ToolConnect is a retrofit hardware and software package for machine tools that eliminates human error and reduces setup time by automating the transfer of CNC tool data to and from the control. The system is completely customizable to meet customer requirements and tool load process specifications.
ToolConnect uses RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tags, embedded in tool holders. Utilizing a tool presetter, the measurement data is written to the RFID tag. The tool is then placed in a custom RFID read station at the machine, and the data is read and displayed by ToolConnect. ToolConnect automatically updates tool offsets to the control. ToolConnect reads and writes data to the CNC control; automatically updating tool offsets and tool life data to (and from) the CNC control.
Caron Engineering’s ToolConnect is a process control system that automatically transfers tool measurement data that is generated by a tool presetter and sends it directly to the CNC control. This system was designed for tools with RFID tags embedded in tool holders as the primary data carriers. Now, ToolConnect can also transfer tool measurement data via 2D (presetter) printed barcode tags.
The ToolConnect barcode application uses a barcode scanner at the machine tool to scan the presetter generated barcode. ToolConnect reads and processes the barcode data, displays all tool and process information and then automatically updates the offsets to the correct fields in the control. No operator data entry is required. In addition to displaying and verifying the tool information on the screen, ToolConnect guides the user through each step of the process to further automate and prevent error. The user screens can prompt the operator through tasks, such as (1) scan the barcode, (2) confirm the tool information, (3) open the carousel door, (4) insert the tool into the (automatically indexed) position, 5) close the door, and other possible scenarios a user requires. The offsets will not be sent to the CNC control until ToolConnect has verified the correct tool is loaded into the machine and each customer-defined step in the process is successfully executed.
With ToolConnect, the system is designed to fit the users’ tool load specifications. This includes customized user screens, process flow, initial setup and system checks, and general access to the system. The system is flexible and can accommodate changes at any time. Additionally, ToolConnect has an audit log that records every step, action and data exchange, marked with date and time stamp. This data is available locally or via MTConnect; used for quality control and process verification.
A presetter is an extremely valuable and accurate device for measuring your tools offline. Using ToolConnect in combination takes this measurement data directly to the offset table in the CNC. This eliminates error associated with manual data entry and automates the tool load process. The universal machine tool compatibility of ToolConnect provides a common interface across all machines on your shop floor, increasing operator efficiency. Adding the barcode scanning capability to ToolConnect provides a more affordable option for customers who do not need the extensive capabilities of the more robust and continuously reusable RFID system.
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