flexium+ 6 and Flexium+ 8
will control up to four interpolated axes and a spindle, where Flexium+ 8 is
dedicated to machines which need a higher degree of flexibility. Flexium+ 68
supports larger and more complex machine control applications and provides
up to eight CNC channels, each accommodating up to nine interpolated axes
and as many as 32 spindles. In total, a single Flexium+ 68 CNC kernel can
accommodate 32 connected devices, any of which can be interpolated axes or
spindles. This universal control approach simplifies spindle/C-axis
commutation and provides an excellent foundation for multi-spindle
applications such as transfer machines.
"Being able to use one CNC architecture across a complete range of machines
gives a very large payback, especially for the many small to medium sized
machine tool builders that support a broad range of applications using
limited design resources", says NUM's CEO Peter von Rueti.
An enhanced part program structure enables machine designers to take full
advantage of the new CNC hardware's versatility. Each channel runs its own
part program asynchronously and operates autonomously, much as if it had a
dedicated CNC kernel, or it can be synchronized to other channels. Control
of one or more axes or spindles can be passed from one channel to another
on-the-fly to maximize use of available hardware resources.
In each channel, four spindles can be operated in a master/auxiliary
arrangement, with real-time control of their speed, direction and indexing.
This simplifies implementation of complex machining operations. The master
handles advanced CNC functions such as maintaining CSS (constant surface
speed) while the workpiece changes diameter during processing, or
continuously tracking angular position during thread cutting, with the three
auxiliary spindles handling associated higher speed machining.
Multiple Flexium+ 68 CNC kernels can be interconnected via real-time
Ethernet, which enables the realization of control systems with more than
200 interpolating axes. The ability to drive multiple CNC kernels and
control this number of axes with a single automation PLC is a unique
advantage of NUM's CNC architecture.
To help OEMs implement rigorous machine safety schemes, Flexium+ introduces
a comprehensive system-wide safety architecture known as NUMSafe. All
critical system operations are overseen by a new safety PLC module. In
conjunction with new NUM safe I/O modules and servodrives - which
incorporate safe motion monitoring circuitry - the safety PLC enables
machine designers to implement high integrity safety functions with very few
NUMSafe is inherently scalable, requires minimal extra wiring and uses a
Fail Safe over EtherCAT (FSoE) protocol to ensure integrity of all
safety-related data. The architecture complies with the EN ISO 13849-1
machinery safety standard up to PLe, and with the EN 61800-5-2 functional
safety standard for variable speed drives, up to SIL 3.
Available in single- and dual-axis versions, the new digital servodrives -
NUMDrive X - offer a choice of two performance levels, with outputs from a
few amps to 200 Arms. Their high degree of functional integration makes them
one of the smallest drives of their type on the market. To further simplify
design-in, the drives' safe motion monitoring board is available in a basic
version with Safe Torque Off functionality, and in an extended version which
adds Safe Operating Stop, Safe Stop 1, Safe Stop 2, Safely-Limited Speed and
Safely-Limited Position functions.
NUMDrive X servodrives are significantly faster than NUM's
earlier-generation NUMDrive C products. Advanced DSP control increases
CNC-drive servobus speed by 100 percent. Together with improvements to the
drives' bandwidth - by as much as 25 percent - and enhanced acceleration
algorithms, this means machine designers do not need to sacrifice resolution
during extended axis travel, or trade traverse rate against positioning
accuracy. Overall CNC resolution and accuracy are further improved by a
numerical processor in the CNC kernel; the software has been enhanced to
utilize high precision format, allowing for finer interpolation and speed
To speed development of part programs, Flexium+ provides a unified suite of
software tools with a consistent look and feel. All CNC, servodrive, I/O,
automation PLC and safety PLC functions are set up and programmed using a
single tool; the automation PLC offers a choice of IEC 61131-3 compliant
graphical and textual programming languages, while the safety PLC is
programmed using simple function blocks and Boolean operators. Unlike
competitive CNC platforms, Flexium+ also offers a fully customizable HMI,
allowing OEMs to add value to their machines through improved ergonomics.
Dual touch gestures such as 'wipe', 'expand' and 'rotate' can be
incorporated to capitalize on NUM's new touch-sensitive operator panel,
while virtual keys can replace physical keys to further simplify machine
operation and reduce build costs.
Manually-written or CAM-generated part programs can be verified and
optimized easily and quickly using NUM's powerful Flexium 3D graphical
simulation software on an offline PC. Alternatively, the software runs on
the new operator panel, taking full advantage of its multi-core processor PC
and 19-inch screen, and interacting with the machine's CNC unit, to simulate
part programs either before they are run, or simultaneously with part
processing. Users can visualize the path of the tool centre point, simulate
material removal and check for collisions. As standard, the software can
simulate a wide variety of machining functions including grooving, thread
cutting and tapping on 3- to 5-axis turning machines, milling and drilling
on 3-axis machines, and contour cutting.
An exceptionally diverse range of application support software covers
machining functions such as grinding, turning, milling and cutting, as well
as gear hobbing, shaping and finishing. The latest additions include new
functions for water-jet and plasma cutting machines, using innovative
'tilted nozzle management' algorithms to prevent under- or over-cut edges by
automatically compensating for the conical shape of the beam.
The Flexium+ CNC platform is backed by NUM's extensive portfolio of motors.
NUM is also introducing two new ranges of brushless axis motors designed
specifically for use with the new NUMDrive X servodrives. These drives
incorporate an innovative digital encoder interface which dispenses with the
need for a separate cable by carrying encoder power and data on a two-wire
link embedded into the motor cable. The new SHX and SPX brushless axis
motors have a single connector and cable, simplifying installation and
reducing wiring costs significantly.