I'm proud to say that I am a 3rd generation machinist ... I became a CNC Applications and Service Engineer / Manager for Yamazen and then Mori Seiki USA ... and I then took my acquired skills and entrepreneurial drive to start my own business in 1986. Since then ... Kentech Inc. and Kipware® software has become a leader and pioneer in machine shop software. Every day I strive to improve our products ... service ... and machining and machinists around the world.
Are you a machine tool salesperson looking to add CONVERSATIONAL PROGRAMMING options to your machines?
Are you a machine tool salesperson running into the CNC CONTROL INCOMPATIBILITY issues when offering your equipment?
Are you a connected metalworking individual interested in generating some additional income?
If so … Kipware® software can help !!
Many machine tools now offer conversational or shop floor programming as an option on their CNC controls. While we are HUGE believers in conversational and shop floor programming over CAD/CAM only model … having your programming being locked to the machine tool has many disadvantages that can be easily exploited when offering a PC based conversational alternative like Kipware® conversational. CLICK HERE to watch the video for more on this topic.
If the machine tool you or your company offer does not include conversational programming but it’s what your customer is seeking … or your CNC control conversational option is sub-par … becoming a member of Kentech Inc.’s REFERRAL PROGRAM with the ability to offer Kipware® conversational as an option is a GREAT alternative. Our REFERRAL PROGRAM is easy to join … has no commitments … and requires nothing on your part other than a referral. Basically … refer a client and earn $100 !!
TAKE CONTROL INCOMPATIBILITY ISSUES OFF THE TABLE
Over the years … we have helped hundreds of FANUC and OKUMA based CNC machine tool users realize complete seamless integration between their machines with our CNC XChange G code conversion software. In addition … our KipwareXC® G code conversion software has helped thousands of CNC programmers quickly and easily convert their G code from one format to another to make their shop floors run smoothly and efficiently.
Machine tool sales professionals oftentimes find themselves in a situation where the customer comments “I love your machine but my operators and programmers don’t know the control.” or “I have hundreds of programs written for my current machine … can I use them?”
As a member of the Kipware® REFERRAL PROGRAM … you can not only offer a proven-in-the-trenches solution that can mean the difference between a sale and a bust … but you can earn $$$ in the process. Our REFERRAL PROGRAM is easy to join … has no commitments … and requires nothing on your part other than a referral. Basically … refer a client and earn $100 !!
YOU LIVE IN THE TRENCHES … PROFIT FROM IT !!
Our Kipware® titles are powerful … easy-to-use … and proven-in-the-trenches applications that include :
We are always looking for knowledgeable, connected manufacturing professional who are looking to help other manufacturing professionals find solutions to their shop floor issues. Perhaps a Kipware® title can help … and by joining our REFERRAL PROGRAM you can point your friend or colleague in the Kipware® direction and even earn some $$$ in the process. We invite you to explore our Kipware® titles and the Kipware REFERRAL PROGRAM. Let’s all work together to make manufacturing strong.
Our KipwareXC® – G Code Conversion application has become an industry LEADER since it’s introduction in the ’80’s. We are now engaged in a new upgrade for KipwareXC® which involves our creation of specific CUSTOM PROFILES for specific G code conversions … and we are pleased to announce the initial release.
First … let me explain a little about the philosophy and design of KipwareXC® in case you are unfamiliar. KipwareXC® is what we refer to as a “soft coded” application … whereas our CNC XChange® conversion application is a “hard coded” application. In a hard coded app … all of the G code format conversion is built into the software with only a minor set of options defined by the user to handle non-industry-standard programming code … M codes for example. Hard coded apps are designed for specific G code format conversions … like say Fanuc to Okuma … and it’s all built into the source code. In a soft coded application like KipwareXC® … the user defines all of the what-to-convert-into-what using what we call a PROFILE. This gives the software unbelievable flexibility and power … but requires the user to set up the configuration in the PROFILE. Another powerful feature is that the user can create as many different PROFILES as required to handle many different format conversions … the number of conversion types is therefore unlimited.
