Rotary Indexing System Offers Wireless Program

Hardinge Inc.-Workholding Div. has configured its all-digital 5C rotary indexing system with infrared (IR) "send and receive," which is said to elevate program control and editing to new levels. This capability uses handheld computers with a Pocket PC operating system.

Programs being transmitted from Rortary Indexing System

"Beaming" is the communication of data between wireless devices using a beam of infrared light during transmission. This beam, invisible to humans, is used in many familiar devices such as television remote controls and garage door openers. It's also finding its way into metalworking applications. Hardinge Inc.-Workholding Div. (Elmira, New York) has configured its all-digital 5C rotary indexing system with infrared (IR) "send and receive," which is said to elevate program control and editing to new levels. This capability uses handheld computers with a Pocket PC operating system.

A program can be written from a remote location and quickly uploaded to the indexer's servo control via a handheld computer. This process is beneficial to manual machine setups, eliminating the act of punching in the code on the servo control. Using a small, wireless system also speeds up productivity.

Hardinge's IR capability also benefits the CNC machine configuration where the indexing system is interfaced with the program residing in the indexer's servo control. CNC operators may be using bulky desktop computers or laptops to access programs and receive information through their company network. The typical computer also requires space and protection from a sometimes not-so-clean factory environment. Because the handheld computer works from the palm of your hand and tucks into a pocket when not in use, virtually no extra workspace is required. With infrared technology, there are no cables or connections, which mean there are no ports to be protected from potential contamination, thereby increasing system reliability. If a standby computer has to be temporarily rolled into the workstation, time is wasted maneuvering it into a location (often a cramped area) and connecting it.

Program retrieval from the servo control can occur while the indexer is operating or on standby. Program editing can be done using the simple notepad format on the handheld computer; however, the program will have to be stopped to beam it or any other new program to the servo control. Infrared capability is ideal for transporting programs from one indexing system to the other, eliminating the need to daisy-chain the indexers together. It is also ideal for editing on the spot or delivering programs to the shop floor. Because infrared transmission requires a clear line of sight, the handheld computer IR port must be held close to the IR port on the front of the servo control for data transmission.

Hardinge offers the Dell Pocket PC Computer Axim X30 model #CI-3279-PPC with programming software supplied by Hardinge. The software is compatible with handheld computers using Pocket PC operating systems.