Hybrid Machine, Standard CNC

As you might have seen at the last IMTS, when that technology was introduced to the market, running a lathe and a robot on the same CNC was already possible, without the need for a secondary PLC and [unique" robot language commands.

This goes to the next level, as additive and subtractive technologies are joined on the same machine.And it gets better.

Parts made from titanium, stainless steel, or disparate powdered metals are being built up, joined, machined, or otherwise processed on these machines – today. Driven gears, for example, are now laser welded from machined and stamped components into a single assembly.

The CNC, when controlling these radically different machine operations, utilizes a modified set of code but not a different language, as was necessary previously with robotic integration. Because advanced CNC units carry a secondary channel, the commands can easily be set up there, if not incorporated into the main channel. It all depends on the complexity of the motion and total number of parameters being controlled. The simultaneous control and monitoring of laser metal deposition and 5-axis milling functions actually presents little challenge to high-end CNCs on the market today.

I cannot begin to know where things are headed from here, but the next decade will surely be an exciting and game-changing time in the machine tool and fabrication world. Just remember, the CNC is in control.

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