Microprocessors make CNC machines faster, smarter

CNC technology follows mass-market computing trends, so advances in general-purpose computing engines make more capable controllers available for CNC systems. Link to tutorial.


Oak Brook, IL — That general-purpose-computing needs drive microprocessor trends is a fact of life. Simple semiconductor-fabrication economics makes mass-marketable designs very inexpensive, while making designs aimed at smaller market segments, such as CNC, cost prohibitive. The good news is that rapid development of advanced computer chips for consumer products provides CNC machine developers with a steady supply of high-performing control processors at relatively low prices. The bad news is that sometimes there is a disconnect between what CNC machine technology needs and what general-purpose computing provides.

Serial or parallel processing?

Click here for a wider view of this image and the CNC microprocessor topic.

Tutorial: Microprocessor advances translate into more CNC machine capability

,” a newly published online tutorial article (www.controleng.com/article/CA6634377.html) by Control Engineering , explores how semiconductor device advances affect CNC controller trends. The article looks at how semiconductor trends, including multicore processors, system on chip technology, Flash memory, and reduced power dissipation, dovetail with CNC controller needs.
“Overall, positives outweigh negatives,” says C.G.Masi for Control Engineering . “Following the path of semiconductor device advances provides CNC controllers with capabilities only dreamed of before. Where CNC needs do not align well with consumer electronics trends, OEMs developing new CNC products have to find work-arounds to make the available parts do CNC jobs adequately.”
An example is in the area of non-volatile solid-state disks (SSDs). Mobile consumer devices have a short life span, so limitations on how many times a Flash memory cell can be rewritten are not a problem there. For CNC, however, limited write-erase cycles is a major problem. In CNC applications, system developers want to keep a real-time record of the entire machine’s current state as a safety feature in case of unexpected system shutdown, such as during a power failure. That means updating the SSD data in real time, which can rapidly exhaust Flash memory cells.
Learn more about this rapidly developing technology area here: “

Microprocessor advances translate into more CNC machine capability

Control Engineering News Desk
Register here select your choice of automation eNewsletters free .

No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Sister act: Building on their father's legacy, a new generation moves Bales Metal Surface Solutions forward; Meet the 2015 Engineering Leaders Under 40
2015 Mid-Year Report: Manufacturing's newest tool: In a digital age, digits will play a key role in the plant of the future; Ethernet certification; Mitigate harmonics; World class maintenance
2015 Lubrication Guide: Green and gold in lubrication: Environmentally friendly fluids and sealing systems offer a new perspective
Drilling for Big Data: Managing the flow of information; Big data drilldown series: Challenge and opportunity; OT to IT: Creating a circle of improvement; Industry loses best workers, again
Pipeline vulnerabilities? Securing hydrocarbon transit; Predictive analytics hit the mainstream; Dirty pipelines decrease flow, production—pig your line; Ensuring pipeline physical and cyber security
Cyber security attack: The threat is real; Hacking O&G control systems: Understanding the cyber risk; The active cyber defense cycle
Designing positive-energy buildings; Ensuring power quality; Complying with NFPA 110; Minimizing arc flash hazards
Building high availability into industrial computers; Of key metrics and myth busting; The truth about five common VFD myths
New industrial buildings: Greener, cleaner, leaner; New building designs for industry; Take a new look at absorption cooling; Offshored jobs start to come back

Annual Salary Survey

After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.

The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.

Read more: 2014 Salary Survey: Confidence rises amid the challenges

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.