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Machine control toolkit `will save months`

01 February, 2003

Machine control toolkit `will save months`

Baldor has unveiled a new software package that, it claims, will shave "months" off the time usually needed to develop contouring and profiling machinery. The MintNC software, shown for the first time at this month`s Machine Building exhibition in Birmingham, combines a machine control package developed by the Isle of Wight based industrial software specialist, Starsmore, with Baldor`s own Mint motion programming environment.

The combined package can be used to automate high-speed contouring using servo- or stepper-based motion systems. It is aimed at applications such as grinders, cutters, welders, laser and water jet profilers, and even inspection tasks.

Manufacturers with unusual contouring or profiling applications are often faced with "the stark prospect of adapting their process to use a standard machine, or the costly and time-consuming task of building a custom automation solution from scratch," explains Mark Crocker, Baldor`s marketing director. "This toolkit gives users the building blocks to assemble a machine rapidly to suit the production task exactly".

There are several modes of operation. For example, it can act as an automatic CAD-to-production system for one-off tasks such as rapid prototyping. Alternatively, it can be used as a front-end for repetitive tasks, allowing users to import standard CAD files, integrate these with speed and control data, and export the data as a motion script for downloading to a motion controller.

The PC-based software includes tools for generating application-specific interfaces. For example, users can create custom HMIs that present graphical displays of geometry combined with program listings and simple machine controls, such as jog and home buttons.

Standard interfaces, including ActiveX compatibility, allow developers to integrate their systems with other specialist hardware. The software supports real-time motion control hardware, including Baldor`s multi-axes NextMove card which plugs into a PC slot

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