Today at the ITS office in California we continued the comparison, this time running the same program from the new VF-3 on the newly retrofitted Fadal 4020. Both machines were running the rapid speed at 1000 IPM.
The goal was for us to meet or beat the VF-3 using the High-Speed Machining option.
A total of four engineers representing the maintenance and programming departments showed up at 9:00 am in the morning and finished around 3:00 pm. The goal was to inspect the new control, try it out and see it run their program so they could compare their base-line cycle times.
During the inspection they went over virtually every aspect of the control and were very thorough. Each one took turns expressing their departments concerns. It was like a tag-team session of questioning that went on and on.
They currently have over 30 Fadal Legacy machines and are looking to improve production by seeing what today’s technology provides. By either upgrading the existing Fadal machines or possibly begin replacing them with newer machines. They said it’s not just the cost of replacing the machines, the total cost and impact of transitioning all the various production departments must be part of the equation. One important desire was having an Open Architecture as opposed to the usual Closed System. They service their own machines and with the Legacy controls they were used to the “Openness” of the controls.
The maintenance department was satisfied after doing the hardware inspection. We then focused on the operation of the pendant and new touchscreen interface. Some of them were familiar with the operation of Fadal Legacy controls so it was a good test for operator transition to the new control. After showing the compatibility we demonstrated many of the new features then stood back and let them take over. It was a good testament of the NXGENs compatibility with all aspects.
We then moved on to running the cycle test program. We loaded the program and began running the machine. At this point the interesting thing was that we stood back and they jumped in to run the tests.
The current VF-3 part time was 4 minutes 35 seconds (4:35)
With their current Legacy Fadal machines, the part time was 5:33 minutes. It was then discovered the VF-3 program was not exactly the same as the Legacy programs. We saw that the program path in the VF-3 employed a more efficient way to change direction and allowed for faster feed rates. Applying that technique to the Legacy machines would also greatly reduce the part time.
The NXGEN comparison was using the same exact program as the Haas machine so we have a valid time comparison.
While running the NXGEN tests, we initially showed how our high speed features could easily be adjusted to obtain the desired results. Then we stood back and let them runs the tests.
The Feedforward adjustments are easily used to accommodate the different characteristics of a machine; the less mass, the more aggressive the control can be and achieve lower cycle time without sacrificing the surface integrity or exceeding the machines capability.
The result part time achieved was well under 4 minutes. The servo performance was noticeably more precise due to the zero following error of the NXGEN servo system.
We completed the demo around 3:00 pm, after 6 hrs they were very happy with everything they had seen. After a couple of days they contacted us and now want to retrofit a NXGEN control to one of their Fadals currently being rebuilt.