Our new UPGRADE strategy is to create and define specific code conversion CUSTOM PROFILES and make them available to the public … but still maintain the ability to tweak the PROFILES as well as the ability to define new Profiles and enhance existing Profiles. It’s the best of both worlds.
1st CUSTOM PROFILE release :
Fanuc to Dynapath – Milling
Our first CUSTOM PROFILE … created per a user request … was for milling G code to convert between FANUC format to DYNAPATH event type format. Below is a video clip outlining the new PROFILE.
We are excited to introduce CUSTOM PROFILES and will be adding new PROFILES as we move forward and receive feedback and requests for from our users. If you have a need for CUSTOM PROFILE to enhance your shop floor machine compatibility … please contact Sales@KentechInc.com or call 508-754-1198 Ext 1.
Kentech Inc. is pleased to announce the release of Version 17.0.0 of our KipwareM® – Conversational CNC Programming Software for Milling.
This version contains new support options for RIGID TAPPING in all conversational hole menus in KipwareM®. The first area to set-up would be in the SETTINGS page …
… where the user can define the PRE-COMMAND G code … and then select whether or not to include the S command on that line as well. Some controls … like most Fanuc controls … require a command prior to the G84 tapping canned cycle command line … and some require the appropriate S command to also appear on the line. For example … the standard Fanuc command for rigid tapping is :
G99G84 X— Z— F—
Some controls … like Okuma … require the pre-command but do not require the S command.
With this new upgrade … KipwareM® will format and output the code according to this SETTING … and will carry the appropriate S command value and place it on the pre-command line if desired.
Also … on all hole menus … a new field has been added for the user to define the PERCENTAGE of calculated FEEDRATE to use when generating the G code program. All feedrates calculated through KipwareCSF® will now be output using a 100% value for the feedrate calculated.
Previously … we had a built-in factor of 90% to accommodate non-rigid tapping … where the standard 90% of actual feedrate is used to allow the compression holder to pull out just a little to avoid bottoming out the tap when tapping using a compression holder. We have removed that 90% factor … and all feedrates are now calculated to a 100% factor. This field on the form allows the user to input a desired percentage factor if not employing rigid tapping … or to leave the default of 100% if employing rigid tapping.
With almost all of today’s CNC machines having the capability of using rigid tapping … these new features in KipwareM® will keep pace with this trend … and allow both older CNC and current CNC users to employ rigid tapping … or not … quickly and easily with any KipwareM® program created.
Over the last 2-3 months we have seen a growing interest from Fusion360 users for our Kipware® conversational CNC programming software. We have been polling those users as to why they’re interest has peeked and overall we have received answers along the same line … complexity vs. simplicity.
For users looking at Fusion360 as a CAM package … they are finding it all to complex … confusing ( as in not intuitive ) … and just plain overblown. These factors are leading to slow G code creation that leads to lost profits and related inefficiencies that basically eat away at profits. Most of the reasons expressed confirm our “sales pitch” as outlined in our many blog posts … full links are below and recommended reading if this topic has spiked your interest.
Of course for CAD and design work … Kipware® conversational is not in the same ballpark as Fusion360 … it includes a CAD / drawing package and we do not … we are focused on the CAM side of things.
But for creating G code programs and as a CAM package … where design work is not required ( say in a job shop setting ) … Kipware® conversational basically blows the doors off of Fusion360. KipwareM® ( milling ) and KipwareT® ( turning ) offer users a G code creation tool for the common, everyday type workpieces with ease-of-use, an intuitive interface, and powerful features that allow novice to expert machinists to create powerful G code programs quickly and easily.
And what about being cloud based … with nothing to install or maintain … and able to be accessed through any device from anywhere. BOOM !! Kipware® conversational is also offered with a cloud based delivery through our Kipware® Cloud. Complete information can be found HERE.
