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.
By Control Engineering Staff
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.
,” 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: “
Case Study Database
Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Plant Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.
These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.
Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.
2012 Salary Survey
In a year when manufacturing continued to lead the economic rebound, it makes sense that plant manager bonuses rebounded. Plant Engineering’s annual Salary Survey shows both wages and bonuses rose in 2012 after a retreat the year before.
Average salary across all job titles for plant floor management rose 3.5% to $95,446, and bonus compensation jumped to $15,162, a 4.2% increase from the 2010 level and double the 2011 total, which showed a sharp drop in bonus.