Our goal is to provide the service technician with as many useful tools they require to correctly diagnose a problem. Good hardware designs, components and manufacturing relieve the need for service. However when a problem does occur, being able to quickly and accurately diagnose the problem is the key to success.
For example, if you have a problem with a feed pot, we provide the tools to easily and quickly read the pot value helping you to pinpoint the real problem and therefore avoid the time and cost of replacing the wrong component.
The importance of good service tools has been an ongoing priority even since the introduction of the Legacy. As technology has improved, we are now able to provide even more service tools.
Our attitude is “Tell us what you need, and we’ll do our best to provide it.”
The following is a list of just a few of the hardware improvements including new and better tools.
The NXGEN control uses the same Brushless Motor/Amplifiers, Spindle Motor/Drive, Chiller, Scales and wiring. The only different components are the Pendant, Motherboard, Card Cage and Power Supply.
Card Cage — Proven Design
One of the successes of the Legacy’s ease of service is the original card cage design because it simplifies diagnosis and board replacement. Now we have taken it to a higher level of both performance and reliability.
For example, with the Legacy CNC, there were eleven cards in the card cage. With the NXGEN control, there are only three cards. The reliability benefit is two fold:
- Reducing the board-count greatly simplifies the system architecture.
- Few components means fewer mechanical bus edge-connectors, which significantly improves reliability.
Isolated Control Power and Ground
Our new design approach completely isolates the control from the machines power and earth ground.
The goal in doing this is to eliminate grounding issues that can affect the CNC components. Power problems plague many machine shops. Usually unknown and very difficult to detect electrical problems such as ground loops, noise, or voltage spikes passing through the CNC board also can cause premature failure and create dependability issues.
Due to lack of truly understanding power & ground, many other control builders are still using grounding rods at the machine to cover up a design flaw. When commonly, the control is actually being affected by other devices in the building, causing various problems in their building system.
We have work very closely with Baldor Electric to develop our isolated power system. Baldor doesn’t just make motors, they are also some of the top engineers in High Power Generation Systems.
With our new isolated power design, you’ll never need to install a grounding rod because of “unknown” grounding problems, no matter where the machine is going to be installed.
Windows Embedded System
The Windows system is not your familiar PC edition of Windows. Our Control runs an Embedded Standard edition of Windows customized for the NXGEN system. With less features then Profession or Home edition, Embedded is the most stable version of Windows available. You’ll never need to reinstall any software or register licenses over the phone. The modular design of Embedded means that the OS is serviced just like other machine components. In the event of a failure, the serviceman simply removes the SSD card and replace it with another one; similar to the Legacy program module. Backup files are then copied to the new SSD card, and machine uptime is maintained.
The NXGEN program software can be updated using a flash memory stick and is very simple to do. Keeping your control system updated as more features become available.
Our goal is that you do not need to be a Windows IT professional to service the control!
Multi Check Safety System (MCSS)
With the NXGEN CNC we have designed safety arbitration hardware that is independent from the CNC system hardware, software and the Windows Operating System.
Historically, Windows based controllers have been subject to the instability of previous operating system software. With Windows 7 the operating system has been greatly improved. We have taken steps to also help ensure the system will not be subject to illogical or system lockups relating to the problems of the past.
The critical control signal outputs must first pass through the arbitration board to verify logical states before allowing the signal to proceed.
While the spindle is rotating, the Tool In/Out, the Orientation Arm and the Tool Changer signals are all locked out by the MCSS, regardless of the control signal output.
For example, before the Tool Changer can operate, the spindle must not be rotating AND the spindle must be orientated. Also, the tool changer will stop if any of these states change while the tool changer is in action.
Enhanced Spindle Chiller Control
You have more control over the operation of the chiller. In the parameter setting (SETP) you can set the ON and OFF temperture values and we added a third parameter that specifies the maximum spindle temperature before ESTOP. There is a new command (CHIL) that displays the current temperature sensor voltage and settings, plus it allows you to manually cycle the chiller system.
With the Legacy, the machine kept running regardless of the spindle temperature which could allow a spindle failure if any of the chiller components fail.
