Machsupport Forum

Mach Discussion => General Mach Discussion => Topic started by: fer_mayrl on May 13, 2008, 02:59:46 PM

Title: Hypertherm THC and HPR260 with automatic console.
Post by: fer_mayrl on May 13, 2008, 02:59:46 PM
Hello Guys,
its been a loong time since i last posted, a lot of non CNC related work.

Well we have been back and forth about buying a commercial waterjet, building the table and fitting a commercial waterjet head and pump, or the same thing but for plasma.

We might have desisted on the water jet, because of all the other things that surround the operation of one (BIG BUCKS)

We have leaned toward either building, or buying a plasma machine.

We were kind of leaning toward building the table, and fit it with a hypertherm HPR260, its a hi-definition plasma big bucks too but less i think than the waterjet.

The HPR comes with an option of having an automatic gas console, in which you set the parameters of what you are cutting and the controller alone sets the type of gas and the pressure.

I was wondering if that kind on console can be controlled with Mach3, also the Command THC?

Has anyone tried to retrofit these components with mach3?, they normally use the controllers from hypertherm, which are kind of expensive but they make for a seamless integration.

hope anyone has some experience with this.
Best Regards
Title: Re: Hypertherm THC and HPR260 with automatic console.
Post by: poppabear on May 14, 2008, 11:28:03 AM
To talk to the Hypertherm (it uses ASCII), so you will need to use a PLC as an intermediary between Mach3 and the Hypertherm.

You can convert mach control modbus output/ to the Ascii command needed via the Hypertherm. I think they use Profi-bus.
So your PLC will need to do Profi, or a plug in card that can do that. You will have to convert the Inputs and Outputs of the Ascii, to some type of digit that means something to Mach.

Title: Re: Hypertherm THC and HPR260 with automatic console.
Post by: fer_mayrl on May 16, 2008, 10:40:59 AM
Unfortunately i always get reffered to my local distributor (mexico) when i try to talk to someone, and frankly they dont know much about technical questions other than what they can read on the brochures.

I´ll just might have to settle with a max200 which doesnt have the automatic console, because the interphase between mach and the consol is beyond my capabilities.

Thanks again for your reply, ill keep trying to get info on that from hypertherm.

Best Regards
Title: Re: Hypertherm THC and HPR260 with automatic console.
Post by: Whacko on May 19, 2008, 05:11:13 PM
Why dont you use the manual gas console? We are OEM partners with Hypertherm and we fit the HPR260 to our machines. The Automatic console is quite more expensive than the manual console. The manual console is very easy to operate and implement. Just a note, if you plan on fitting a HPR260 to mach3 you might run into some problems you want to know about.

Title: Re: Hypertherm THC and HPR260 with automatic console.
Post by: fer_mayrl on May 19, 2008, 05:23:43 PM
Hey Wacko
Thanks for your reply!

Yes we have considered using the manual console, I guess the only benefit we can have from using the automatic console is cutting and piercing on the fly. But its no problem we can just make 2 toolpaths.

Do you use Mach3 with your OEM equipment? What are you using for THC?

It would be very helpful to know about the problems i might run into when using the HPR260 with mach3.
Hope you can help.
Title: Re: Hypertherm THC and HPR260 with automatic console.
Post by: Whacko on May 19, 2008, 05:52:57 PM
Fernando, you can use the manual console for cutting and piercing on the fly. The automatic console allows for macros, but to tie into Mach3 you will need a translater. We fit Mechanised systems from the Powermax range to the Max200, HT2000, HPR260 to our own system developed with a custom DOS controller. This was developed some years ago by myself in assembler (MASM6.11) and is dedicated to the application realtime. But we have development ongoing with Mach3, and have two machines running the Mach3 control. But there is a few problems with stability as far as WinXP and Mach3 and what we plan to do with the control. We fit the THC Command from Hypertherm if the customer chooses, or we have our own height control which features Arcvolt, initial and pierce height etc. at a much lower price.

The problems you will face is related to machine stability, real smooth interpolation is required, or you will see it in the cut quality, and then offcourse there is the HV/HF noise problems as well as a massive emf that will destroy CRT monitors if it is placed too close to current cables or the main Power source. But it is possible to use Mach3 with the HPR260.

If you need some technical information on the interface etc. I will help you.

