* advanced 3D simulator with collision detection now features RTCP function

Chicago, September 8, 2014 --- NUM is showing its new two-channel CNC kernel

for the first time in the US at IMTS. Designed specifically for developers
of small to medium sized machine tools with four or five axes, the Flexium+
8 CNC provides an exceptionally cost-effective control solution that in many
cases eliminates the need for a second CNC kernel. NUM is also launching a
new version of its 3D simulation software which now includes kinematic
equations to support advanced 5-axis machining applications.

The Flexium+ 8 CNC kernel offers two CNC channels and accommodates up to
five axes, four of which can be interpolated. At any one time, either CNC
channel can be used to control a spindle motor and four axes, instead of the
full complement of five axes. This control flexibility helps designers to
lower the cost of machines with complex synchronization requirements. For
example, on a grinding machine, one channel could control two X/Z axes and a
spindle to perform the grinding functions while the other channel controls
two rear mounted U/W dressing axes. Each channel can either run its own part
program asynchronously and operate autonomously - much as if it had a
dedicated CNC kernel - or the two channels can be synchronized. Control of
one to five axes, or a spindle, can be passed on-the-fly from one channel to
the other, to maximize use of available hardware resources.

Like all NUM CNC systems, the Flexium+ 8 firmware includes RTCP (rotation
around tool center point) and Inclined Plane functions. Pioneered by NUM,
the RTCP function provides enormous advantages for precision 5-axis
machining applications. By very accurately controlling the machine's rotary
axes, such as a dual rotary tool-head or a table and cradle holding the
part, the function enables the tool to be held in contact with the part, and
at a constant angle, throughout the machining process. The RTCP function is
even more beneficial if the part is not flat; it automatically computes all
the offsets due to factors such as tool head mechanics and tool length that
are needed to maintain accurate tool contact.

As its name implies, the reference point for all RTCP calculations is the
tool's centre, or contact point - and not the tool-head position, which
would require the contact point to be determined mechanically. The
difference between these two methods has a major impact on machining. For
example, if the distance between the tool tip and the center of the rotary
head is 600 mm, a head positioning error of just one-hundredth of a degree
will cause a tool tip error of 0.1 mm; without the RTCP function, this can
result in tool or part damage. Another significant advantage of the RTCP
function is that the programmed coordinates are those of the part contour,
not the machine, which makes the programs machine independent and means
that tool offsets can be applied without program modification. The RTCP
function is implemented as part of the Flexium+ CNC post-processor, which
further helps to ensure part program portability.

NUM recently integrated the complex coordinate transformation algorithms of
the RTCP function into its Flexium+ 3D simulation software. Users can now
analyze and optimize the kinematic performance of part programs for 4- and
5-axis machines easily and accurately by employing advanced 3D visualization
techniques. The software includes comprehensive collision monitoring and
detection to guard against tool, part or machine damage.

For maximum flexibility, NUM offers two versions of Flexium+ 3D simulation
software. One is designed for standalone use without a CNC system, as a
production planning tool for verifying part programs. The other is fully
integrated with the Flexium+ HMI (human machine interface) and is connected
to the machine's CNC system. Unlike many competitive CAD/CAM visualization
systems, this uses the NC code that is being processed by the CNC
interpolator to create a true real-time representation of machine operation.
Part programs can be simulated at the same time that other programs are
being executed on the machine, and the same part program can be executed and
simulated simultaneously. The simulator visualizes the tools, the machine's
kinematic properties and the work piece blank as 3D volumes, and shows the
TCP (tool center point) and material removal as the tool moves along the
machining path defined by the part program.

The Flexium+ 8 CNC kernel can be used with various NUM drives. For optimum
performance it is best teamed with the company's latest NUMDrive X digital
servo drive modules. These drives are some of the smallest on the market and
offer numerous configuration options to help designers minimize machine
build costs through use of axis-appropriate technology. The drives use
advanced DSP control techniques to maximize the CNC kernel-to-drive servo
bus speed, and feature high loop bandwidths and special acceleration
algorithms for uncompromised speed and positioning accuracy. A numerical
processor in the CNC kernel, together with the precision number-handling
capabilities of Flexium+ software, helps to ensure a high overall CNC
resolution and facilitates 'sub nano' interpolation between axes.

Flexium+ 8 also features an inherently scalable safety architecture known as
NUMSafe. A safety PLC built into the CNC system oversees all critical
operations; in conjunction with NUM's safe I/O modules and the safe motion
monitoring circuits in NUMDrive X servo drives, this enables machine
designers to implement high-integrity safety functions using minimal
additional components. The safety architecture complies with the EN ISO
13849-1 machinery safety standard up to PL e, as well as the EN 61800-5-2
functional safety standard for variable speed drives, up to SIL 3.

NUM's Flexium+ CNC platform now includes three CNC kernels, all of which are
on display at IMTS, enabling machine designers to configure cost- and
performance-optimized control systems for a wide range of automation. The
product series comprises the Flexium+ 6, which is also on show for the first
time in the US, the Flexium+ 8 and the Flexium+ 68. Flexium+ 6 has a single
CNC channel, can control four interpolated axes and a spindle, and is
designed for small to medium size machines. Flexium+ 68 is designed for
larger and more complex machine control applications. Offering up to eight
CNC channels, each accommodating up to nine interpolated axes and as many as
32 spindles, it provides an excellent foundation for multi-spindle
applications such as transfer machines.

The Flexium+ platform is backed by powerful software. All CNC, servo drive,
I/O, automation PLC and safety PLC functions are programmed using a single
unified toolset. A fully customizable HMI allows users to add value to their
machines, through improved ergonomics and touch-sensitive controls. NUM's
application support software covers a broad range of machining functions
such as grinding, tool grinding, turning, milling, gear hobbing, shaping and
finishing, as well as water-jet, laser and plasma cutting. Many of these
software packages are regarded by machine tool manufacturers - and users -
as industry standards.

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