A Revelation in Advanced Software Technology

Here are details on a new software package that increases productivity, decreases programming, setup, and cycle times, and leads to greater profitability.

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Bryant Grinder has always been at the forefront of grinding machine technology. Founded in Springfield, Vermont, in 1909, the company has the distinction of having introduced the first computer numerically controlled (CNC) grinding machine. Today, Bryant is leading the machine tool industry again with the introduction of its REVELATIONS™ CNC software.
REVELATIONS is intelligent, easy-to-use software that can be adapted for any machine tool that uses a PC-based control. With touch-screen controls and a familiar, simple operator interface, it is a powerful productivity tool for any production floor. Faster operator training, programming, setup, and cycle times, and less scrap all contribute to lower overhead and increased profitability.

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“We created REVELATIONS in response to flaws we saw in our own and other companies’ control software and established the benchmark for CNC software in the machine tool industry,” says Craig B. Barrett, president and CEO of Bryant Grinder, a division of Vermont Machine Tool. “In an era of increasing global competition, for large manufacturers and small job shops alike, it’s no longer business as usual. Any shop or manufacturer using CNC machine tools can benefit from installing REVELATIONS software, maximizing their production and increasing profitability.”


Three-Button Operations

Based on Microsoft’s Windows, REVELATIONS was developed by Bryant machine operators, manufacturing engineers, and control software engineers. Their goals were to create control software that minimized screen navigation and was easy for both programmers and operators to use. REVELATIONS’ design allows users to call up any function or operation with three button pushes or less, increasing machine flexibility and reducing both setup and part-cycle time.

Currently running on a number of new and remanufactured grinding machines, REVELATIONS has proven itself as a tremendous tool on the production floor. With one customer’s part, cycle time was reduced from 157 to 29 seconds—a total savings of over two minutes per part. On that one machine alone the customer is realizing a savings of more than $625,000 per year. At that customer’s shop rate, even a one-second cycle time reduction can translate to an annual cost savings of up to $36,000.


Faster Cycles, Increased ROI
Cycle time reductions come both from the streamlined G-code and the flexibility of REVELATIONS. Canned G-code might look like the following example:

G1G90X100
If [#500EQ1]GOTO10
G1G90X101
If [#501EQ1]GOTO10
G1G90X101.1
If [#502EQ1]GOTO10
G1G90X101.2

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Depending on the machine’s control, each “if” statement, each math statement, or each “think” statement can result in up to 10ms delay in cycle time due to line-by-line block processing time. In this example there are three delay statements for a loss of 30ms. Every hundred loss statements results in an additional one second of cycle time on every part. A typical canned cycle may contain several thousand loss statements. The same code in REVELATIONS would appear as:

G1G90X100
G1G90X101
G1G90X101.1
G1G90X101.2

As experienced using a GE Fanuc 30i control, and using the same formula, REVELATIONS software eliminates the 10ms delay for each of the three “if” statements, reducing cycle time on those three statements alone by 30ms. For every 100 loss statements eliminated, cycle time is reduced by one second and, for example, at a customer’s shop rate of $150, profitability is increased by as much as $36,000.

Logical, Visual, and No Limits
REVELATIONS has just one programming screen with logical, visual flow charts to speed machine programming. With its unlimited sequence capability and self-configurable software, it lets users create a process with no limitations, making the machine faster, more flexible, and easier to operate.

Programmers design custom machine cycles in any sequential order. Then the software automatically generates the G-code and downloads it into the control. Unlike software using canned or macro-grind cycles that can drastically limit production times, REVELATIONS allows the programmer and operator to customize the cycle to best fit part and production requirements, with any number of grind surfaces, individual grind states, dresses, and operations.

The programmer enters the operation sequences such as route moves, dwells, device toggles, decision branching, and custom G-code. There are user-selectable trigger and event interactions that range from gauge stages and stock sensors to push-buttons, softkeys, and position triggers, among others. In addition, the software recognizes any number of programmable devices, including gauges, loaders, fluid control, counters, and others.

