technical tip of the week

Technical Tip Of The Week: How to improve productivity

CNC routers are a vital tool for many workshops, and for good reason. The ability to full customize your CNC with over 368,058 standard machine configurations means it is easy to achieve a highly productive unit. When used correctly, a CNC is productive and versatile, however the machine must have the correct specification and the operator must know how to get the best out of it! If these are not met, you will struggle to achieve your machines full potential and the maximum return of investment (ROI).

Selecting the right CNC router specification

Being able to fully customize your CNC router is great, but if you make the wrong choices in the initial buying stage you’ll struggle to rectify these issues. That’s why at AXYZ we have an experienced technical sales team who will guide you through the buying process to arrive at the perfect solution for your company.

For highly productive workshops we generally recommend the following machine specifications:

Helical Rack and Pinion Drives coupled with Servo Motors

The Helical Rack and Pinion system is designed to provide superior high-speed performance delivering greater accuracy, smoother cutting and quitter running.

When coupled with high-performance servo motors it enables the operator to achieve high acceleration and feed rates (up to 50m/min).

The detailed design of these drives ensures that at all times there are multiple gear teeth engaged rather than just the one as is the case on a conventional rack and pinion system. This means that wear is greatly reduced and the life of the system is increased as a result of distributing the load over several gear teeth.

Automatic Tool Changer

The Automatic Tool Changer provides an easy and convenient method of running jobs requiring multiple routing tools. It is available with a capacity of seven (7), ten (10), fourteen (14), twenty-one (21) or thirty-three (33) tool holders.

In operation, the Automatic Tool Changer, dramatically improves the throughput capacity when processing multiple tool operations. The tool change carousel unit is located on the end of the gantry in order to reduce travel time when a new tool is needed.

Watch our Automatic Tool Changer in action

Twin Carriage

To improve efficiency, multiple carriages can be mounted on one gantry to allow you to run multiple versions of the same job. Each carriage is independently driven to maintain part accuracy. For larger applications requiring full process width of a single carriage, the second carriage can conveniently be parked at the end of the gantry. Both carriages may be configured to use the automatic tool changer carousel.

Check out our twin carriage video

Pendulum Processing

For seamless, continuous cutting it’s possible to split the bed of the machine into 2 virtual zones so that the operator can offload one sheet and make ready another while the machine is processing on the other virtual zone.

The machine can therefore run continuously with no downtime between jobs.

Discover pendulum processing:

Selecting the right machine settings

Don’t worry if your machine isn’t specified with any of the above, your operator will still be able to tweak their programming to ensure improved throughput. Check out our five tips below and see if you can replicate them in your shop.

  1. Feeds, speeds and acceleration: It’s not just the cutting speed that makes a difference to overall cycle time, the machine acceleration can also make a huge difference. Use this with care as setting acceleration to high can increase wear and tear of the machine and affect cut quality. If in doubt, check with your local AXYZ service center for advice.
  2. Sequencing: This may sound like common sense, but make sure you cutting sequence is set up correctly! Ensure you cut side by side and not on the other side of the table! You want your cutting head to travel the least distance between cuts.
  3. Z Stroke Control: When running a job, your software will ensure your Z lift stays above your material when traversing between cuts. By maintaining this close to the material surface, the machine will travel faster between cuts, reducing your cycle time.
  4. Tooling: Buy the right tooling. Ensuring you have the right tool for your chosen material will more than likely mean you can operate at higher cutting speeds. At you’ll found some great information on tooling.
  5. Accessories: Using the right accessory improves your cutting speeds. For example, using a blue glide donut allows you to process certain materials much faster with no loss of quality.

It is important to recognise that all operator settings are recommendations and we urge operators to test, test and test again to establish their own data.

We hope you found this article useful. Happy cutting!

Author: Ged Lodge is an Applications Specialist for AXYZ, a global manufacturer of CNC router and knife systems. Ged has over 10 years’ experience with AXYZ and over 25 years’ experience with CNC routers.