The Art of Monodzukuri (Techniques for Creating Things)NC Units

EDMs machine the material in increments
down to 1 μm.
How can you get the machine
to move such short distances
as a single micrometer?

NC Units is
the name of the game to machine parts in increments of 1μm.

Sodick have added that computer to the EDMs.

With this, it allows us to produce finely detailed parts down to sizes on the order of 1 μm, which is 1/1000 of one millimeter.



What are NC Units?

NC units are devices used to perform numerical control of machine operations for industrial machines like EDMs and robots.
Here, we'll describe NC machines and numerical control in greater detail.

What is "Numerical Control"?

Machine tools are machines that work to cut away material to produce a desired shape. Machining is enabled by moving the tool used for machining (the shaped or wire electrode in the case of EDMs) while keeping the part to be machined stationary.
Numerical control (NC) units then come to play. NC units are used to control the machine motor via a computer using numerical values for distances and points that express how far the tool is to be moved. And then move the machine as specified in order to produce a part with the desired shape. Depending on the type of NC units used, you may be able to control the speed at which the tool is moved. The direction along which machine tools can be moved is called an "axis." The direction of travel and amount of travel are expressed using the X-axis, Y-axis, and so on.

NC units may also be referred to as CNC units.
CNC stands for "computer numerical control," numerical control performed using a computer.
This system was first developed in the U.S. in the 1940s and 1950s.

NC= Numerical Control
CNC= Computer Numerical Control

There are more complex machines that have eight different available axes arranged based on the standard X, Y, and Z directions.

Does numerical control work through repetition of
the Coordinates → Axes → Command cycle?

An example of wire-cut EDM

Coordinates:The coordinates of the position at which machining is started and the position at which the direction of progression is changed are expressed as numerical values.

Axes:There are two basic movement axes on a wire-cut EDM, the X-axis and the Y-axis.
The direction, distance, and speed at which these axes are moved are quantified as numerical values.

Commands:The numerical values converted from the coordinates and axes are sent to NC unit as a command.

By repeating this Coordinates → Axes → Command cycle, we can accurately create objects with just the shape we wanted. NC units will calculate the path that the tool needs to take for machining using a computer if provided with the commands, which makes machining even the most complex shapes really easy.

Sodick develops and manufactures this NC units
in-house on our own.




NC Units

Electrodes experience no wear. And a beautiful lustrous finish is achieved. Using an NC unit, accurate control positions is achieved. But Sodick hasn't yet given up its pursuit of discovery and expanded ingenuity. See you in the next issue!