Programming Applications and Their Role in CNC Cutting Machines

When it comes to the process of choosing CNC cutting machines, we can say that it is so much more challenging today compared to how it was 10 years ago. Those were the days when there were just fewer systems available, making them a bit more expensive. 

In the year 2000, a good number of progressive manufacturers were able to develop a low-cost system of CNC plasma cutters that are capable of running off of a computer. 

Software and hardware developers made a significant amount of contributions with affordable, new and easy-to-use products. By 2004, it felt like a chore and a challenge for any first-time buyer to figure out on his own the increasingly wide spectrum of new models and prices on the market.

Knowing exactly what your available options are in as far as the different CNC plasma cutters there are for your picking, and what they could actually deliver will help you in making the right decision and investment. 

CNC cutting machines earned its reputation as a reliable alternative to traditional cutting methods but that would not have been possible without the programming applications that are used to run them. 

CNC plasma machining is a process of cutting metal or different kinds of steel with varying level of thickness with the use of a torch. This is comprised of air or gas which you can ignite with the help of an electrical art, eventually creating plasma.  

How CNC Cutting Machines Really Work?

Once the plasma is produced, it will be blown through a nozzle. The plasma itself is scorching hot, so hot that it can melt metal away.  Originally, CNC plasma machining was developed in the 1980s but plasma welding actually came 2 decades earlier, it came about in the 1960s. 

Later on, the CNC controllers came about and were integrated into the system in the mid-1980s. Going forward to the 90s and beyond, it was further refined as a CNC technology. Generally speaking, CNC plasma can be best described as a 2 axis process.

But since CAD-CAM software technology is giving multi-axis CNC programming, post-processing today offers full mult-iaxis CNC machining solution and these are intended for the 4&5 axis CNC cutting machines

CAD-CAM technology will let a user make a pattern or draw out a 2D wireframe geometry. Another option to do so it import it in a DXF file format. The software application’s CAM side of things will provide you with simple 2 axis profile refining capabilities which can be made as a Toolpath to post to a CNC machine cutter.

The CAD-CAM software application allows for the creation of multiple profile shapes which can be machined under one program and can be carried out by simply turning on the torch and turning it off again between toolpaths or more. 

CAD-CAM application software gives the machinist a mechanism for importing shapes. He may eventually program them with the help profile toolpath cutting features.

The bulk of the work will usually take place in the post-processing part since different CNC cutting machine controller would require different G-code variation commands. 

With this case, the M-code is expected to directly take care of the CNC plasma machining. There are homemade plasma machines that can take on different post processor configurations.  

Facts to Know About Abrasive Water Jet Cutting 

What is abrasive water jet cutting? This technology has its roots in the use of water in the 1930s when it is being utilized to cut materials that are relatively soft and tender such as paper and sometimes food. Through the years, the technology involving high-pressure water was further developed and fine-tuned. Nowadays, waterjet abrasive machine is one of the most popular applied techniques in precision metal cutting.

Some of the classical applications of water jet machining include complex shapes that are being cut out from composite material sheets or large-scale metal, and this would include even the very thick ones.

Basically, this technology, abrasive water jet cutting, it involves the use of high-pressure stream of water that is mixed with abrasive. The solid stream of water is directed onto a very narrow line towards the workpiece, taking away the material by virtue of eroding it. Garnet powder is added and used as the granular abrasive, and is expected to enhance even further the high-PSI water stream’s cutting ability.

By putting the abrasive into the water through the nozzle, the waterjet can be switched between water and water-only as necessary. With this, you have the liberty to utilize the machine as water-only for positioning. As for the abrasive, it would be directed instead to the workpiece.  

Any Issues So Far with Abrasive Cutting?

Much like any other precision metal cutting strategies, there is, this method of cutting too has its own set of trade-offs. These are the sacrifices and benefits you will need to take into account first when trying to make up your mind whether you will want to have it as your cutting method of choice or not.  Here are some of the potential issues you’d likely encounter in water jet cutter.

Hazing the Surface Finish

With waterjet abrasive cutting blasting away the material at a rate of 60,000 PSI or even more, it is capable of giving any exposed material that matte finish, a characteristic which is being sought after by many. The hazing process can be done strictly for cosmetic purposes. It could be functional if it is going to have any impact on the surface finish.  

Oh Your Nibs

Here is an example analogous to the reason why it is such a struggle to have waterjet cut through a fibrous material, where there would be streams of water sliding around the object you need to cut as opposed to going through it seamlessly:

The moment the stream of waterjet gets itself to the end section of the cut path, there would be streams of water shooting up through the air, and much like anything else, the energy it centers itself on favors the path with the least amount of resistance. This is referred to as a nib, defective end cut because it is not seamless and clean.  

No Tougher than Tungsten

There are several variables that will drive the ability of waterjet abrasive machining to cut, but the level of hardness of the abrasive particles as well as the PSI are among the principals here. For instance, for food and paper-based materials, the waterjet alone can cut through them, no need for added abrasive particles in the waterjet. After all, who would like having abrasive particles left on their cheddar cheese?

But if it is necessary that you make use and add some abrasive particles to your water jet machine, it necessitates that the metal you will try to cut it with should be way softer than the abrasive. When you feed your abrasive particles into the machine’s nozzle, that automatically becomes part of the abrasive stream.

