"Revolution" is not only the brand of a vertical machining center (VMC) from GBI Cincinnati Inc., but a description of the productivity its control makes possible. The control is available for retrofitting. According to the company's president, Kevin V. G. Bevan, with the new control, developed by Miceli Technologies Inc. (MTI), the Revolution CV4020 is proceeding to stretch GBI's value proposition.
Consider the VMC's new capabilities:
- With a minimum processing power of 50,000 blocks per second (BPS) in an 8-axis application, the Revolution CV4020 with the MTI constant velocity control is described as being 25 times more efficient in data handling when performing in a 3-D contouring environment.
- Enabled by the MTI control, the VMC will process a part complete in half the cycle time, without any alteration of a customer's current part program, because the machine operates at a constant velocity. "The more complex the geometry, the greater the performance gain," adds Carlo Miceli, MTI's president.
- In addition, the control's data handling efficiency delivers significant cycle time reductions to the Revolution's operation. For example, unlike conventional machine tools, the Revolution doesn't undergo repeated acceleration and deceleration during the cutting process. The result: improved tool life, superior part finish, less wear on drives and motors, plus major extension of the life of the machine tool.
According to GBI's Rich Ormrod, the MTI CV control equipment on the Revolution has a minimum block-processing speed of 50,000 BPS in 8-axis simultaneous movement versus the industry average of 600-2000 BPS in 3-axis applications. "The Revolution's control utilizes 80 internal high speed buffers that continuously shuffle programming data through the proprietary software." Adds Miceli, "Our ability to read data coming from encoders or scales is 4 million encoder counts per second."
Miceli says speed and cycle time reductions lie at the heart of the control's value proposition. "In addition to reducing manufacturing costs, the control shortcuts time-to-market considerations."
Bevan says GBI Cincinnati has a two-level strategy for MTI's constant velocity control. "In addition to using it as the standard control on the Revolution VMCs, GBI Cincinnati is also preparing retrofit kits for the popular brands of installed machine tools." He says kits speed the retrofit process. "For example, our kit for Fadal machine tools enables completion in three days or less. Components replaced during retrofitting of controls include motors, drives, some of the cabling and some of the control I/O."
Early retrofits of the control's first generation design continue to generate new sales interest. Bevan says about 80 of MTI's first generation control design found their way into the field. "Customers needing additional capacity are finding that retrofitting existing machines to be the fast, low-cost means of growing capacity. He speculates that retrofitting's advantages in cost and productivity will become even more attractive during a contracting economy. "Often customers with good solid 'iron' make the happy discovery that replacing the control is the only updating required to double the machine's original productivity."