ToolConnect Barcode Application

June 22, 2021
Barcode ID Integration with ToolConnect System

Caron Engineering’s ToolConnect is a process control system that automatically transfers tool measurement data that is generated by a tool presetter and sends it directly to the CNC control.  This system was designed for tools with RFID tags embedded in tool holders as the primary data carriers. Now, ToolConnect can also transfer tool measurement data via 2D (presetter) printed barcode tags. 

The ToolConnect barcode application uses a barcode scanner at the machine tool to scan the presetter generated barcode. ToolConnect reads and processes the barcode data, displays all tool and process information and then automatically updates the offsets to the correct fields in the control. No operator data entry is required.

In addition to displaying and verifying the tool information on the screen, ToolConnect guides the user through each step of the process to further automate and prevent error. The user screens can prompt the operator through tasks, such as (1) scan the barcode, (2) confirm the tool information, (3) open the carousel door, (4) insert the tool into the (automatically indexed) position, 5) close the door, and other possible scenarios a user requires. The offsets will not be sent to the CNC control until ToolConnect has verified the correct tool is loaded into the machine and each customer-defined step in the process is successfully executed.

With ToolConnect, the system is designed to fit the users’ tool load specifications. This includes customized user screens, process flow, initial setup and system checks, and general access to the system. The system is flexible and can accommodate changes at any time. Additionally, ToolConnect has an audit log that records every step, action and data exchange, marked with date and time stamp. This data is available locally or via MTConnect; used for quality control and process verification. 

A presetter is an extremely valuable and accurate device for measuring your tools offline. Using ToolConnect in combination takes this measurement data directly to the offset table in the CNC. This eliminates error associated with manual data entry and automates the tool load process. The universal machine tool compatibility of ToolConnect provides a common interface across all machines on your shop floor, increasing operator efficiency. 

Adding the barcode scanning capability to ToolConnect provides a more affordable option for customers who do not need the extensive capabilities of the more robust and continuously reusable RFID system.

Related Glossary Terms

  • computer numerical control ( CNC)

    computer numerical control ( CNC)

    Microprocessor-based controller dedicated to a machine tool that permits the creation or modification of parts. Programmed numerical control activates the machine’s servos and spindle drives and controls the various machining operations. See DNC, direct numerical control; NC, numerical control.

  • process control

    process control

    Method of monitoring a process. Relates to electronic hardware and instrumentation used in automated process control. See in-process gaging, inspection; SPC, statistical process control.

  • quality assurance ( quality control)

    quality assurance ( quality control)

    Terms denoting a formal program for monitoring product quality. The denotations are the same, but QC typically connotes a more traditional postmachining inspection system, while QA implies a more comprehensive approach, with emphasis on “total quality,” broad quality principles, statistical process control and other statistical methods.