We’ve seen spindles replaced without knowing that one of the chiller components has failed (pump/coolant/chiller) and after replacing, the new spindle also fails. The new chiller control system now helps to avoid spindle temperature failures all together by shutting down before the spindle failure.
New Axis Amplifiers
While the NXGEN control is designed to use the Legacy brushless motors and amplifiers. We have worked closely with Varedan Technologies to engineer and develop a brushless (and brush) amplifier with maximum performance and reliability.
One new feature is with our new Motor Short Protection, it provides additional protection when a motor or wiring becomes shorted. With other amplifiers, a motor short typically destroys the output devices or melts circuit board traces, permanently damaging unprotected amplifiers.
These new amplifiers are even backwards compatible with your older Fadal model machines.
Our goal is to provide amplifiers that not only performs better but also lasts longer!
Software Related Tools
With NXGEN Remote Support it’s just like we are standing right in front of your machine! Yes, from our office, we can do everything just as if we are there. More…
Motion Board Diagnostic Window
Displays axis information directly from the motion control board and allows commands to be sent directly to the motion control board. Used for factory direct diagnostics features for low level trouble shooting. This window can be activated anytime while the control is on.
The IO LED window displays all digital inputs and outputs. Now the serviceman can toggle the outputs manually to operate a specific relay and check signal inputs. This window can be activated anytime while the control is on.
Displays many of the internal activity such as axis encoder data, auxiliary encoder data and analog output voltages, commanded velocity and actual velocity. Also available is the actual voltage output of the Feed and Spindle pots.
Having this important data is another tool that greatly helps the serviceman quickly determine what is or is not working.
Advance Diagnostic Trace
To aid in diagnosing the control logic we’ve added background logic trace recording. This feature can be easily turned on/off with the touch of a service button or an M code can be added to the program. This is a very detailed capture of all control logic that is stored in a simple text file that can then be analyzed allowing exact determination of a problem with the intervention of the user.
Simplified Servo Tuning
We have greatly simplified the amplifier tuning and improved the accuracy at the same time. The new “AMPS” command automatically calculates the required signal pot value depending on rapid speed and ball screw ratio in SETP. During the adjustment, it actually tells you which way to rotate the Signal Pot and when to stop. Now adjusting the COMP, BAL and SIG pots are very easy and fast.
The SETP command is used for easy parameter modifications such as ramp setting, rapid speed, ball screw pitch and encoder feedback count. Now we provide complete access to many machine specific adjustments giving you more flexibility. The parameters are stored in an editable text file that can be saved on a flash drive for backup or easily moved to other machines.
A running record is stored with date, time and error/fault messages. Now we record and you can review all messages dating back to when the machine was installed. The log is designed so the operator can email it for service review before a service call is made.
Ball Screw Pitch Error Compensation
The screw compensation is greatly simplified! The compensation values are easily entered and adjusted. Instead of 1″ increments they can be at any distance apart. The axis compensation data is stored in one simple text file that can be saved to a flash drive and/or printed out for future use.
Tool Changer Diagnose
Turning on the TC Diagnose feature causes the tool changer to go into a Single Step mode which waits after each action during the tool change. Press the start key and the spindle will orient and wait, press Start again and the TC slide will come in and wait, press Start again and the tool draw-bar comes down… etc
A terrific tool when servicing the tool changer.
Tool Changer Load/Unload
We have also added more useful TC commands for managing the turret:
TC, 1 to Orient, TC In, Z Head Up And Wait
TC, 2 to Orient, TC Moves Back
TC, 3 to Orient, Z Head Up First, TC In And Wait
TC, 4 to Retract TC using TCSLD Override
TC, 5 to Set Tool And Turret Number
Other Service Tools
- Service Lockout — Prevent service modification with password protection
- Power On Service Reminders — Generate scheduled maintenance prompts
- System Restart — “Hot Restart” or “Revert to Power On”
- Following Error Display — Correction ON/OFF
- One Touch Spindle Functions — Orient/Unlock, Spindle Forward, Spindle Reverse
- One Touch Backlash — Adjust in Command Mode or while in JOG (faster)