The integration of data is a continuing phenomenon in manufacturing technology, and Mazak’s debut of its new Smooth Technology “process-performance platform” (installed on seven five-axis and multi-tasking machines) emphasized how close to the center of action that integration is happening in cutting, turning, and machining operations.
Smooth Technology “spans the entire part-production landscape, from programming and setup to metal removal operations to automation to monitoring/data collection and transfer,” according to the developer. Its critical elements are the mew Mazatrol SmoothX CNC and new machine hardware and servo systems.
Mazak noted it developed each function of the Mazatrol SmoothX CNC in response to real-world issues and customer input, impacting the control function and the ergonomics of the operations.
As detailed, Mazatrol SmoothX CNC processes data four times faster than its fastest CNC predecessors, and the new Seamless Corner Control and Variable Acceleration Control functions mean that machine shops can shorten cycle times, particularly for programs that are measured in fine increments, such as simultaneous 5-axis machining and free-form die-mold machining.
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Seamless Corner Control reduces vibrations and helps shorten part-machining cycle times by adjusting cutting paths when machining into corners. Rather than moving the cutter directly into a 90-degree corner, the function inserts a preset radial tolerance that eliminates any dwell resulting from a rapid deceleration in the axial movement. This results in smoother corner surfaces, reduces the risk of cutter gouging, and means taht cutters can feed much faster.
The Variable Acceleration Control function maintains maximum acceleration/deceleration for a set of combined axes in real-time, which may reduce machining cycle times.
Other features and functions that add to Mazatrol Smooth CNCX’s productivity and operability include the Quick programming screen, intuitive HMI, five-axis virtual machining, and Intelligent Pocket Milling.
The CNC’s Quick Mazatrol programming screen uses a 3D assist feature to streamline part programming via a 3D CAD input, and features designation for the company’s proprietary Mazatrol programming language. The intuitive touch operation requires less action to create programs. Users also benefit from a high-speed toolpath check for EIA programming, and axis-reversal point analysis.
The control’s intuitive HMI includes a 19-in. panel with a Process Home screen that presents all critical data to operators within a single page view. In fact, screen functions are similar to those of a smart tablet.
In terms of the control’s five-axis virtual machining, new voxel simulation technology allows fast, complex machining simulation.
The Intelligent Pocket Milling function engages a high-efficiency toolpath for Mazatrol programming language when milling out part cavities. Compared to conventional offset milling, the function consistently maintains a constant angle of tool engagement and cutting loads to ensure optimum machining conditions. This results in the full use of a machine tool’s power capabilities and up to 35% faster and more efficient machining of even the most difficult-to-cut materials.
A Mazatrol SmoothX CNC featured on one machine can monitor up to five additional machines, in a cell or operating nearby, so operators responsible for multiple machines can easily track their status from one machine display to eliminate the need to physically go to each machine in the group.
Also, Smooth Technology supports the MTConnect open-source, royalty-free manufacturing protocol, which means machines can have an MTConnect adapter and that users can collect data from the CNC.