|Home Prototyping||Blog | Shop Online | Support | Site Map|
Alliance Display & Packaging
CNC Router Economically Produces Point-Of-Purchase
Feature Story August 25, 2005: PlasticNet.com
Upgrading a CNC router provides solution
Recently, Nelson wondered whether it would be possible to upgrade the machine, which had performed very well. He contacted its manufacturer, Techno, Inc., New Hyde Park, New York, and discovered that the machine could be retrofitted to the latest LC series model electronics for a minimal cost. The retrofitting process included changing the axis motors from stepper to servomotors, a new control system, vacuum table, and new software. This new retrofit not only brought the machine up to current technology, but the machine ran faster and smoother then ever before. A closed loop servo control system provides constant position feedback, higher power, and smooth continuous motion that eliminates the possibility of losing position in the middle of a part. A big plus was the new Windows®-based GCODE interface. The interface was extremely easy for the operators to learn to use.
Nelson had also considered purchasing a new machine such as Techno's LC Series which is constructed on a heavy steel ground stress-relieved base, and includes a heavy-duty aluminum T-Slot table and ball screws on all three axes with closed loop servo controls. Because the frame is a single welded piece, there is no chance for it to get out of square or require alignment. The machine comes fully assembled and includes Techno's Windows®-based CNC G-code interface with free lifetime software upgrades.
The machine is available in five sizes, with work envelopes of 30" x 24", 50" x 48", 50" x 96", 59" x 120", and 78" x 120". Each of these models provides a repeatability of 0.001", a resolution of 0.0002" and a maximum speed of 250" per minutes. A wide range of optional equipment is offered including a laser scanning module, variety of spindle options, vacuum pumps, and fourth axis rotary table to name a few. This entire series of machine are very reasonably priced; for example, the 4-foot by 8-foot model sells for $16,995 new. "Based on the advice from Techno stating that my machines mechanics were in perfect condition, I made the decision to simply upgrade the controls, and put off the purchase for a new Techno router until I require a larger work area," Nelson said. "Thanks to Techno my upgrade was simple, quick, and most importantly cost-effective."
The new prototyping process
Alliance Display uses Strata 3D rendering software to produce their initial design concepts. The renderings produced with this software are shown to customers for approval. When the customer approves the rendering, the company then moves into the engineering stage and produces a solid model of the design using SolidWorks® computer aided design software. The solid model is then moved into the Mastercam CNC programming environment where Nelson generates the toolpaths needed to produce the part on the router.
The operator simply mounts a sheet of styrene or acrylic on the vacuum table, calls up the appropriate program, and hits the start button. He then walks away while the router produces the parts. It takes between one hour and 30 hours to produce the display on the router. The finished pieces are then decorated with paint and pressure sensitive labels. The longer times are for complicated displays that might consist of as many as 50 components. The physical model provides a truer picture of the appearance of the display and also gives engineers a chance to resolve details that are difficult to verify on the computer such as snap features and interlocking. When engineering and the customer have signed off on the prototype, then Alliance Display can confidently begin producing the injection mold, working with the same geometry that was used to produce the prototype.
"The low cost of the CNC router means that we can produce prototypes very efficiently at Alliance Display," Nelson concluded. The retrofit has breathed new life into a 10-year old machine at a very low cost. The router has proven to be very reliable and easy to use. In approximately one year of operation since it was retrofitted the machine has performed without any problems. People that have never seen the machine before are able to operate it at full efficiency within an hour or two. The result is that we can provide our customers with beautiful prototypes at a low cost."
*This article has been reproduced for the Techno CNC Router Systems Web site with permission from:
PlasticsNet and VertMarkets, Inc.
2101 Jericho Turnpike, New Hyde Park, NY 11040 | Telephone: 1.800.819.3366 / 516.328.3970 | Fax: 1.516.358.2576