If you have been looking at Fusion360 as a CAM alternative … we encourage you to take a look at Kipware® conversational. We invite you to request a live, one-on-one online demonstration … or attend one of our Live Events … we where we can show you the full Kipware® conversational experience and you can ask question / get answers in real time. Links are below.
Let me begin by explaining that this post is not a knock on the Siemens 840D controller. We have limited experience with the controller in regards to reliability as a CNC controller.
This post will, however, deal with two point of interest that we think are important for CNC personnel to know and consider when applying this CNC control to their shop.
Control output ( G code ) compatibility with other CNC controls on the market.
Ease and power in regards to conversational CNC programming
In the US market … Fanuc has been the dominant CNC control for many years. Reliable and abundant … Fanuc has been the go to CNC control for many machine tool builders. In the last 5 years or so … Siemens, Mitsubishi and to a lesser extent Fagor … have begun making their way into the US market … both in retrofit packages and factory installed on newer machine tools. Mitsubishi has mainly made their way through lower cost and good reliability … but one of Siemens’s selling features is their “conversational” approach to CNC programming.
While Mitsubishi has maintained their G code format … in fact Mitsubishi … smartly … maintains their 100% “fanuc compatible” G code format … they have given themselves the ability to attract those millions of Fanuc programmers out there by offering great reliability and the same programming format they already use.
Siemens on the other hand … only maintains their “fanuc compatibility” in their DIALECT or ISO mode. ISO mode is basically a secondary mode to the 840 control … and when in ISO mode many of the features of the control are unavailable. It is evident that the 840 pushed the user to the standard programming mode … which in Fanuc language is really a macro programming output. Difficult if not impossible to decipher and edit manually … and incompatible with any other G code format on the market.
If you have ever worked on a real wold shop floor … you know the problems and issues that “control incompatibility”. The inability for one G code format for one machine and one CNC control to function on another machine with another CNC control. This results in multiple “posts” if using a CAD/CAM system … and much re-programming or re-posting required to move programs from one machine to another. Not to mention the experience required and cost incurred for programmers who have the ability to program all formats for all machine on the floor … or the issues raised when they can’t.
When it comes to the Siemens 840 controller … compatibility with other CNC G code formats is a big consideration … it is NOT compatible. The 840 uses a macro format output … and as mentioned … difficult if not impossible to decipher and edit manually … and incompatible with any other G code format on the market.
TURNING : Here is an example an example of a turning canned cycle output per the following illustration example :
MID : Maximum insertion depth (enter without sign)
FALZ : Finishing allowance in the longitudinal axis (without sign)
FALX : Finishing allowance in the facing axis (without sign)
FAL : Correct finishing allowance for contour (without sign)
Versus a G71 / G72 Fanuc cycle … or a LAP cycle for an Okuma machine ( the two can be auto-converted between formats with our CNC XChange ) … the Siemens CYCLE95 is completely foreign … and is not compatible with any other G code format.
MILLING : Below is an example of a simple drilling cycle … so common on a Fanuc or Okuma control with a G73 cycle.
DP Final drilling depth/elongated hole depth/slot depth/pocket
DPR Final drilling depth/elongated hole depth/slot depth/pocket
depth relative to reference plane (enter without sign)
DTB CYCLE82: Dwell time at final drilling depth (chip breaking)
FDEP First depth (absolute)
Again the complexity of the macro statement makes it overly complex and completely foreign to most G code programmers.
Being the pioneers and innovators in the field of G code conversion software since 1986 ( more info here ) … we know the issues that control incompatibility can cause on the shop floor … and the money and time lost through those issues. If you are contemplating bringing a Siemens 840 control onto your shop floor … we would encourage you to weigh the G code format and incompatibility issues that will result.
If this is your only and only CNC control … or control incompatibility is not a concerns … then let’s take a look at the “conversational” approach from the 840 vs. our PC based Kipware® conversational.
Conversational CNC Programming
Siemens calls their conversational programming ShopTurn … and we’ll let the Siemens YouTube video speak for itself …
Ease-of-use and Power … Using the CNC control ( which is not a PC ) for input is cryptic and involves multiple changing menu bars. The PC is much more familiar, powerful and easy to use.
