5-Axis Auto Tuning System Replaces Manual Process in CNC Machines

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Okuma America Corporation’s five-axis auto-tuning system replaces the manual tuning process typically used to maintain motion accuracy in the CNC machining process. Manual tuning, a typical practice in many machine shops, can take 5 hours or more to perform, resulting in costly downtime. The system performs measurements and compensation in real-time and allows for adjustments to be made in 10 minutes, minimizing downtime and enabling higher levels of accuracy. Auto tuning is currently available as an option on a variety of new Okuma five-axis machines, including the MU-V series, and is the fourth addition to Okuma’s “Intelligent Technologies” suite of performance enhancing functionalities.

When machining with a five-axis CNC machine tool, it’s common for kinematic errors to affect the quality of the finished part. Commissioning and general wear and tear can take a toll on the kinematic chain and result in potential quality issues. Machines also come out of level over time, and even the smallest bumps can cause geometric errors. When these issues arise, it’s common for machine operators to perform an on-site kinematic tuning to compensate for geometric errors. Done manually, this is a painstaking process involving complex mathematical calculations and manual data entry, and is prone to some degree of human error. These tasks can take up to 5 hours or more, and require an experienced technician.

With the five-axis auto tuning system, these adjustments can be performed in approximately 10 minutes, depending on machine size. In addition to time savings, the system does not require a high level of skill to operate. The turning system measures the machine and automatically compensates as many as 13 geometric errors, including volumetric accuracy. This gives the end-user the ability to check and correct the machine anytime, ensuring accuracy and productivity, and minimizing downtime.