Robotic Process Automation (RPA) continues to offer advantages in every field. One of these areas is Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machines which is the central part of the production. In this article, we will talk about how to automate CNC machines with RPA step by step.
CNC machines are a type of computer-aided lathe designed to ease and serialize jobs that require human power. Although CNC machines decrease the need for human power, a worker may still need to perform some tasks on the machine. Thanks to its advantages, RPA can easily automate CNC machines and facilitate employees’ duties.
Although automating these machines provides advantages to the business, any mistakes made in the automation process may hinder achieving the desired efficiency. So, what should we consider in this process?
Before you automate your CNC machines with RPA, you need to fully understand how CNC processes work. Understanding the process well decreases errors that will occur in automation. CNC processes include product design, testing, G code programming, quality assurance (QA), and sales. Moreover, by upgrading and preparing equipment, training employees, and making physical improvements in facilities, you can ensure processes to be ready to automate with RPA.
RPA is not just about letting a CNC machine run a program in one night. Besides performing one long task, CNC machines also need to perform a series of operations on one or more pieces. Therefore, machine shops need to control production processes and the production environment to establish a complete automation system.
CNC processes that last 40 to 50 hours generate enough heat to eliminate machining accuracy and change block’s dimensions of machined material. Machine operators can adjust these changes during operation with manual tools. However, in an entirely closed-loop system, it is necessary to check environmental conditions.
When automating your CNC machines, you can ask the following questions to determine and plan the necessary parameters to control environmental conditions.
Can you measure and calculate the cutting tool’s state before and after processing at each step? Can you change the cutting tools if specific tolerances are not achieved?
How much flexibility does a CNC machine have? If the machine cannot process a part due to a tool breaking, does it have other program and part options that can be selected to switch to another program without interruption?
Can all these decisions be made in real-time to reduce vacant machine time?
Can the thermal expansion be controlled by the mill, lathe or other machine tools?
You can use these questions as examples at the beginning. Then, you can add more questions according to your needs.
When we examine the parameters mentioned above, we can see that a fully automatic CNC process requires a combination of software that can produce highly complex CNC programming. However, you can turn this structure into a fully automatic structure with RPA software that properly analyzes CNC needs. Contact us to get more info regarding RPA solutions we offer in line with your business needs, including industrial processes!