Portability … programming MUST be done at the machine and in the confusion of the shop floor. PC based conversational installed on a laptop is portable so programming can take place anywhere and and can be used to program multiple machines … giving every CNC machine a conversational control.
Conversational programming in any format is designed for the simpler, everyday type CNC programing. The main feature is to allow for “shop floor programming” of these type of workpieces … leaving the complex 3D and mold type programming for the complex CAD/CAM systems. We also deal with this issue in depth in our post Shop Floor Programming vs. CAD/CAM Programming … see it in full HERE.
But what happens when “somewhat complex” and non-standard shapes require programming … through perhaps a simple drawing or DXF import. On a conversational CNC control … if it is even available … it is even more cryptic and difficult to program. But with the included Kipware® SketchPad … simple drawing and DXF import is simple and easy to program easy in Kipware® conversational.
The mere fact that any CNC control is no match for the personal computer for power and ease of use is in itself a big factor and speaks volumes when considering control based conversational vs. PC based conversational. And we didn’t even mention the cost !!
As I mentioned at the start of this post … we do not intend to knock the Siemens Sinumerik control in regards to it’s CNC control capabilities or it’s reliability. We are merely outlining what we consider to be “real world” points to consider in regards to conversational programming and control compatibility. If you are considering a conversational CNC control of any type … we encourage you to learn and explore additional points through the links below :
As we continue to ramp up our sister woodworking company … KÄRV … we continue to demonstrate and prove our mantras for our Kipware® machine shop software. Metalworking operations … woodworking operations … both have a lot of similarities and requirements and we continue to prove our Kipware® real world machine shop design and features in our now real world woodworking environment.
We recently blogged regarding how we utilize our KipwareCYC® and KipwareQTE® machine shop cycletime and cost estimating software to estimate retail costs for some of our wood products. If you missed it … see the full article HERE.
We are also proving our “not every job requires a CAD/CAM system” programming mantra at KÄRV as well. We recently put our KipwareM® – conversational CNC programming software for milling … to work on a shop floor programming project we were working on in the KÄRV workshop. If you haven’t read our article on shop floor programming vs. CAD/CAM programming … it’s quite the eye-opener … you can read the full article HERE.
The Rest of the Story …
We came up with an idea for a unique clock design that featured a quartz clock movement inside a slice of an oak log. To house the clock body … we needed to mill a 3″ diameter hole in the slice … and we wanted to use our X-Carve CNC router to mill the hole. Simple enough … and it really illustrates how a simple programming project could turn into an overblown programming project if we were to use a CAD/CAM program to create that G code program.
In a CAD/CAM system we would have had to first create a drawing … why? … and then use that drawing to create the toolpath. Some extra steps that would not only cost us time but that time expense has to go somewhere and that would mean additional labor costs associated with the cost of the clock … which would eventually be for sale on our website. Want one … get it HERE !!
So we started KipwareM® … no drawing required … and with a couple of fill-in-the-blank forms completed … we had our G code program to rough pocket and finish mill … using a helical milling routine … the 3″ hole needed to mount the clock movement. Here are some screenshots of the forms … simple, plain english, fill-in-the-blank forms with tons of machining options that created a quick and efficient toolpath … no drawing nor drawing time required Bang bang done !!
As I mentioned we roughed the pocket using a pocketing routine … but we finished the side walls using a helical type cutting routine. Very easy to create in KipwareM® and posted out using KipwareXC® with our X-Carve Profile. We sent the G code and drove the X-Carve using the Universal G Code Sender application. The results were outstanding and the fit for the clock movement was perfect … first shot.
Needless to say we saved ourselves a ton of time by not having to create a drawing and by using our shop floor programming ( not CAD/CAM programming ) model and KipwareM®. We did the programming right at the machine … no expensive CAD/CAM system required and no drawing or CAD/CAM experience required.
Another unique wood design produced in the KÄRV workshop !!
