SPIDERCOOL INTELLIGENT INTERFACE
SPIDERCOOL will always determine the most suitable interface for your application before we ship your system. This information is strictly here to give you a better understanding of what a SPIDERCOOL interface actually is.
Because SPIDERCOOL remembers nozzle position settings for every tool, and adjusts automatically after each tool change, it needs to know which tool is in the spindle at all times. Our patented “Intelligent Interface” consists of specially designed software, and electrical hardware used to physically connect the SPIDERCOOL control unit to the machine tool’s CNC control. The interface works behind the scenes, transparent to the machine operator, to track the tool change activity of the machine. The operator simply uses the knob to aim the coolant and the SPIDERCOOL takes care of the rest.
The two primary methods of interface consist of; Classic Interface and RS-232 (Serial) Interface. There are also custom interfaces that we have and will continue to develop to address special applications.
Classic Interface – Hardwires to various signals existing within the machine tool’s Automatic Tool Changer (ATC) electrical system. These signals generally consist of proximity sensors or relay drivers and contact closures. SPIDERCOOL deduces the tool number by monitoring the Index and Direction of the ATC magazine, the arm-swap, and any other relevant tool changer activity. This interface is compatible with double-arm “random” pocket or dedicated pocket tool changers, as well as carousels and other types.
RS-232 Serial Interface – As opposed to the classic interface which deduces the tool number by monitoring ATC activity, using RS-232 a variety of techniques can be employed to literally transmit the active tool number to the SPIDERCOOL control board each time a tool change occurs. This method is ideal for machines equipped with Brother, Fanuc, Milltronics, Mitsubishi and Yasnac controls having Macro-B with DPRNT capability, and Okuma machines having PUT capability. Other controls having “Real Time” RS-232 output are also likely to be suitable. This interface can be used even if the RS-232 port is currently used to transmit programs from a host computer to the machine’s internal memory.
Many machines have what is called a tool change macro program (ATC macro) which is often hidden from the operator and you never know its running. When you program an M6 to execute a tool change, the machine is actually running this ATC macro (usually O9001) which takes care of retracting the Z-axis, orienting the spindle, etc. Adding 3 blocks of code to the ATC macro is all that’s usually required to set up the SPIDERCOOL. For machines that do not use an ATC macro, as in the Fanuc Robodrill, you create your own short macro that is called by an M-code. This m-code inserted once after each tool change and will accomplish the same thing.
Special Interfaces – Occasionally neither the standard Classic or RS-232 interfaces are suitable for a particular machine tool. This could be due to a machine having multiple ATC magazines, or otherwise a unique ATC design or electrical architecture. In these cases SPIDERCOOL can engineer a special custom interface. Contact us to discuss your application and feasibility.
PLUG & PLAY INTERFACES
SPIDERCOOL has developed Plug & Play versions of our classic and serial interfaces for the most common machine tool and control brands that we’ve encountered. Plug & Play simply means that most of the thinking, preparation, and pre-wiring has already been done at our factory before shipment. So instead of the installer having to locate and splice wires to connect the SPIDERCOOL, we provide you with a wiring harness that has connectors at either end pre-wired to match your machine and our control board.
Installing these is typically a matter of disconnecting an existing connector within the CNC, plugging in the SPIDERCOOL connector, and plugging the original connector into the opposite end of the SPIDERCOOL interface harness. Some machines have only one connection point, others may need 3. Each connection is simple to make, does not require electronics experience, and takes no more than a couple minutes to complete.
Plug & Play Interfaces are available for most models of – Fadal, Haas, Hurco, Fanuc, Milltronics, Mitsubishi, Okuma, and YCM.
For machines that we do not have a Plug & Play interface for, a universal classic or serial interface kit is generally included. These universal kits are designed to be adaptable to suit a variety of situations.
IS AN INTERFACE ACTUALLY NECESSARY?
Not always. Instead of tracking every tool, a SPIDERCOOL system can instead be used only as a remote controlled coolant nozzle system with no tool memory. With no interface, the SPIDERCOOL works exactly the same, but it does not know which tool is in the spindle, and it will not automatically re-adjust after tool changes. The operator just uses the SPIDERCOOL adjustment knob to safely and precisely re-aim the coolant nozzle(s) after each tool change or whenever its necessary. We have several customers who run exactly like this.
This method is beneficial on machines that always run fully attended and/or machines that don’t utilize an automatic tool changer. It is sometimes the case with large horizontal boring mills running critical high value parts such as large aircraft, submarine, or power generation components that the customer’s process will not not permit the part to run unattended under any circumstances. The operator must remain fully engaged, watching the entire machining cycle. In these situations, having the tool change interface is of little benefit because the operator will either be there changing tools by hand, or attending to the machine during each tool change. SPIDERCOOL is still highly beneficial because the coolant can be adjusted at any time, safely and precisely to the optimal point, even during the cut.