e-DNC Hub Brings Any-to-Any Communication to MFD
By Kelley Ramsey
The Mechanical Fabrication Department (MFD)—also known as
"the Muscle of SLAC"—faces the ongoing challenge of keeping current with
new manufacturing techniques while continuing to use existing mills and
lathes. The solution? A 16-port serial hub was installed to allow any
workstation in the shop to send a CAD/CAM part program to any computer
numerical control (CNC) machine tool.
Cliff Caston (MFD) programs a part that will be sent
through the Greco system to the tree mill (in the background) for
manufacturing (Photo by Kelley Ramsey)
The new system incorporates a Greco e-DNC (Direct Numeric
Control) communications hub running embedded Windows XP. The hub connects
to PC workstations on the LAN via TCP-IP, and then sends tool path data
directly to each machine through RS-232 cabling. Each machine is outfitted
with a Greco Mini-File, bringing enhanced CNC technology to the
traditional mills and lathes.
MFD currently has four workstations running computer-aided
manufacturing applications such as Solid Edge, TekSoft Pro-CAM and EDS
Unigraphics. The advantage of having the ability for any workstation to
communicate with any machine is the seamless integration of manufacturing
processes, moving toward a paperless shop environment.
Light Fab will always be able to take a sketch and create
the part program, but by working directly from CAD models provided by
designers, engineers or physicists, the shop can continue to turn out
state-of-the art fabricated parts quickly and accurately.
For more information on the Mechanical Fabrication
The Stanford Linear Accelerator Center is
managed by Stanford University for the
US Department of Energy
Friday November 15, 2002 by