If you would like to learn more about KÄRV woodworking and see our other products and designs … please visit our website … www.KarvWoodworking.com
If you would like to explore our conversational, shop floor programming applications or any of our other REAL WORLD machine shop software … please visit our website … www.KentechInc.com
President – Kentech Inc.
Woodworker – KÄRV Woodworking
If you have followed our Blog … you might know that back in October of 2015 we started a sister company to Kentech Inc. called KÄRV. KÄRV is a woodworking business … is just getting started … and will be producing custom, handmade furniture and unique wood carvings for resale.
We are using the Kipware® software from Kentech Inc. in KÄRV to both create the G code programs for our X-Carve CNC router and to estimate cycletime and costs for the products we will be producing for resale. So we are putting Kipware® to the test in the real world … this time the world of woodworking … for additional in-the-trenches use.
We also wanted to document some of the use of Kipware® in various areas of KÄRV … so this post is dedicated to the cost estimating of a wooden, 3D carved plaque we have for sale on our website.
We wanted to illustrate through the video available below how we used our KipwareQTE® to create the retail price for the plaque considering material cost, tooling cost, labor cost and non-machining costs. Metalworking … woodworking … they both have very similar aspects as they relate to manufacturing … so this video is a great way to see KipwareQTE® in action in a woodworking environment … but with a lot of similarities with a metalworking one.
For additional information on all our Kipware® CNC and Machine Shop software titles … please visit www.KentechInc.com.
We are always listening to our customers … and love submissions for revisions and enhancements per their actual shop floor experiences. This post outlines (2) new features we have released for our KipwareM®… development based on client input and recommendations.
If you would like to submit your real world feature request … please send an email to Sales@KentechInc.com.
Enhanced Hole Location Input Options for Drilling
KipwareM® provides the user with the multiple options for automatically calculating hole locations for bolt circles, holes on a line and grid patterns … but sometimes you just need to enter random locations that don’t fit into a set pattern.
That drilling conversational menu has now been enhanced to give the user (3) options for entering such locations.
X / Y locations can be entered directly on the conversational form with the # of locations available being unlimited. Just increment the counter up and enter the X/Y coordinates.
Users can pop-up a form where up to (12) locations can be entered directly on that form all at once.
Users can define a DXF file and KipwareM® will read through the DXF file and define every POINT element in the file as a hole location and automatically enter that location into the list. This is great option for loading a large number of hole locations directly from a DXF drawing.
Enhanced SLOT MILLING Options
We have enhanced our HORIZONTAL and VERTICAL slot milling menus in KipwareM® to include the option of THROUGH slots as well as partial slots … what we call CAPTURED slots.
In addition … a recent past upgrade gave the user the option for total removal of the material in the slot or simply create a tool path that milled down the side(s) of the slot. This is a great option for creating toolpaths for narrow slots or slots where the cutter and slot width are the same or the cutter is only slightly smaller.
Our labels HORIZONTAL and VERTICAL slots is a bit misleading … because the single ROTATION ANGLE input allows the user to rotate the slot at any angle … all done with a simple single angular input.
As mentioned above … we are always happy to receive feedback and to hear new options users would like to see in our applications. If you have a suggestion … please reach out to Sales@KentechInc.com.
At Kentech Inc., we have spent a lot of time over the last 25+ years working and perfecting our KipwareCYC® – Machining Cycletime Estimating Software.KipwareCYC® started out as a resource for estimating cycletimes for machine purchase justification. Clients would come to us with the request to estimate machining time based on equipment they were considering purchasing. THIS WAS A BIG DEAL to be sure. The client was going to lay down some serious cash to purchase a new piece of CNC equipment … based heavily on our cycletime estimate to machine their workpiece on that equipment.
Well over the years we have produced quite a few happy clients … enjoying a nice revenue increase thanks to those cycletime estimates and new equipment purchases. So we know a little about accurate machining cycletime estimate … from hands on experiences.
