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Backgrounder: The infimatic Launch (from MAG IAS offices in Europe)

Modular and multifunctional

September 17, 2007 - For months now, technicians and engineers at MAG IAS have been working on a revolution that will really get the market for motion and automation control systems moving. With its Infimatic division (Hebron, KY), MAG is entering the control system business.

Pete Tecos is vice president of the marketing department at Infimatic and he knows from everyday experience exactly what users expect from developers at MAG.  "Our goal is to provide a solution that isn't just scalable to individual machines but that is also simple and quick to operate thanks to the modular layout and intuitive human interface."

The combination of competency and experience from the 13 renowned mechanical engineering companies united under the MAG group has really made the project a whole lot easier; and just to be sure, the people at Infimatic also called on the competency of outside companies as well. International big names like professor of engineering Dr. Günter Pritschow from the University of Stuttgart (Institute for control systems /Institut für Steuerungen - ISW) and Professor of engineering Dr. Alexander Verl from the Institute for Production Technology at the Frauenhofer Institute have seats on Infimatic's own advisory board.

infimaticThe result of work at the offices in Cincinnati is the Freedom NC200™ CNC control system. In  the future, this control system will be on all MAG machines controlling operating cycles from simple turning to complex machining on five-axis machines. 

"We have succeeded," says Pete Tecos not without a little pride, "in developing a control system which is more economical and at least as efficient as those of our competitors." The sophisticated design of the control system makes it easy to keep the system up-to-date on things like hardware. CPUs and other components are easy to replace. This saves time and therefore also servicing costs. "We offer various processors and also other hardware so that the machines can be converted or upgraded easily depending on the machining requirements." This means that even if the processes applied to the machine change completely, the Freedom NC can easily be upgraded.

Syntax testing in real-time

For MAG developers, it was important to come up with a user-friendly system. Consequently, software was designed which is aligned to the requirements of the operator. You need at most three clicks from any screen page to get to whatever function is required. An NC editor with a color code system allows complex programming even while machining. "We named one of the modules VeriCode. It makes quick and error-free programming possible thanks to its real-time-syntax verification. This concise, color-coded system allows complex background editing during machining – functionality that makes a real difference on the shop floor."   

However, the heart of the system is the so-called Plug-and-Play Servo System. This allows the control unit to be individually adapted to any machine. An integral component in this is a CAD/CAM program we developed that can process both 2-D as well as 3-D graphics and can use a 32 bit color monitor on the control system as display. Moreover, the special design of the software and its interfaces means that other modules can be easily integrated into the system, so the machine cooling system, data storage unit or safety-related processes can be controlled and individually adjusted via add-ons.

A still unique module is the EcoVerter Servo System that not only monitors all important machining parameters but also determines and regulates the respective power requirements. This way, the machine never uses more energy than the corresponding machining job requires - an important factor in respect of TCO.




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