GE Fanuc Automation Expands Capabilities of CNC Learning Control Function Greatly Improving Productivity for High Volume Machines

Next Generation of Learning Control Provides The Ability To Achieve High Speed and High Precision For Any Machining Application

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA, NOVEMBER 29, 2006 GE Fanuc Automation, a unit of GE Industrial, has announced that it has expanded the capabilities of its learning control function for parts cutting and rigid tapping providing the ability to apply the high speed and high precision of the learning function to any machining application. Learning control can now be applied to general-purpose machining such as milling, drilling and tapping often used in the automotive industry.

In the past, learning control was limited to specialized machines used for cam grinding, gear cutting or piston lathes. Conventional learning function was limited to machines that repeated the same command per spindle rotation. The function also required special programming.

"Programming the correct path does not mean the machine will follow the path accurately," according to Paul Webster, Servo Product Manager for GE Fanuc. "High speed and high precision are often contrary terms. The servo system has follow-up delay that causes path error and quadrant protrusions. Cutting load variations cause disturbances that add to path error. Overshoot and synchronous error can cause broken tools. The common solution is to program conservatively by slowing down the feeds and increasing rapid clearance distances. All of these solutions increase cycle time and decrease productivity."

This next generation of learning control from GE Fanuc Automation - learning control for parts cutting and rigid tapping - significantly expands on the benefits of learning control by taking advantage of repetitive machining. The function learns the servo error over several machining cycles and actively compensates for the errors it detects during the learning process. After several learning cycles, the machine is placed into a production mode where it applies the corrections it learned for high production machining.

"By using learning control, feed rates can be increased to take advantage of increased accuracy," Webster continued. "This increased feed rate can amount to more than a 50% reduction in cycle time."

Learning control for parts cutting can be used with typical machining centers and lathes because it does not require special programming techniques. Standard G-Code programming is used to call for learning and production machining. This allows for learning control to be used on a vast number of machines not possible with past functions because of the complex programming involved.

Learning control for rigid tapping is a subset of parts cutting specifically designed for machines doing multiple repetitive tapping cycles. The rigid tapping feature learns and corrects for synchronous error between the servo and spindle, allowing for faster, more accurate tapped holes.

"Demands for increased productivity out of machine tools will drive the improvements of CNC control systems," Webster concluded. "The benefits of applying learning control come from its ability to correct for path and synchronous error seen in repetitive cycles. This makes significant cycle time improvements a reality for these applications."

About GE Fanuc Automation
GE Fanuc Automation, a joint venture between GE and FANUC LTD of Japan, delivers automation hardware and software designed to help users reduce costs, increase efficiency and enhance profitability. With solutions and services catering to virtually every industrial segment, GE Fanuc Automation provides a diverse array of capabilities and products, including controllers, embedded systems, advanced software, motion control, CNCs, operator interfaces, industrial computers, and lasers. Headquartered in Charlottesville, VA, GE Fanuc Automation is a part of GE Industrial and combines the diverse global strengths of the GE family with the local presence customers need to design, develop and maintain their automation investments.

For more information, visit or contact: GE Fanuc Information Center, P.O. Box 8106, Charlottesville, VA 22906, Phone: (800) GE FANUC (800-433-2682), Fax: 434-978-5205, e-mail:

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Elli Holman, GE Fanuc Automation

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