Caron Engineering has been in the tool monitoring business for over 30 years. Their TMAC (Tool Monitoring Adaptive Control) system is being used worldwide due to its universal interface that provides a real-time connection with nearly any CNC builder on the market.
Using a high precision, auto-scaling power sensor, TMAC measures the load on the tool and compares it to the user-defined limits to determine wear. TMAC’s direct interface to the CNC control allows the system to make real-time adjustments to feeds and speeds, automatically expire worn tools, and stop and retract tools instantaneously in the event of breakage or other extreme conditions. All of this is driven by an intuitive user interface to view all live cutting data as it happens, with all cuts recorded to view and analyze at any time.
“One operation our TMAC customers are typically surprised we can monitor so accurately is tapping cycles. Rigid tap cycles are notoriously difficult to monitor because of all the power spikes caused by the forward and reverse actions of the tool. Monitoring tapping cycles are very simple to set up through use of time increments in TMAC,” explains Paul Sevin, Technical Product Specialist for Caron Engineering.
TMAC learns the power of the tap as it winds into the materials. During monitoring, TMAC can isolate just the cutting portion of the tap (in its forward cutting motion). As the tap unwinds from the material, the monitoring goes into a “hold mode”, ignoring any spikes in data. TMAC measures the wear of the tool and alarms the machine when excessive wear or breakage occurs using either tool wear linear or area under the curve limits.
Use of a pre-load signal creates precise start and stop timing from the CNC which synchronizes monitoring based on specific PLC (programmable logic controller) functions. TMAC will ignore unwanted power spikes due to reversing the tap and unwinding out of material.
“One of our customers is drilling and tapping a tombstone loaded with 16 parts, with 5 holes per part. The customer is successfully monitoring the drilling and tapping of 80 holes with time increments in TMAC. TMAC measures the power required to drill and tap the hole, ensuring that enough power is achieved to complete each operation. This is especially important prior to tapping, to make sure each hole was successfully drilled,” said Paul Sevin.
By using high precision power sensors, TMAC can monitor a wide range of taps. With smaller taps, the auto-scaling sensor capabilities make it possible to register even the slightest power signals and monitor all cutting operations.
With the newest version of TMAC (version 3.0), users can even label the cuts as specific features on the part.