One single slotter for every type of teeth
One of the newest innovative and most technically advanced machines made by CLC is the knife slotter model CLC 200-SZ with electronic guidance. The particularity of this universal machine used to make teeth with a maximum diameter of 250 mm and a useful length of 100 mm is due to the adoption of a high precision and entirely electronic guidance system, rather than the traditional mechanical guide slide.
"Having replaced the expensive mechanical slide with a rod and crank mechanism that is directly controlled by CNC also enables us to process helical teeth with great flexibility and lower operating costs. Indeed, customers no longer need mechanical slides that are customized for every type of teeth that need to be achieved. This makes it possible to eliminate the significant cost of the slide itself, but also the few hours needed to assemble and reassemble it every time the type of processing changes. The electronic controlled guide present on our knife slotter is universal. With the simple guided parameter settings on the screen of the CNC, the operator can change the type of process almost instantaneously. All, however, without suffering any loss of overall productivity. The processing speed of the machine, which reaches 750 knife strokes a minute for the helical gears, is almost as fast as the one of the fastest specialized and single use machines. Our CLC 200-SZ is therefore a truly universal machine, especially perfect for the needs of third parties who frequently have to change the type of production. It can indeed teeth gears, shafts, bars, cones or helical elements and with multiple phase cuts amongst them. It can be equipped with our vast range of equipment and optional accessories, such as the electronic phase setter, the deburring tool, the double-headed tool and many more".
The electronic control system is based on the most modern functions present on the FANUC CNC; in this case, the model 31iB can be combined to an anthropomorphic robot for the automatic loading and unloading, typically the model M-710iC/50. "The fact that CNC and robots "speak the same language" offers two clear advantages", comments Cervi. "On one hand, it makes it easier for manufacturers to interface with the two control systems. For the end customer, however, it allows him to use either the control panel of the CNC or the one of the robot to interact with the machine. This is a great and practical advantage, especially when the structure of the machine prevents the comfortable viewing of the entire work area."
Advanced technology and joint development
A machine like the knife slotter CLC 200-SZ is a concentration of technologies that results from the 30 years of experience the manufacturer has acquired in the gearing sector; with the huge amount of research and development in terms of numerical controllers done by this main worldwide manufacturer.
In order to optimize the electronic control system of the CLC 200-SZ slotter, the designers of this company from the Emilia Romagna region closely worked with the technicians of FANUC's Italian branch; that involved Japanese research labs and development specialists to define some of the specific functions needed to achieve maximum performance with regards to the precision of the teeth profiles.
The technological heart of FANUC's solution is the combination between the execution of a high speed profile via the AICC II function and the learning function through which the CNC 31iB makes high speed profiles aimed to compensate for any profile residual error using artificial intelligence algorithms developed and owned by FANUC. Then, high performance and speed axis control cards were used and all the typical functions already present on FANUC's CNCs to manage the gear-cutters, such as EGB (Electronic Gearbox) and Flexible Synchronous Control to synchronize the various axes amongst themselves.
Furthermore, the CLC designers, in collaboration with the local FANUC structure, have implemented a graphical interface for the Panel i display that allows operators to easily program the machine and to make the typical profiles of the electronic guide in a simple and immediate manner; of course, it would remain accessible also from the control panel of the robot via the direct connection between the two systems by exploiting the network connection via the Ethernet/IP protocol.
Cervi concludes: "Our appreciation for the way FANUC works goes way back thanks to the direct relationship we have established and to its availability, which ensures speedy solutions for our specific needs. It's a bit as if we all worked for the same company and we approach our customers in the same way. Indeed, they appreciate this and have demonstrated their level of satisfaction by coming back to pick our solutions every time there is an opportunity to do so."