3 Tips for Boosting DNC Performance

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In the fully-automated factories of today, automated end-to-end component production is kept going 24/7 with computer aided design and manufacturing programs (CAD/CAM) that are in direct communication with computer numerical control (CNC) tool stations.

CNC networks may be further managed by distributed numerical control (DNC) servers. Over the last few decades, DNC communications has evolved from uploading data using floppy disks to delivering updates using serial data interfaces.

Now, Ethernet networks offer much more rapid data transfers, allowing CNCs that once communicated over serial data to communicate much more efficiently over Ethernet.

This process is made possible with special device servers that translate Ethernet communications from the DNC into serial signals for the machine station’s CNC. CNC tool stations are extremely durable machines that may run more-or-less continuously for 10 or more years.

Consequently, when fitting the stations with a device server, reliability and safety are among the most important concerns.

In addition, because some CNC stations can communicate using either serial protocols or directly over Ethernet, to make the most of these systems engineers must make sure the serial or Ethernet hardware that connects them offers the most up-to-date communication choices available.

Tip 1: Improving CNC Work Efficiency

In the intensely competitive world of manufacturing, it is more important now than ever before to exploit every fraction of a system’s potential, whether it is work efficiency, network reliability and performance, or the conservation of waste.

Operators not only want a remote control solution, but an advanced solution for remote monitoring, administration, and analysis of CNC productivity.

With CNC stations running for so long, any change or update in the system that takes it offline creates a bottleneck, making issues like software support and station maintenance causes for operator concern.

Real-Time CNC Performance Monitoring

Moxa’s innovative condition monitoring solutions are designed to provide factory operators with the reliable real-time data management they need.

Our NPort device servers simplify the process of integrating I/O devices within an existing automation network, and work with the device server to securely transfer all data to and from the control center.

NPort Device Servers for Serial, Ethernet, and Wi-Fi

Engineers are now implementing remote control of CNC machines using Ethernet/Wi-Fi solutions, which provides substantial savings on cabling maintenance and deployment costs.

Moxa provides device servers that can be used as fully-wired serial-to-Ethernet gateways, and others that can be used as serial-to-wireless gateways.

Real COM Drivers Optimise DNC Communications

NPort device servers use the high performance optimization of Moxa’s Real COM driver to allow DNCs to automatically negotiate optimal transmission parameters across the factory network.

In high performance mode, NPorts receive and temporarily store data transmitted from the DNC, but once the DNC’s transfer has been completed, the NPort notifies the DNC server, freeing it to start uploading data to the next station in the queue while the NPort takes responsibility for forwarding the remaining information to the much slower CNC.

Tip 2: Decreasing Downtime by Optimising Communications Efficiency

To maintain optimal productivity, factory operators are keen to stay abreast of the latest technology updates; however, installation and maintenance of new devices—or even firmware and software upgrades—can lead to the loss of significant manufacturing time on the factory floor, which holds operators back from following through on upgrades.

Expanding existing solutions through efficient introductions of new software and communications enhancements or rapid device reconfigurations is what’s needed. In this regard, Moxa’s NPort excels.

Tip 3: Preventing DNC-to-CNC Data Faults

Data loss during DNC-to-CNC communications is unacceptable. Zero packet loss is the standard to which all device servers must conform to ensure that all data communicated across the factory network—whether by wired or wireless means—arrives as intended.

For factories migrating their CNCs from wired to wireless communications, floor managers will feel secure knowing network stations will always enjoy the same rigorous guarantee of error-free data security.

Among the most volatile and worrisome of hazards that can affect factory networks are power surges, which are unpredictable and may occur at any time.

Factory floors tend to be affected by large amounts of power noise, which can badly affect data communications, harm interfaces, and significantly slow down network performance.

For this reason, an effective CNC device server must feature high surge protection on its serial data links, with optical isolation featuring high EMI tolerances.

On-Chip Software Flow Control for Precision Processes

On large factory floors DNCs and CNCs are constantly exchanging data, so device servers that can optimize these transfers for the speediest, most reliable transmissions save a great deal of network time over the long run.

These optimizations are realised in two ways: (1) by improving data transfers between the DNC and gateway, and (2) by improving transfers between the gateway and CNC.

Surge Protectors to Avoid CNC Surge Damage

CNC stations are quite expensive, and any damage or downtime is unacceptable. One commonly encountered factor that can badly corrupt CNC communications is electronic noise over the data network.

To protect against these effects, all of Moxa’s NPort device servers come with built-in surge protection (1 kV), making them ideal for harsh, confined CNC deployments.

However, if 1 kV is not enough, then additional, externally mounted protectors may also be ordered to provide an additional 20 kV of protection.

Conclusion

With more than a quarter century of experience in industrial network device manufacturing, Moxa provides a complete range of data management solutions for any factory automation need, from legacy multiport serial boards to the latest serial-to-wireless device servers.

Our serial-to-Ethernet and serial-to-Wi-Fi device servers, industrial Ethernet solutions, and industrial I/O solutions are reliable, sturdy, and durable, providing the latest technological advances that allow you to make the most of your DNC/CNC setup.