REVELATIONS incorporates adaptive features including horsepower grinding, CBN adaptive dress, adaptive skip dressing, acoustic dressing, and out-of-round grinding, with built-in learning capabilities. It can even add multiple axes on the fly.

Setup features are simplified by a graphical operation sequence display. Operators can position the machine by touch or data entry and can direct operations to be skipped. There is a size correction grid, a tool offset grid, and path enable/disable, allowing the operator to customize the operations needed to complete a particular part. Logical sequencing, pop-up windows, online manuals and schematics, and context sensitive help screens guide the operator through each step in the process, minimizing operator errors during machine start-up or part changeover.

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Automatic Configuration

REVELATIONS was designed for maximum flexibility. It automatically reconfigures itself to run virtually any grinder, lathe, machining center, hobber, gear shaper, or special machine that uses a PC-based controller. It recognizes the number of axes, spindles, peripheral devices, and other features on the machine. Just by reading a listing of those items, it automatically reconfigures itself for that machine.

REVELATIONS must be purchased for and installed on each machine it controls. With only one screen to run the entire machine, it reduces operator training time from days to a few hours. Operators quickly become familiar with the common interface and can be easily cross-trained to run multiple machines. Cross-training and faster training times contribute to a company’s lean initiatives, allowing for greater employee mobility and flexibility.

REVELATIONS graphically displays dressing forms and grinding profiles, and its built-in intelligence helps prevent the machine from crashing and creating bad parts. Monitoring machine operation becomes much simpler with REVELATIONS’ graphing features, cycle time breakdowns, and log files that include cycle, operator, and machine logs.

Engineering Flexibility
REVELATIONS allows engineers using browser-based workstations to collect production data and manage machines based on that data. In addition, engineers can run part simulations and generate production estimates directly from their workstations long before a grind program reaches the production floor. This type of simulation reduces setup time and lets the engineer manipulate cycles to fit production requirements.

With its optional Ethernet capability, REVELATIONS lets Bryant engineers troubleshoot and often resolve software, hydraulic, pneumatic, or electrical issues for machines anywhere in the world, minimizing downtime and reducing the need for service trips.


Online Documentation

For both machine operators and maintenance personnel, a “help” menu accesses all documentation, with hyperlinks for each and every stage of the process. All hydraulic, electrical, and pneumatic diagrams are also available on the machine.

According to Robby Little, a Bryant software engineer instrumental in developing REVELATIONS, “When I was a service technician, when I arrived on site to make repairs, more often than not the customers didn’t have the necessary documentation for me to do my work,” he says. “Digitizing the operator’s manual and schematics not only lessened downtime, it eliminated the burden of cataloging the machine documentation.”

The Traditions of the Precision Valley
Since 1909 Bryant Grinder has been manufacturing innovative, state-of-the-art grinding machines and spindles designed for high-productivity and high-precision applications. As a recognized leader in the field of precision grinding, Bryant offers a complete line of CNC controlled grinding equipment, new parts, new spindles and spindle remanufacturing services of all types and different manufacturers. Vermont Machine Tool was founded in 1983, specializing in remanufacturing, retrofitting, retooling, and modernizing high quality machine tools to today’s exacting standards. Bryant Grinder merged with Vermont Machine Tool in 2002, maintaining the long-standing machine tool manufacturing tradition of Vermont’s Precision Valley.
“Over the course of time, so many machine tool innovations have come out of this region,” Barrett says, “and we’re proud of our heritage and continue to combine ‘Yankee ingenuity’ with advanced technology.”

NOTES:
REVELATIONS™ is a trademark of Vermont Machine Tool Corporation. Bryant™ and Bryant Grinder™ are registered trademarks of Vermont Machine Tool Corporation. Bryant Grinder is a division of Vermont Machine Tool Corporation. Vermont Machine Tool™ is a registered trademark of Vermont Machine Tool Corporation.