Direct Numerical Control


Direct Numerical Control

Direct Numerical Control, also known as Distributed Numerical Control, (both DNC) is a common manufacturing term for networking CNC machine tools. On some CNC machine controllers, the available memory is too small to contain the machining program (for example machining complex surfaces), so in this case the program is stored in a separate computer and sent Direct to the machine, one block at a time. If the computer is connected to a number of machines it can Distribute programs to different machines as required. Usually, the manufacturer of the control provides suitable DNC software. However, if this provision is not possible, some software companies provide DNC applications that fulfill the purpose. DNC networking or DNC communication is always required when CAM programs are to run on some CNC Machine control.

1950s-1970s

Programs had to be walked to NC controls, generally on paper tape. NC controls had paper tape readers precisely for this purpose. Many companies were still punching programs on paper tape well into the 1980s, more than twenty-five years after its elimination in the computer industry.

1980s

The focus in the 1980s was mainly on reliably transferring NC programs between a host computer and the control. The Host computers would frequently be Sun Microsystems, HP, Prime, DEC or IBM type computers running a variety of CAD/CAM software. DNC companies offered machine tool links using rugged proprietary terminals and networks. For example, DLog offered an x86 based terminal, and NCPC had one based on the 6809. The host software would be responsible for tracking and authorising NC program modifications. Depending on program size, for the first time operators had the opportunity to modify programs at the DNC terminal. No time was lost due to broken tapes, and if the software was correctly used, an operator running incorrect or out of date programs became a thing of the past.

Older controls frequently had no port capable of receiving programs such as an RS232 or RS422 connector. In these cases, a device known as a Behind The Reader or BTR card was used. The connection between the control's tape reader and the internal processor was interrupted by a microprocessor based device which emulated the paper tape reader's signals, but which had a serial port connected to the DNC system. As far as the control was concerned, it was receiving from the paper tape unit as it always had; in fact it was the BTR or Reader Emulation card which was transmitting. A switch was frequently added to permit the paper tape reader to be used as a backup.

1990s and beyond

The PC explosion in the late 1980s and early 1990s signalled the end of the road for proprietary DNC terminals. With some exceptions, CNC manufacturers began migrating to PC-based controls running DOS, Windows or OS/2 which could be linked in to existing networks using standard protocols. Customers began migrating away from expensive minicomputer and workstation based CAD/CAM toward more cost-effective PC-based solutions. Users began to demand more from their DNC systems than secureTo remain competitive, therefore, DNC companies moved their offerings upmarket into DNC Networking, Shop Floor Control or SFC,

pecial Protocols

A challenge when interfacing into machine tools is that in some cases special protocols are used. Two well-known examples are Mazatrol and Heidenhain. Many DNC systems offer support for these protocols. Another protocol is DNC2 or LSV2 which is found on Fanuc controls. DNC2 allows advanced interchange of data with the control, such as tooling offsets, tool life information and machine status as well as automated transfer without operator intervention.

Machine Monitoring

One of the issues involved in machine monitoring is whether or not it can be accomplished automatically. In the 1980s monitoring was typically done by having a menu on the DNC terminal where the operator had to manually indicate what was being done by selecting from a menu, which has obvious drawbacks. There have been advances in passive monitoring systems where the machine condition can be determined by hardware attached in such a way as not to interfere with machine operations (and potentially void warranties). Many modern controls allow external applications to query their status using a special protocol.

Alternatives

Smaller facilities will typically use a portable PC, palmtop or laptop to avoid the expense of a fully networked DNC system. In the past Facit Walk Disk and a similar device from Mazak were very popular.

Footnotes


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Direct numerical control — (DNC), also known as distributed numerical control (also DNC), is a common manufacturing term for networking CNC machine tools. On some CNC machine controllers, the available memory is too small to contain the machining program (for example… …   Wikipedia

  • Direct Numerical Control — Distributed Numerical Control (DNC) bezeichnet in der Fertigungstechnik die Einbettung von computergesteuerten Werkzeugmaschinen (CNC Maschinen) in ein Computernetzwerk. Die Bearbeitungsprogramme werden bei Bedarf mit Hilfe des DNC Systems von… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Direct Numerical Control — ⇡ DNC Anlagen …   Lexikon der Economics

  • Numerical control — CNC redirects here. For other uses, see CNC (disambiguation). A CNC Turning Center …   Wikipedia

  • Numerical Control — Als Numerische Steuerung NC (engl.: Numerical Control) bezeichnet man ein elektronisches Gerät zur Steuerung insbesondere von Werkzeugmaschinen, das in der Lage ist, einen Datensatz von Steuerungsbefehlen von einem Datenträger zu lesen, in… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • numerical control — numerically controlled. Computers. control of a machine tool, or other device used in a manufacturing process, by a computer, other control circuitry, or recorded digital commands. [1950 55] * * * (NC) Control of a system or device by direct… …   Universalium

  • Numerical weather prediction — Weather models use systems of differential equations based on the laws of …   Wikipedia

  • Numerical analysis — Babylonian clay tablet BC 7289 (c. 1800–1600 BC) with annotations. The approximation of the square root of 2 is four sexagesimal figures, which is about six decimal figures. 1 + 24/60 + 51/602 + 10/603 = 1.41421296...[1] Numerical analysis is the …   Wikipedia

  • Numerical response — The Numerical response in ecology is the change in predator density as a function of change in prey density. The term numerical response was coined by M. E. Solomon in 1949.[1] It is associated with the functional response, which is the change in …   Wikipedia

  • Direct multiple shooting method — In the area of mathematics known as numerical ordinary differential equations, the direct multiple shooting method is a numerical method for the solution of boundary value problems. The method divides the interval over which a solution is sought… …   Wikipedia