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PC window controller VS Industrial controller1/9
We are getting ready to purchase our first CNC and I have in down to three units.
Depends on what you are wanting and how long you want it. the PC controllers have come a long ways, BUT they are not an industrial controller. Don't be confused by the PC front end on many controllers, that is just to give you a more pleasant view into the controller. A true PC controller is either Windows or Linux based and may or may not have additional cards for control purposes some use the parallel port or usb. You get what you pay for. In 25 years I have not had any experience with a Fanuc controller going bad. Again You Get What You Pay For.
A standard CNC router goes left/right, forward/back and up/down. It doesn't take a lot of computing power or processor speed to pass code from the cut file to the machine.
I've always been a proponent of PC based machines. Simple to use, inexpensive controllers and easy to replace if ever needed for upgrade or failure. However I've been using PC based machines since my first CNC and have never had a PC failure. Our current machine runs perfectly well with WinCNC on a PC I put together for it when purchased over 10 years ago. That's old for a PC and yet it still controls the router as well as on the first day.
I have nothing against industrial controllers I just don't see a need to go that route.
I have worked with a Biesse Rover 24t had an XNC PC based controller, seemed to have issues with acc/dec but otherwise worked well, A Biesse Arrow TCR with an OSAI controller, good controller, lots of capability. Anderson CabMaxx and Anderson Exxact with Fanuc 0 controllers which always work well. My choice would either be the Omnitech which is an Anderson of a different color, or the New CNC.
Look @ the Omnitech post in a couple of threads down
An Anderson rep told me not to buy the siemens controller version, a few years back
We have a pc front end on our bander and Rover 30 Biesse products. The cnc is fed g code from our office driven shop drawings, so rarely do the operators go into the controller except for flycut and tool depth changes or adds of tools that is more office driven
The pc front end is generally a friendly interface to the machine controller. Controller cards and motherboards go out and it's best to have a back up plan.
We just unloaded 100k on the new bander and went with Biesse, they generally have the parts and call back all the time. The local representation with Mid America is unparalleled. Look for local support too
The Biesse new controllers are software controls that are easy to update with new features. That's what our 5 axis came with last year. I think that all their controllers were going to be software controls.
I'm a big fan of my biesse skill . The PC style control is very easy to use . But to be fair I've only ever known this style .
My skill had some hiccups in the beginning , and biesse was on top of it every time . I was very impressed . Their phone support is also great , quick call backs from educated people . I've waited days for a call back from another manufacturer. There hasn't been much I can't do with my skill . I can quickly go from running nested base case goods to cutting 2" thick doors and profiled casings .
In my opinion, Biesse is the best choice in machinery right now . Thy have invested millions into their company in thand last couple years opening new facilities . Go check out the one in Charlotte it's worth the trip . I also just purchased a Viet wide belt from them .
Either way you go best of luck !
Thank you all for your insight, it was helpful.
Wood Dust I have a trip planned to tour Biesse, and I am planning to go to New CNC too at the end of the month.
We've had 3 routers. Two with Fanuc controls that were flawless, one with Siemens that had issues and the support was sub par. Fanuc controls dominate the metal industry, so there are service techs galore if one is ever needed. I've only had one call to Fanuc, was a problem I created early on in my CNC days. Help was great.
One important note, is that, in general the PC does not control the piece of equipment and is only an interface to the control the machine uses. Some of the advantages to a PC front end are replacement parts (such as monitor, keyboard, mouse and PC) are fairly inexpesive. The interface in general is user friendly.
The disabvantage is that the PC front end is connected to a machine control which is generally proprietary. Over time parts for this type of control will typically be difficult to find and will be quite costly. After some time you new parts for the control will not be available and you will need to find used parts to fix controller issues.
As for industrial controls I am only familiar with fanuc. The machine I have with a fanuc control uses a PC front end. In general I can find a tech to service a fanuc controlled machine much easier than a machine with a proprietary control. Part availability over time will be much easier with a fanuc control, than a proprietary control. Thus in the long run my cost should be lower for parts. In general the interface for fanuc is not as user friendly as the PC interface, yet on the other hand a fanuc control for a different machine or metal machine are quite similar, meaning an operator of one machine with a fanuc control should easily learn a second machine with a fanuc control.
Either way ask the builders of the machines you are looking at about, service, part availability (short and long term), part costs, training and support.
"Industrial Controllers can be expensive to replace vc a pc." And why would you replace an industrial control from say Fanuc (chosen because that's what I'm most familiar with?) Fanuc supports controls for 25 years! Ask your supplier how long they will support your control. Replacing a PC control (one that is more that just the interface) is a lot more complicated than just sticking a new computer in the box. All that said, if you are buying a light duty router that has a life of less than 10 years, go for the cheap control, industrial controls wouldn't be justified. On more serious machines the upgrade to a Fanuc may cost less than 5% of the purchase price. Well worth it in my book. I know of two Fanuc routers that are over 20 years old still running everyday. Still on original controls.