Numerical Control machine is shortly called as NC machine. A NC machine is an automation method, in which the machine tool control is by means of prepared program having series of numbers. These numbers represents the position of slide, cutting speed, feed, etc. Generations of NC machines: The various generations of NC machines are: I Generation – 1952 (Vacuum tubes), II Generation – 1955 (Electromechanical Relays), III Generation – 1960 (Discrete Semi Conductors), IV Generation – 1965 (Integrated Circuits), V Generation – 1968 (DNC), VI Generation – 1970 (CNC), and VII Generation – 1975 (Micro Processor & Micro Controller) Components of NC machine: The main components of a NC machine are as follows:
- Program of instructions: It is a step by step direction for performing the operation of the machine tool. It uses various input media like 25 mm Wider Paper Tape, Magnetic Tape, and Punched Card for storing the programs.
- MCU (Machine Control Unit): It reads the program of instructions and translates into machine tool mechanical actions. It has various elements such as tape reader, data buffer, signal output channels, feedback channels, sequence control unit, and a control panel.
- Machine Tool: It is the important part in a NC machine. It comprises slides, worktables, and spindle including individual servo motors and controls.
Part Program in NC machine: A part programming is a set of instructions with coordinate values to specify the work of a tool in order to get the preferred machining form. The different methods of creating part programs are:
- Manual Part Programming,
- Voice Programming,
- Computer Aided Part Programming,
- MDI Programming (Manual Data Input), and
- Graphic NC Programming.
Working of NC machine:
- Create the required part program.
- Place the work piece on the table.
- By the use of control panel buttons, the tools and slides can be moved with reference to work piece. Place it at zero position of work piece.
- Place the tape in the tape reader.
- Now by pressing the appropriate control panel, it reads the data in first block in the tape into data buffer.
- After the reading of data in first block, the control signals are given to
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machine tool and operation is started. Next it reads the data in second block and the operation continues.
- Corrections are done if it is necessary.
Conclusion: NC technology is concerned with a wide range of cutting and non cutting operations. Overall, a NC machine is very much suitable for work pieces of small and medium size batches.