Even if you can use waterjet abrasive machining cut through tungsten, it is inevitable for this not

to present you with a certain level of difficulty. This will stem from the fact that tungsten and garnet used as abrasive particles have almost exactly the same range or level of hardness.  

To Water Jet Cutting or Not to?

When trying to cut intricate shapes out of a large sheet of material, it wouldn’t make sense why anyone would settle to waterjet abrasive cutting — or even laser cutting, oxy-fuel, or plasmas. For these methods, we will leave the discussion about them to the experts.

For applications like a 2-axis cut-off for small precision rods, tubes, and wires, other methods would often prove themselves as the better choice here.  

Fuel Tanks: What You Need to Know about Maintenance

Diesel generators are very important in terms of maintaining mission-critical facilities like data centers, hospitals, and grocery stores. But maintenance is vital in order to ensure a consistent performance. Therefore, understanding the importance of tank maintenance and how to effectively create a maintenance strategy is a must.

Diesel fuel has two main enemies: bacteria and water vapor. Since water vapor condenses in fuel tanks, this creates a condition for microbial growth. Then, this results in intense microbial contaminations of the system which leads to downtime and expensive repairs. The change in the color of the fuel is a good indicator that the fuel is contaminated. Some of the negative effects of this would include: poor detergency, reduced efficiency of combustion, elevated cloud and pour point, plugged fuel filter, and increased corrosion of the fuel components.


The Role of Fuel Tank

This microbial fuel contamination is caused by fungi and bacteria, which need water and food to thrive. And in the case of fuel tanks, diesel is their lifeblood. Since oil and water do not mix, microorganisms congregate in the fuel water interface. This is often formed at the bottom of the tank. In order to be microbe free and keep the fuel clean, water should be less available which would mean less chance for fuel bugs to survive.

Keeping the fuel tank clean will greatly help avoid contamination. The prevention method should include the control and evaluation of fuel system maintenance, fuel monitoring, fuel treatment, and fuel monitoring program (microorganisms).


Fuel Treatment

Fuel treatment is necessary to support any maintenance step when it comes to preventing the stored fuel from being contaminated with bacteria. During this stage, the fuel and water bottom should be treated to control the infection. Biomass from the system should also be removed.

Heavy growth of microbes can be treated with the use of a diesel fuel biocide after clarifying the fuel and mechanically processing the fuel, sludge, and water bottoms. This process is called fuel scrubbing and polishing.

Diesel fuel that has been contaminated needs to be removed from the tank and should be dewatered, clarified, and polished. Do this by mixing a media filtration system and fiber filter. Then, the shock level of diesel fuel biocide should be injected to the clean stream of processed fuel.

Make sure that the storage tank is well-cleaned and sterilized before reusing it. Any residue should be removed. It is also important to do a visual inspection of the interior part of the tank, as well as its pipe fittings. They should be inspected for proper function, clean lines, and corrosion.

With the help of proper care and efficient fuel tanks maintenance, you will have a trouble-free operation of your engines.

Brake Press Repair: Why You Need It?

Given the needs in today’s time, a hydraulic press brake can offer numerous capacities and even comes with some of the most advanced options. But, as they become more capable more than ever, press brake repair, as well as maintenance is needed to make sure that they are at their best performance all the time.

Doing the repair and maintenance should not be a big deal as they are often quick and simple. Here are some steps that you can apply that will be of big help and will make a great difference in the wear and tear of the system, its bending performance, and the lifespan of the press brake.


Look Around

When doing a brake press repair, make sure that you don’t miss even the smallest details. Start by taking a look on what’s around you. Then check the machine. By performing a visual inspection, you would be able to immediately see issues and address them before they become serious.


Take Precautions

The ram of the press brake should be supported at all times. This should be done before you do any type of maintenance work. Do this by placing the ram on two wooden blocks that are of equal sizes. Also, the electrical system should be locked out to you can ensure that it will not be engaged.


Check the Hydraulic Circuit

The hydraulic oil is among the most important aspects. This is even considered as the lifeblood of the bending system. Therefore, it is imperative that you keep it clean. At the same time, the reservoir is also critical. The level of the oil should be carefully checked because when it gets insufficient, it can cause erratic operations and can damage the hydraulic pump or shorten its life.


Review the Mechanical Equipment

The following are the mechanical components of your brake press machine repair: piston bolts, chain sprockets, and the guides. The following should also be checked two times in a year.

The connection between the pistons and ram need to be regularly and carefully checked. Also, all screws and bolts need to be checked to make sure that they have the right tightness. If they are loose, unscrew and replace them.


Examine the Electrical Equipment

You always need to make sure that all switches in the main panel and electrical connections in your press brake are annually checked. When doing so, do not forget to turn off the main power switch then you should lock out of the system.

However, there are also some checks that needs to be performed while the system is on. In this situation, do not miss to take all the necessary precautions. Also, be careful as you assemble and disassemble the parts of the press. All these need to be performed in a clean environment.

Just like any type of machine, maintenance is always a must. If you aim to have a safer workplace where there is no need to worry about safety, then performing repair and maintenance regularly should be done.