bigprody

Macro Loading, advice needed

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I just started working for an outfit that is heavy into automotive, large quantity long running jobs where we need to trim as much cycle time as possible. They run most of their stuff on VMC's with an indexer. They have a macro that works well for streamlining the machine setup and prove out process. Unfortunately the work flow from the programming side is not very productive due to the large amount of cutting and pasting involved to load up the macro for the machine. One of my tasks is to work on streamlining the programming process. I feel I have 2 choices. The first would be to write a post that will load the macro. The maximum amount of variables that will need to be passed to the macro is about 50. So first question is there a way or work-around to load misc. variables at the start of the program. My second choice would be to write a VB app that will parse the NC file for the info and values and then spit out a loaded macro. With the 2nd approach I can use the manual entry operation to load the data needed as the first operation of the MC program.

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9 minutes ago, bigprody said:

One of my tasks is to work on streamlining the programming process.

One possibility is to get rid of the Macro and program everything centerline. Worked at a shop where we did this. Needless to say it was like pulling teeth without anesthetic for 18 months, but once we hit a critical mass of progs which were programmed centerline you couldn't get the complainers to go back if you held a gun to their heads.

COR was set in the common offset, the only thing the operator had to do was enter the TLOs and we were off to the races. Hard work up front, but rewarding in the long run.

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Thanks for the advice but, yea, the new guy is not going to be able to make that change.

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I pass parameter values to the machine, at the beginning of the program, by using a manual entry. My most common setup instructions are done the same way;

I paste the macro/parameter/instructions I want into a manual entry, set to output as code (you need to use parentheses for comments), then I export the manual entry operation, named as I desire, to a folder that I use for common toolpaths.

The next time I need it, I just import it.

Zeke

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Mr. Guru, I did not think of that. Your suggestion might be the easiest way to deal with my issue. I do not mind cutting and pasting on the initial programming. It is the redoing every time there is a program change. Thanks for your help.

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You can use an actual file as a manual entry keep it in the path you are going to remember and just pick it at the beginning of your program.

You don't have to copy or paste just use the explorer to find the file

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So in Manual entry it says you are limited to 750 characters max. I will need more than that. Is that for what is held in the field for typing, or does that mean for the text file also?

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What do the variables do? Are there common variables that are in every/most parts? How many parts will you run on one VMC in a years time? What is your variable storage capacity?

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3 hours ago, bigprody said:

So in Manual entry it says you are limited to 750 characters max. I will need more than that. Is that for what is held in the field for typing, or does that mean for the text file also?

I'm not sure, but you can easily test it by picking a recent program and see if you get the whole thing

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You are only limited to 750 characters, if you manually type them in.

The Manual Entry Operation can be set to "read a text file on your computer, in a folder you choose", and that character limit won't apply.

However, there is also another simple solution; just create multiple Manual Entry Operations in a row. Sure, it's annoying at first to do the work, but you could have a 'setup instructions' op, then a 'clear G10 lines' op, and an 'initialize machine variables' op.

String 4 ME ops together, you've got 3,000 characters. 

If you need more text than 2 or 3 ME Ops can provide, just use the 'text file' option. It is really the best way to re-use code.

BTW, there is also an 'edit' button for the text file, so you can still make edits on the fly, as needed. 

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12 hours ago, bigprody said:

So in Manual entry it says you are limited to 750 characters max. I will need more than that. Is that for what is held in the field for typing, or does that mean for the text file also?

Colin beat me to the text file alternative. I only have one file that I use this for.

On a side note, if you use probing and don't have it incorporated into your MD/CD/Post, manual entries are a great way to put your probing macros into your programs. I have several of these saved, for each machine in the shop.

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