IntelliPost® is a user-configurable postprocessing system that generates Machine Control Data (MCD) for numerical control and computer numerical control (“NC/CNC”) machine tools from cutter location (“CL”) files produced by a variety of NC part programming systems. Each IntelliPost® module consists of a General Purpose Postprocessor and a Postprocessor Configuration Utility.
General Purpose Postprocessor
Each IntelliPost® module utilizes over 600 user-configurable parameters which control all aspects of the postprocessing activity during postprocessor execution. The postprocessor can also react to user defined macro sequences which alter the standard postprocessor logic to produce special effects. Calls to these macro sequences are achieved by means of a standard postprocessor command identified by the user. The postprocessor utilizes input from both a CL file generated by one of the supported NC part programming systems, and an ASCII configuration file containing machine specific parameters created by the IntelliPost® Configuration Utility. During execution, the postprocessor reads the CL file, and based upon the contents of the configuration file, generates the MCD for the target machine.
Note: All supported CL file formats can be supplied on any supported hardware platform, but delivery may vary for certain non-standard combinations.
The post processor creates files containing MCD for the target machine tool and an operator listing. Under programmer control, error diagnostics are either written to the terminal, imbedded in the operator listing, or written to an auxiliary error logfile. The operator listing can be directed to the terminal or a disk file. IntelliPost® also has the ability to read and substitute tooling data from an external tooling file referenced by a simple tool number.
The IntelliPost® Configuration Utility is an interactive, screen/menu oriented program designed to gather information from the user concerning the MCD required for a target NC/CNC machine tool and operator listing. The Configuration Utility uses external data files which contain:
Major and minor vocabulary words to be honored by the postprocessor when reading the CL file;
Prompts and messages displayed on the screen;
Site-specific default information;
Definitions of fixed specifications and internal run-time postprocessor variables accessible from a macro process;
The Configuration Utility creates or updates an ASCII text file containing overriding values for parameter defaults, and macro definitions to alter postprocessor action. Optionally, a postprocessor documentation file can be produced which is a man-readable summary of the configuration process.
The system level environment variable AIENV is used to point to a directory where a special file named CONFIG.AI exists. CONFIG.AI is used to allow the user to define separate directories for the storage of the various input files (i.e. CL file, configuration file, and tool file), and output files (i.e. MCD file, operator listing file). This facility simplifies the maintenance of separate file directories for postprocessor development and production activities.
The IntelliPost® command syntax is a superset of the ANSIX3.37 and ISO-4343 standards. It also adheres to most of the BCLRS494 standard.
Supported NC Systems and Hardware Platforms
IntelliPost® can be configured to support any one of the NC part programming systems running on the supported computer hardware/operating system platforms as shown in Appendix “A”, but a single system that will support them all cannot be provided. Since the ANSI X3.37 and ISO-4343 standards make no attempt to standardize the binary structure of the CL file, each vendor system can implement their own format. These formats can differ and still claim to be ANSI/ISO compliant, yet they may be incompatible.
Supported Machine Classes
Each IntelliPost® system consists of a run-time postprocessor and a configuration utility designed to support all MCD requirements for a specific class of machine tools. A full multi-axis IntelliPost® system supports all machine types shown below. A non-multi-axis IntelliPost® system supports only the machine types shown for the non-multax mill system and the non-merged lathe system.
- 2-Axis Mill/Drill and/or Machining Center
- 3-Axis Mill and/or Machining Center
- 4-Axis Machining Center with indexing (positioning only) rotary table
- 4-Axis Tilting Wire EDM machine (merged 2D profiles method only)
- Flat Pattern machine (Punch Press, Flame Cutter, etc.)
- 5-Axis Machining Center with contouring gantry-type pivoting rotary head
- 4-Axis Machining Center with contouring rotary table
- 5-Axis Machining Center with rotary and tilting table
- 5-Axis Machining Center with rotary table and tilting head
- 5-Axis Machining Center with two rotary tables, one mounted on the other
- 5-Axis Machining Center with one non-orthogonal rotary axis
- 4-Axis Tilting Wire EDM machine (merged 2D profiles and/or Multax methods)
- Single or non-merged twin turret lathes having either a vertical or horizontal spindle
- 4-Axis control-merged or tape-merged lathes having a vertical or horizontal spindle
- Mill/Turn centers, i.e. “C-Axis” lathes with a rotation all y addressable spindle and milling attachments