Many challenges associated with integration of the HMI host application and the motion / CNC controller are also solved:
- Optimizing NC program download, compilation, and execution time
- Managing G/M Code modality in order to support ‘mid-program start’
- Displaying, handling, and logging machine fault and error conditions
The competitive advantages of a Laser Microprocessing and Micromachining system are often related to application specific functionality. As the name implies, a customizable CNC HMI development platform provides value to the machine developer by allowing application specific HMI customization with relatively little effort. Simple examples of such customizations may be custom tabs, buttons, or screens.
More sophisticated customizations may involve process visualization or integration of other devices in the machine such as cameras and laser displacement sensors.
Laser Microprocessing and Micromachining systems used in applications such as flex PCB drilling and cutting, glass and polymer display processing, semiconductor processing, precision optics manufacturing, high precision additive manufacturing, and more, are often used in high-tech research and production facilities. In such as the system operator is not a CNC machinist. The Integrated Graphical HMI can directly take in a CAD file from which a laser path is defined and the corresponding machine code is then automatically generated and executed on the motion controller (figure 2). In such cases, a separate CAM or post-processing software is not required.
A customizable Integrated Graphical HMI development platform, with built in functions for specific processes such as laser marking, drilling, etching, cutting, additive manufacturing, etc. provides significant added value to the machine builder / integrator and end user by solving a number of development challenges out of the box:
- A wide range of CAD files are natively supported (DXF, DWG, Gerber, NC Drill, STL, etc.) and can easily be manipulated to easily create motion recipes (scaling, rotation, tiling, etc.)
- Parameters for all motion axes can be configured and monitored from a single window / location
- Real time monitoring and data collection of motion feedback, laser status
- Commonly used devices such as cameras and Galvo scanners are natively supported and configurable within the HMI. New devices can easily be integrated as well (no need to write new libraries from scratch)
- Full simulation capabilities allow the user to see the expected laser beam path and determine expected process duration
Similar to a CNC Style HMI development platform, an Integrated Graphical HMI development platform can be also customized for application specific functionality.