What is Involved When We
Install a CamSoft Controller?
Since CamSoft can sell individual components, such as Software, Motion cards, Digital
I/O cards, Handheld controllers, Enclosures and full-blown ready-to-go FCC approved class
"A" CNC enclosures, this means you have many choices and alternatives with
CamSoft if you are either a one-man shop or an OEM machine tool builder. There are
several ways to go and options to select from regarding installation. The most important
part of a project to consider after the machine specs is your willingness and experience
to retrofit and trace wires. We have four techs that can do this for you, but this is
where the labor gets costly. Therefore, if you feel you could prep the machine
electrically and mechanically and bring the wires to the terminal strip we provide you,
then 90% of the project is done. The terminal strip is well marked and silk screened and
we do provide automatic servo tuning software as well. There are several operator
interfaces to select from for all types of machine tools or you can customized your
own. The control can accept many different formats of G codes or CAD files.
CamSoft has many controller alternatives. We can provide a hardware and software kit to
turn your own computer into a CNC controller. This kit is enough to cut parts with,
providing you connect to existing motors, amps, limit switches and encoders.
Prices start as low as $3,385 for one controller for a two-axis machine with CNC Lite
and start as low as $5,385 for the standard CNC hardware/software kit. Prices are in
the low $2,000s for dealers or OEMs. Add $300 for a 3rd axis or variable spindle drive.
Extra axes can be added up to a total of 8. Extra digital I/O can be added in stages. With
your own computer, this would be all you need to cut parts. You can also select from
ready-made enclosures. Prices start at $1,295 for a fully functional Handheld controller
unit to a full blown FCC class "A" CNC touch screen enclosure.
Closing the Servo Loop, should it be done by a dual processor or the computer's CPU?
The basic question we are asking is if it is better to use a dual processor to close
the servo loop or use the computer's CPU. Using the motion card hardware method has been
the industry standard for many years and known to be proven with over 200,000 motion cards
shipped to date. Off loading the closing of the servo loop to a dual processor provides
reliable servo update times up to within 62.5 microseconds resulting in cutting feedrate
velocities of up to 122,000 IPM which is far greater than today's servo motor technology.
Dual processors allow multiple events and multiple positioning motions to happen
simultaneously. Closing the servo loop has to be a very tight algorithm and consumes a
great deal of CPU time cycles. One could imagine how the main computer's CPU could keep up
with all the other tasks it is asked to perform. The greater number of axes driven,
digital I/O points to process and operator interface displays to be updated, makes one
wonder at what risk does safety and reliability degrade to when the main CPU gets busy.
For example, when using a dual processor, 3D profiles can be cutting at the same time a
tool change is taking place or a servo motor positions a rotary table. The extra processor
on the motion card is not only the best way to close the servo loop with the motors, it is
also the fastest method known to date to produce the fastest block-to-block cutting
speeds. Since a single computer CPU is already doing so much processing while reacting to
digital I/O events, user interactions, graphic and position display updates, G code
processing, ball screw error compensation, tool compensation, in-position and on-target
checking, it is common sense that it would be better to have another processor to handle
the tight closing of the servo loop with the motors. We all have to admit to the extra
safety a dual processor offers if the computer pauses, fails or locks up. Every PC-based
controller that wants to control a servo motor needs a motion card to work with the
computer of some sort, bar none -- be it a non-intelligent digital-to-analog card without
a dual processor to a full DSP-based intelligent motion card with a dual processor that
will close the servo loop automatically and independently of the computer's CPU. When it
comes to all the hardware devices needed, such as analog to digital converters, digital
encoder readers, analog inputs and digital I/O, we say that it is far better to purchase
one card from one manufacturer than to buy several cards from different companies. The
computer's CPU was never designed to close such an intensive task as a servo loop and
still process other events. There are a dozen major motion card manufacturers in the
United States with hundreds of professional installers and resellers for these motion
cards in every state in America. Therefore, propriety hardware is not an issue.