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Loading and Unloading CNC Router2/24
We have a 5x12 CNC Router and it starting to become the weakest link in the chain. It is taking too long to process parts due to the way we program, load and unload. We are a commercial casework shop that does almost exclusively plastic laminate cabinets. 70% of our sheets are 5'x8' everything else is 4'x8' with the occasional 12' sheet for countertops. We currently use the default optimizer that comes with Microvellum. I have a few questions for you.
1, How do you load and unload sheets on and off of your routers?
We have a Morbidelli N100 and we chose to get the rake and offloading table. It works well, we load a new sheet before we go to the offloading table and unload the parts. If you have space the loader is nice but you gain the most from the rake and offloading table.
Load: park a unit of Melamine at the foot of the router, outside the safety-zone, but close enough to slide a sheet off the end of the unit onto the table.
Stuart, thanks for the info. I would guess we are doing roughly the same volume as you are. I have a few questions regarding your spoilboard. I am cutting my spoilboard down with the fly cutter 2-3 times a day. That is mostly due to the amount our bits are penetrating the spoilboard. I have found I change bits less often if I cut that deep. How often are you having to change your compression bit? (I'm assuming you're cutting with a compression bit) I would love to be able to cut the spoilbord down once a week even if it is at the expense of using more tooling.
When you say unload how do you do it? Are you unloading on the machine bed itself? Or are you pulling the parts off of the machine?
I run the compression bits (outline mostly) about 2-3hrs each. Our control has a countdown timer and Its set to two hours. I usually check the flute tips by eye and by feel at that point and see if I can continue cutting. Usually I can run another hour or so, but its discretionary. I'm looking for wear at the flute tips, and the spot 3/4" up where the other melamine edge is. I know there is a tolerance that Vortex (for resharpening) uses to put the factory grinds back on. If I run a bit too long, that wear spot @ 3/4" wont have enough carbide to resharpen. I use a mortise compression for doing 1/2" drawer parts and that bit gets a substantial amount of wear at the tip from making the second pass thru an onion skin. That bit can also usually run past two hours cut life.
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Chris, let me see if I can answer your questions.
1, The Router is our current bottleneck. I need to get more parts through it daily in order to alleviate the pain created by slow processing.
2, Currently we nest based off of yield. I feel like nesting for the shortest tool path or shortest time would even itself out by having to load more sheets on the router due to a lesser yield.
3, I have the ability to common line nest with Microvellum. I have never tried it. It would definitely reduce machine cycle time, and extend tool life. I would be willing to try as long as both edges acceptable from the common pass. Also, I can manually change the Z offset on the FANUC controller to ensure we are cutting on different parts of the tool.
Thanks for the help.
I think you need to watch your operator and make constant adjustments for them.
Are all the panels prepped ? Are they close to the machine ? Is the paperwork clear ?
Look at your nesting. Are you nesting entire jobs ? Or, are you phasing ? Meaning if a job has 10 exam rooms, are you running them all at once ?
Cutters. I use a coated from cnc-tool 3/8Ē compression thatís been on the machine for two units of melamine, 40 sheets of Plam, 100 sheets of pb, and itís still sharp.
Tolerance 2nd sharpening, sometimes I wonder. After a long study, Iím almost about to go with Larry Sweitzers recommendation not to.
Anyway, we ran a 5x12 for a long time no sweep. It was hell. Look at the online photos of cncís from Omnitech. Lots of ideas for roller tables to feed or take off. Low cost
BTW. We also cut corian on our machine daily. I feel your pain. We all do.
I would label all parts. Break you jobs down into rooms and nest 2-4 at a time with nothing over 12 or so melamine sheets. Donít pay to sort. Pay to cut them build with billable product sitting every few hours
I agree that training and fixing broken processes are part of my issue. Those are currently being fixed and addressed with the operator.
Throughout the years we have developed simple yet complete "paperwork"-(its all on a tablet) for the operator to use. All materials are stored within a few footsteps of the router.
A general rule of thumb that I have is to never nest more than 18 cabinets. If we do I will have people downriver standing around waiting on parts.
I use an Onsrud 3/8" compression bit with the marathon coating. I would be open to trying new bits to see if we can extend tool life. I don't sharpen bits as it creates more of a headache.
I have a 5x12 machine and have built my own off-feed table. We have rigged up a "Rake" that attaches to the sheet after it is cut. Then the pulleys and ropes are used to pull it off the bed of the router. We load and run the next sheet before we label part on the off-feed table.
Thanks for your help.
Take time and just watch your operators how they load and unload machine. Make sure they understand the urgency of the CNC. I have an auto load and unload Biesse and we can run 45 seconds between sheets. At times we have struggled with output and I found the machine sitting idle because they were doing other task instead of making sure CNC was running. When we are real busy, we run split lunchís and breaks, the CNC never stops and we rotate operators.