Deciphering CodeClick image to enlargeby Todd Drane

What's best, conversational or G-code programming?


Many have heard of CNC conversational programming systems, but they may not understand the role conversational programming can or should play in a manufacturing environment.

Conversational programming systems are exactly that, conversational. The programmer tells the system what he wants to do by accessing a hot key or soft key, and then the conversational programming system via a graphic assist screen will prompt the operator through entering the variables necessary to execute the desired function. In most cases, the graphic screen is accompanied by the actual command of the CNC telling the programmer what to enter.

This type of programming requires no prior G-code experience, just the ability to read a blueprint and enter the variables when told to do so by the CNC.

The image at the bottom right demonstrates the screen shown after an operator has chosen the circular pocket hot key on the CNC keyboard. You have a graphical example on the left side; on the right and the bottom variables are entered directly off the blueprint. At the very bottom, the CNC tells the programmer what the variable is he needs to input based on the variable window the programmer is in, which is marked in red. In the case demonstrated in the image, the programmer is being asked to enter in the Z axes safety plane coordinates. Even variables such as spindle direction are chosen via a visual choice as opposed to a G, M or S code. When the operation is completed, the programmer presses the enter key and the operation is automatically saved to the program. Roughing and finishing pass variables are entered on the same page as well as spindle and tooling information. Having all variables necessary to program a complex operation on a single page simplifies the entire programming process.

Is a conversational system right for your manufacturing environment? It depends on if you frequently create programs on the shop floor. If you do, incorporate a conversational system, even if your programmers are fluid G-code programmers. Conversational will speed up the process and even assist in simplifying the editing/modifying stage of your program creation. When you recall a cycle to edit, it pulls up the entire cycle including the graphic assist screen allowing you to easily and accurately administer any program corrections. Most G-code programmers, who may be hesitant to utilize conversational code, fall in love with the programming system after just an hour or two of use. They quickly learn it is geared for program creation speed and simplicity, and makes life easier and simpler for programmers.

Conversational programming systems provide the ability to insert or mix and match G-code with conversational code. A key element to take into consideration is that a conversational programming system does not forget; it will always ask you the spindle speed, spindle direction, feedrate, tool and other general functions, whereas with G-code, it is often up to the programmer's memory to insure the appropriate variables are entered.

Many conversational systems incorporate an on-board CAD/CAM system that allows for simple and even complex profiles to be created right at the CNC keyboard. These can be inserted directly into the program, utilized within a canned cycle or saved as a frequently utilized subroutine.

Is conversational programming right for you? If you answered yes to the shop floor programming question, then the answer is probably yes to conversational code. SMT

Todd Drane is marketing manager for Fagor Automation, Chicago, IL, and Toronto, ON.


Manufacturing group forms Jim Flaherty bursary

Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters (CME) has unveiled the Jim Flaherty bursary for students enrolled in manufacturing programs at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT)

Will reshoring offshore again?

India has a problem and it's looking at manufacturing to fix it. The country's services sector, which has driven economic growth in that country for years, is shrinking and some are proposing India refocus its efforts on manufacturing

Milling's many paths

"Machining centres are, by definition, milling machines, so they inherently have milling capabilities," says Scott Rathburn, marketing product manager with Haas Automation.

No setup or downtime for smart factories

by Andrei Petrilin, Iscar technical manager

Manufacturing's push towards comprehensive digitizing will impact almost all stages: product design, process planning, machining, assembly and logistics. The driving force behind the changes is a series of technological breakthroughs related to Industry 4.0.

This watch is made from melted down guns

The Humanium Project uses metal from melted guns to make watches - and to bring attention to the global problem of armed violence.

2.9% unexpected jump in manufacturing sales

Canadian manufacturing sales jumped an "stronger-than-expected" 2.9 per cent in March, according to the latest figures from Statistics Canada and an RBC Economics report. Market expectations were for a 1.0 per cent increase.

Boost profits & productivity with R&D

by Andrew Milivojevich 

Improvements in production equipment can fall under SR&ED claims

Medical Manufacturing Report: In Good Condition

by Noelle Stapinsky

A national focus on growing Canada’s medical technology manufacturing industry could mean big opportunities for supply chain demand

Common line cutting

by Sylvain Robidoux

Implement common line cutting/nesting to improve fabricating efficiencies

Manufacturing: Enough is Enough

The world is tired of the endless negative news about manufacturing and despite the ongoing economic upheaval in Europe, the global economy is saying "enough is enough and it’s time to move on.”

Landing the orders

The Problem: Diversify beyond landing gears to withstand market volatility

The Solution: 5 axis VMC and multi-tasking machines

Ontario landing gear manufacturer readies for competition with $1 M+ machinery investments


Successful hard milling

by Charles Colonair

Hard milling materials up to 66 HRC requires the right techniques

Going 3D


by Mary Scianna

Ontario firm sets growth sites on additive manufacturing

When Tharwat Fouad decided to expand his manufacturing business in 2012, he investigated many options before finally setting his sites on additive manufacturing.

Ten of the world’s top construction megaprojects

A number of truly impressive construction megaprojects are nearing completion or have recently been finished around the world.

Stay In Touch

twitter facebook linkedIn