As machine tools grow in capability, productivity and accuracy, the CNC (computer numerical control) has evolved into an increasing role as an enabler of customer value. At Florence, Ky.'s Mazak Corp., Brian Papke, president, appreciates that "it is the evolving combination of the control with the machine tool that has played a big role in our growth.
"In order to improve productivity, the machine, the control and the tooling all have to be matched together," Papke adds. He says those relationships originated in 1981 with the introduction of the Mazatrol CNC and have since grown stronger as more of the machine's performance depends on CNC advances.
To understand the increased performance levels of Mazak machine tools, consider the design advances represented by the current sixth-generation Matrix control:
Papke says the CPU power increases in each generation of the Matrix impact more than processing speed and accuracy of the machine tool. "Each upgrade resulted in a growing ability to perform more operations simultaneously instead of sequentially. "Now, for example, tool and pallet changes can be done simultaneously."
Ultimately, the increase in performance, productivity and accuracy results in capabilities such as multi-tasking aiding decisions to retain manufacturing in the U.S., adds Papke.
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