CNC & Machine Controls

Software And CNC Package Improves Production By 15 Percent

With a unique part program software suite onboard a powerful CNC, one shop has found it’s producing more and better parts much faster on a recently acquired turning center. 


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With a unique part program software suite onboard a powerful CNC, one shop has found it’s producing more and better parts much faster on a recently acquired turning center. CEJN Industrial Corporation, located in Gurnee, Illinois, is the U.S. branch of a large multi-national company based in Sweden that manufactures high precision pneumatic/hydraulic components, especially quick-connect couplings.

The new CNC turning center at this 25-person job shop is an Emco Maier Emcoturn 345-II, equipped with a Siemens Sinumerik 810D and ShopTurn software, specially designed for the job shop environment to achieve substantial print-to-part time reduction. According to CEJN CNC operator, Lee Simons, that’s exactly the scenario his shop is seeing, recording a 15-percent improvement since the machine went into production.

"The overall control is easy to maneuver to find the information you need most, such as tool data, machine parameters, programs and so on," Mr. Simons says. "I had almost 15 years running another brand of machine tools before I started using the Siemens CNC with ShopTurn, and I find this setup very user-friendly. I can program directly from the print dimensions with far less angle, contour and trig calculations needed. The machine movements are determined automatically, in G code and M code. Therefore, part programs can be generated much faster than with conventional line programming.

"Editing part programs is much faster because it’s so much easier to find what you need to edit, right on the screen," he continues. "By editing finish paths, the roughing is auto-generated—another time saver. The part program simulation function on ShopTurn is graphic and easy to use, too. Overall, I was surprised and very pleased." Mr. Simons also noted the SinuTrain, Siemens training software, can be run on any PC, and it becomes a helpful tool for training and for quoting part times as well as offline programming for the machine tool.

ShopTurn, with a compact flash card for storage, transmission and processing of part programs, provides end-users with advanced programming support that enables them to increase efficiency and productivity with convenient operation, programming and handling. Additionally, Profinet, the standard industrial Ethernet, and Profibus protocols are used for machine tool communication. Essentially, ShopTurn enables the operator with little or no G-code experience to have the part program up and running in less time because of the teach-in function on the machine tool’s CNC. Using plain language commands and graphical user interface, the operator can see the part’s progression at each stage of the cutting cycle. In this case, the CEJN operator can visualize the barstock as it indexes through the cutting stages. The CNC on this turning center is also used to control the bar feeder mechanism.

Currently, a simple DNC server is used to upload and download part programs to the machine tool. The CNC onboard the turning center controls all functions of the machine, including the manipulation of a 12-position toolchanger and six driven tools. This lathe can accommodate barstock as large as 45 mm (1.77 inches).

CEJN typically runs a variety of brass, steel, stainless and aluminum stock to produce the coupling components and other items made here and sold through its nationwide network of distributors to the automotive aftermarket and other end-users.

The company also sells its products to the OEM, including to manufacturers of performance-critical equipment such as high pressure hydraulic rescue tools and breathing air apparatus. The company also serves the mobile construction, forestry and utility service equipment industries with innovative coupling and threadless connector designs. In the manufacturing sector, CEJN offers products to makers of gaseous spring actuators, hydraulic bolt tensioners and torque wrenches, plus other fluid power equipment OEMs.

At the Gurnee facility, the company also produces short runs of high pressure hose assemblies of as much as 36,250 psi. This shop houses manual lathes, crimping machinery, ultra-high pressure hose test benches, marking equipment and advanced leak testing devices, in addition to the CNC lathe.

Commenting on the flexibility of the Emcoturn turning center, Mr. Simons says the tool data is easily stored and retrievable when needed. Commonly used tool data can be reinserted for new programs as well. He especially cited the software’s simulation feature as key, because it allows a clear view of the machine path. Training on the machine occurred at the builder’s location in Columbus, Ohio, including Sinumerik CNC and ShopTurn software training from Siemens.

The software also enables short setup times because of the operator’s prompts to determine workpiece zero points and tool lengths. A CAD reader provided with the system allows importing of DXF files, thus further reducing the amount of time it takes to create the program offline as well as the first part.

When a software and CNC package works as well as this one has at CEJN, only positive results can occur: In this case, it was better production rates, which save money for the company in the long run.