Configuring manufacturing operations forms part of the setting up for manufacturing procedure. An operation and a machine tool must be configured before NC sequences can be created.
Manufacturing operations contain:
• Fixtures (Optional)
• Machine Coordinate System
• Retract Plane
• NC Sequences
Figure 3 – Machine Tool Configuration
• Manufacturing operations contain configured elements such as machine zero coordinate systems and fixtures.
• Manufacturing operations also contain NC sequences that reference the configured machine tool (workcell), and the specified machine coordinate system.
• An operation consists of a number of configured elements such as:
– The machine coordinate system (specified by the machine zero position). This also specifies the direction of the X-, Y-, and Z-axes
on the machine tool.
– A retract plane (or surface) which the tool retracts to between NC sequences.
– An optional fixture setup.
• When these items have been specified, you can create NC sequences to machine components assembled into the manufacturing model. These NC sequences reference the machine tool and the machine zero position.
You cannot create NC sequences until you configure the manufacturing operation and configure a machine tool.
Fixtures are typically configured at this stage of setting up the operation.
However, they are optional elements of an operation and are not required to complete NC sequences. Fixtures are parts or assemblies that are
assembled into manufacturing models, and they can be easily activated and deactivated as required. Fixtures can be used as references, for example:
• To specify the location of the machine coordinate system.
• To locate the position of reference models in the manufacturing model.
• To locate the position of workpiece models in the manufacturing model.
Machine Coordinate System and Retract Plane
The machine coordinate system, often referred to as the machine zero position, acts as the origin position for CL data output.
• The machine coordinate system specifies the direction of the X-, Y-, and Z-axes on the machine tool.
• You can configure the machine coordinate system by selecting or creating a coordinate system in the manufacturing model.
– When configuring the machine coordinate system, you can reference existing datum features in the manufacturing model, or you can reference fixture geometry, or use reference model or workpiece geometry.
The retract plane (or surface) specifies the level to which the tool retracts to between cutting motions.
• You can specify the retract plane at the operation level, and then modify its position for specific NC sequences as required.
• Note, depending on your requirements, you can specify the retract position to be a plane, cylinder, sphere, or a custom-made surface.
• By default, the retract plane is configured along the Z-axis of the machine coordinate system. You can select an alternative reference if required.
Machine Tool Configuration
When configuring a machine tool (workcell), the minimum configuration involves specifying:
• Machine Name
– For example: Fadal/Fanuc/Makino
• Machine Type
• Number of Axes
– This can be 2, 3, 4, or 5
– Dependent on machine type
Where appropriate, it is recommended to assemble fixtures before specifying the machine coordinate system or assembling both reference models and workpiece models. This enables these items to reference any fixtures if required.