The recent advent of the Apple iPod, iPad and iPhone has caused the touchscreen interface usage to explode and become the standard in the industry while now moving into other types of HMI systems in Personal Information Devices . Recently Microsoft Windows 8 has integrated the touchscreen as an enhancement to the PC interface. While some devices do not necessarily benefit from a touchscreen interface, our testing has shown the CNC is a perfect application for the operator. Of course, it is not just the touchscreen that makes a great product, it also requires the best software. Consider the smartphone market, while most have a touchscreen, not all of them are as popular as the iPhone, because of Apple’s software. In other words, adding a touchscreen to poor software does not change that fact that it is still poor software.
When using the new NXGEN touch system, we are confident you will be impressed with the ease of navigation and speed of using it. This is not just the usual claim, but supported by the fact when earlier this year we demonstrated our control system retrofitted on a newly remanufactured VMC 4020. The control was demonstrated to over 40 programers, machine operators, servicemen and owners of Fadal machines. Everyone was absolutely thrilled and excited to see what we demonstrated.
At the completion of one demo, an owner was asked, “How long would it take you to train your Legacy operators with our new control?” He replied, “About 10 or 15 minutes“. Another company sent four of their manufacturing engineers and they spent six hours going over every aspect of the control. We ran one of their production parts to verify they would get the performance increase they were seeking and in the end, they were very pleased. They now want 43 retrofit systems as soon as they can get them… That tells it all!
Legacy Function Keys
Throughout time the keys have remained the same on all Legacy controls. Now with the NXGEN control, we provide the same layout and functionality as Legacy but with visual enhancements that aid the operator.
Colors – shows status as active or available: Red signifies feature unavailable, Green is active, Blue is not active.
Button Text – beside colors, we change the key’s text to also provide more feedback. For example, when pressing the COOLANT key it also reads ON or OFF – no more leaving the coolant pump on unknowingly.
About The One-Touch Functions
When beginning the project, we researched and carefully considered the industry accepted options for HMI. We believe the touchscreen design offers the most long term flexibility on the front end and the back end. The many One-Touch features are fast, easy to use and intuitive. The design greatly simplifies navigation flow and eliminates the need for a BACK button. With the NXGEN system, you are always moving forward with just one touch! This ease of navigation is achieved by eliminating the usual “drilling down” technique commonly used in old style menu systems and older soft-key designs. We have eliminated the “confusion and lost in menus” feeling with our new touchscreen interface.
Below is a brief sample showing how easy the NXGEN touchscreen operates.
Using LOAD PROGRAM
Touch the Load Program key and the previously loaded file names are displayed in the Option keys on the right, for easy selection of the last eight programs loaded. Select the desired program and it is loaded into memory.
If your program is not displayed in the options, then touch the Load Program key again to open a standard Windows file selection menu allowing familiar navigation of all storage devices such as Hard Drives, USB ports, etc.
Using DRY RUN
Touching Dry Run displays the Options. Touch GRAPHIC DRY RUN and the key turns green, showing as active. Once active, simply press the AUTO key to watch the Solid Modeling simulate machining the part, as fast as possible.
With all the touchscreen functions, selecting an unavailable feature causes the key to turn red and blink making it very intuitive to operate.
To Dry Run while machining a part, after selecting DRY RUN (as shown above), simply touch any of the other options, the key will turn green showing active.
For Example, touch FEED OVERRIDE and it will turn green. Select a desired dry run feed rate, then touch RAPID OVERRIDE to select desired rapid speed. The screen then indicates your selections as below.
Notice how the – ACTIVE – LEDs on the right shows DRY RUN as active and also the FEED indicator shows 75 IPM in green (normally white), indicating the feed rate override is in effect and the RAPID OVERRIDE is set to 300 IPM. Simply touch the AUTO key to begin machining with the current dry run settings.
NXGEN Touch Screen Design Benefits
- Operator familiar interface – modern
- Future software upgrades can easily add more feature screens and touch keys – eliminates obsolescence
- Easier foreign language support – eliminates learning cryptic symbols
- Color-coded feedback for various control states (Spindle On, Coolant On, Jog, and more)
- Acts as a mouse for other Windows applications