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I am currently in the market for my first cnc purchase. One of the many things I've learned is that some machines use industrial controllers and some use pc based control. I would like to know from people who have experience with both types what advantages one might have over the other. It seems on the surface the pc based may be easier to operate but I'm wondering if it may be suseptable to the same issues we've all experienced with our home or work computers, and that in 5 years everything is obselete. The traditional control may take some getting used to to run but might be more reliable Any thoughts? Thankyou
Obsolescence shouldn't be a concern far as your controller goes. Barring hardware failure, your PC controller will work as well or as poorly as it did the day you bought it. PCs don't get slower with age; the common issue is that users tend to ask more of them as time goes on, often installing unnecessary crud that chomps up ram and CPU cycles. Don't use the controller as a normal PC: keep it pristine, stay off the web browsers and facebook, and you'll be fine.
hey henry when buying a cnc,,,,the flat table machines are for cabients and pod and rail machines are for individual parts,,,,we have a biesse table and weeke pod and rail if you have any more questions,,,,just give me a shout,,,biesse with nc1000 takes alphacam code the best ive seen
sorry,,didnt answer question,,,,,,,the computer at the cnc is usually a few years old if you buy used,,,but invest in a nice office machine for your autocad,alphacam,,and cabinet vision work,,,,nothing crazy ,,i7 16gb ram,,,nvidia video and most important windows 7
Ya- exactly what Nite said. We leave the controller off the web except cisco meetings for tech support.
Thankyou for your thoughts, as I mentioned the biggest hurdle I'm staring at is the prospect of getting an accurate parts list to the machine. In my mind I envision drawing up the clients kitchen most like I do now with KCD and hit a button and "poof" the operator has as the info he needs to load the machine and run parts. I suspect it's not that simple with most machines. Most machines need a post (didn't know they played basketball) some do not. Most machines require the operator or programmer to know a little about tool path and other things but for instance thermwoods smart router take some of that away. Currently we are a 3 man shop counters cabinets. at least at the start the person writing this post will be the one designing, and operating the machine, my fear which may be unwarranted, is that the time I save in the shop will be offset by the time spent programming. At our current level a strong argument can be made that the machine is a luxury not a necesecity, but if we want to do any more that would switch.
In my personal experience with cnc machines, the industrial controls are more robust and reliable but not as user friendly.
I have had 2 Busellatos a Giben panel saw a pair of Komos and a pair of Onsruds in my care over the last 16 years. The short version is that the Giben with it's DOS control on a 386 just outlived it's parts availability for the pc, couldn't find the hardware for the pc anymore to keep it running. The techs at Giben were too new to know if very well either, not their fault it was a 1996 machine.
The busellatos had their own quirks, they were windows pc driven machines that the last one we had would boot up in Italian app once a month. It was nice for networking and file sharing etc, but the control didn't have the reliability that I expect out of a $100k machine.
The Komo's are still running and they are 1991 and 1992 machines with a Fanuc OM-C control. They are capable of the same things the new ones are, just harder to learn it. They also have a memory limit that the pc machines do not. If you plan to surface machine alot or carve/engrave alot, then look for a newer version with more memory. The OM is limited on its internal memory but I can DNC code and it works fine. They are still going strong and do not have any quirks. I have my own shop and that is what I bought was an old 'obsolete' komo 3 yrs ago.
The Onsruds I had were both windows based Osai controls and they also had their quirks, I loved that they were very capable and easy to drive, but they still had issues related to using a PC/windows machine to control it. Interesting that they now are offering Fanuc controls....
It depends what you are comfortable with to a point. Many many people absolutely hate the old Fanuc controls because they are a bit of a pain to use, but guess what, they work everytime you turn it on. I look at is as once you learn it, it is not a problem. No, it is not as easy to navigate as a windows machine, but I need a machine that works all the time, not get in a hot job and get the blue screen of death or, "we are unsure, did you reboot it? Try that first" BS, These machines cost too much money to have a flakey pc running them. I also really like the fact that Fanuc is worldwide and their controls are on thousands of machines in every industry out there so online help and parts are more common than say a late 90's Italian proprietary machine that they only made a couple hundred at most.
Also pay attention to the steps required to get from screen to machine, the more proprietary they are the more trouble you will have when the system is old. If the system hinges on a 3rd party software to post the code and that guy is working out of his basement and kicks the bucket, you are out of luck if you need help.
There is something to be said about using a very popular software and machine. You can usually get alot more info and help from other users vs being stuck with the dealer only.
We've had two machines with Fanuc controls, absolutely bullet proof, no problems. Still have a 1999 Komo with Fanuc. The front end HMI is windows based and we needed to up date that. Sometimes we do hit the memory limit and go to running from the office server for really big carving programs. Don't need to for cabinet parts. The problem with running from the server can be how much traffic there is on the local area network. Personally I would pay the extra $ for the Fanuc control. I've had other controls and they don't age well.