Two of the main factors we have used over the years to incorporate into our machining cycletime estimating are :
Cutting parameters used in the estimate MUST reflect the speeds and feeds being used on your shop floor during the machining. Using book knowledge … pie in the sky parameters … other people’s data and processes … will only lead to inaccurate estimates. This is one of the fundamental keys to accurate machining cycletime estimating. You can read more about our feelings on this issue in our previous BLOG post … CLICK HERE to read that post.
The time that a tool is actually engaged in the cut … the “length of cut” … is the most accurate way to estimate that tool’s cutting time. Using other factors like volume of material being removed … does not accurately reflect a tools cutting time. The volume of material being removed does not reflect the path the tool takes in the cut … only the amount of material being removed. The path the tool takes in the cut … the true length of cut … is the only factor that will produce an accurate cutting time.
Our KipwareCYC® application always has used a tools length of cut when calculating cutting time. Coming from the shop floor … we also realize that this is not an easy factor to obtain. That is why we created our companion app for KipwareCYC® … the Cut Length Calculator. This ingenious application uses a mix of conversational, fill-in-the-blank forms as well as the ability to import DXF files yto assist the user in calculating a tool’s length of cut quickly and easily. Our patented Machinist Mode transforms the mouse into a cutting tool … all the user need do is click around the part to simulate the cutter path … and CLC will turn that into a length of cut calculation … for either turning or milling calculations.
For more information on the Cut Length Calculator … included standard with KipwareCYC® … we invite you to watch the video below.
Quoting and estimating is the lifeblood of your business … and any accurate quote begins with an accurate machining cycletime estimate. It is undoubtedly STEP #1 !!
Our Kipware® CNC XChange and KipwareXC® software continue to be the industry leading tools for removing the “control incompatibility” issues from today’s shop floor. Today’s typical shop floors contains many different CNC machines with different CNC controls … and the inability to quickly move G code programs from one machine to another means loss productivity and efficiency.
Since 1986 when we first started creating G code conversion software for Raytheon Corporation … Kentech Inc. has become the pioneer and leader in G code conversion software … enhancing efficiency and productivity in thousands of manufacturers by allowing all their CNC machines to operate seamlessly.
Today we are announcing the release of NEW features to our Kipware® CNC XChange … Fanuc <–> Okuma Milling Conversion application … that enables a “look ahead” feature for inserting the “next tool” call into converted programs. When converting Fanuc milling G code to Okuma OSP … this new feature will scan ahead in the Fanuc program to find the next tool being employed … and will auto-insert that call into the tool change line of the current tool. This insures greater efficiency by getting he next tool indexed and ready for tool change … saving valuable cutting cycletime in the newly converted G code program.
Here’s how it WORKS …
As with all features in Kipware® CNC XChange … and after living on the shop floor for 30+ years … we know that no two G code programs or formats are alike. That’s why we build customizable features into our conversion software … to allow the user to select and customize the conversion and output.
Initially … the user can use the powerful USER OPTIONS in Kipware® CNC XChange to set-up this “look ahead” feature as the screenshot below illustrates.
Users have the ability to customize the output by :
ENABLING or DISABLING the Look Ahead function … and if enabled to specify the LETTER ADDRESS to be used by Kipware® CNC XChange when adding the next tool call to the G code. In the above case … a Q# would be output with the # being the next tool number.
Users can also specify a TOOL CHANGE RETURN LINE to be automatically inserted as a line prior to the tool change command line, This features gives the user the ability to customize the tool change return line per their own requirements.
Here’s the RESULT …
With a simple push of the CONVERT button … Kipware® CNC XChange goes to work … all automatically … in seconds … to execute this and many other conversions to produce the sample as illustrated below.
First the TOOL CHANGE RETURN LINE was added as defined … and then the LOOK AHEAD Q# was auto-inserted onto the converted tool change line.
You can also watch the presentation video below …
Industry leading Kipware® CNC XChange and KipwareXC® can help any size shop remove the “control incompatibility” issue from their floor … and bring with it increased efficiency and productivity.