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Controlling Numerically Controlled Machines

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000076787D
Original Publication Date: 1972-Apr-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Feb-24
Document File: 4 page(s) / 52K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Dunn, HL: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

The need to process parts quickly has led to the development of several new methods of using numerically controlled (N/C) machines. Most N/C machines require input in a standardized form which normally consists of serialized information on a punched paper tape. The tape is composed partly of dimensions of the part to be processed and machine tool instructions. Currently, there are two methods of generating tapes. One method uses a keyboard coupled to a paper tape punch and the tape is generated manually. Another method uses a computer system to gather engineering drawing information after it is on punched cards, process the variable information (dimensions) in the proper sequence, and then output the N/C information on punched cards for later conversion to punched tape.

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Controlling Numerically Controlled Machines

The need to process parts quickly has led to the development of several new methods of using numerically controlled (N/C) machines. Most N/C machines require input in a standardized form which normally consists of serialized information on a punched paper tape. The tape is composed partly of dimensions of the part to be processed and machine tool instructions. Currently, there are two methods of generating tapes. One method uses a keyboard coupled to a paper tape punch and the tape is generated manually. Another method uses a computer system to gather engineering drawing information after it is on punched cards, process the variable information (dimensions) in the proper sequence, and then output the N/C information on punched cards for later conversion to punched tape. Neither of these methods allow an operator to conveniently check the input data (or output results) before punching the tape and/or machining the part.

With the advent of APL/360 a new way of communication with the computer began. Using a terminal attached to a computer system, it is now possible to enter engineering drawing data directly into the computer, check the results on the terminal and correct and/or change the input data before punching the tape. This data entry technique, using APL/360 resident programs, can be used to generate N/C machine punched tapes quickly and accurately.

An improved method is described below, which method introduces the APL/360-N/C machine concept (in this case a drilling machine) to those who may be concerned with mechanical and electrical parts machining. Several N/C tapes, including those used to control drilling in printed-circuit boards, have been produced by this method. It is possible to extend the APL/360 technique to other numerically controlled devices, such as wire wrapping and drawing devices.

A grid system as applied to the terminal and N/C machine is briefly described. Also illustrated are APL/360 functions which have been developed to accept terminal entry of engineering drawing information and eventually produce the punched tape.

A major advantage of using APL/360 in generating N/C machine tape, is that an operator will be able to enter engineering drawing information into the system via a terminal system without having to use complex coding or formatting techniques. Fig. 1 shows how the APL/360 system is applied to a machine tool operation - in this case a N/C drilling machine. There are several data entry methods available and the operator must choose from one, once he has determined his drilling grid and width of his pattern. The only data entry restrictions are based on the restrictions of the N/C machine itself. Once the operator has entered his information, for say, a hole drilling task, he may examine a coordinate listing of each hole position before the information is stored or a punched tape is produced. Hole position changes can be made at this point. Multiple dr...