Title: Re: Hypertherm THC and HPR260 with automatic console.
Post by: poppabear on May 19, 2008, 06:37:38 PM
Hey Wacko,

    I would love any pearls of wisdom you would inpart on interfacing to the Hypertherm Control with Mach3. I have a CNC plazma cutter coming up, and the client wants to use a Hypertherm (with the cnc automatic control).

Title: Re: Hypertherm THC and HPR260 with automatic console.
Post by: fer_mayrl on May 19, 2008, 06:57:02 PM
Yes, I was made aware about the high frequency interference, i was considering maybe some kind of enclosure that wouldnt be affected by the highfrequency, (faraday cage maybe)

We have run Mach3 on our house built cnc router, not too many problems regarding stability, i might add.

Would you think that mach3 does not have smooth enough interpolation to be able to get the best out of an HPR260?

Would you say there is a seamless integration between the command THC by hypertherm and Mach3?

Would you say that a hypertherm THC would outperform the low cost alternatives (campbell's and jim cullins) and yours?

On a mechanical issue, what sort of accelerations would be good for a good quality cnc plasma, I was told by my hypertherm distributor that 0.04 G is good.

Best Regards
Title: Re: Hypertherm THC and HPR260 with automatic console.
Post by: Whacko on May 20, 2008, 02:42:15 PM
Hi Scott, which plasma machine model would you like to fit to your machine? There is a difference between the Powermax range and the high end systems like the Hydef, the HSD, the HT2000 etc. You might want to take a look at the website there is a wealth of information as to the models and their capabilities. The Powermax machines is straight forward, you need a contact to start the plasma, and there is a contact available for arc transfer. If you configure Mach3 for plasma and you have the THC enabled (Torch on input pin enabled), Mach3 will wait for the arc transfer signal before the controller will move. It also stops if the arc transfer signal is lost, due to off plate etc. Integration with the Powermax's is easy.

I have attached 3 files, they are pages from the HPR manual on system integration. They describe the input and output requirements and the one page is the interface. The interface is accessed via a 37pin D type connector on the inside of the machine. The page describe the interface options.

If you would have a look at the pages, we can discuss what you need to know if some items isn't clear.

Fernando, it might be best to consider a LCD display for the controller. All the cables supplied from Hypertherm is screened, and if you follow the rules you won't have a problem. As far as stability is concerned, I am speaking from my own experience, and it is possible that I might be doing something wrong.
The interpolation from Mach3 is not as smooth as realtime generic controllers. The reason for this is not so much Mach3, as for Win XP which is a multitasking OS. The Mach3 pulse engine cannot force realtime, so the times in interupt is inconsistent. This is been my finding on Intel Celeron, Intel P4 @3.2 GHZ, AMD Athlon 64 @ 3.2 GHZ and Intel Dual processor @ 2 GHZ. All these systems tested had in excess of 2 GByte ram. We tested various chipset motherboards, from Intel to foxconn etc. and the result is the same. Linear interpolation in angular movement is not 100% on blended velocity either, which definitely shows in the end result. The COMMAND THC from Hypertherm is very much a stand alone unit with it's own pendant control and will integrate with Mach3. It is of high quality and has various modes of plate sensing. Using the THC from Hypertherm will thus have less dependency on the Mach3 interface and will release resources. It also integrates the ARC VOLT HEIGHT control with the HPR130/260 and other mechanised Hypertherm plasma systems so the system integrator do not need to be concerned about High Voltages and HF interference. But obviously comes at a price. I don't think the Campbell or Cullins height controls have been used to control the height on HPR systems although I stand to be corrected.
As far as our own control, we use it on the HPR and other systems, but it integrates with our own CNC system and have not been developed as a stand alone system. It would be possible to do so in the future.
The RS422 serial communication you see on the interface .pdf page could be a real headache interfacing to Mach3. This is one of the areas we are have a major problem with the Mach3 interface. You cannot implement a modbus serial link, so you have to use the native serial port facility in Mach3. This is unstable at present, and it seems there could be a bug in Mach3. The Mach3 controller looses control over the serial port and crashes, it is an inter-mittend fault and we are currently working on maybe a plug in or a background process to overcome this.
For any plasma application, the highest acceleration parameter is always the best, because during acceleration and deceleration the arc height must be disabled and the CV speed is compromised, changing the cut quality and the kerf.
I cannot speak for the Campbell or the Cullins height controls, as I have not encountered any of them or evaluated/compared them. I have heard good reports of them being used on the Powermax range but have not heard or seen them being used on HPR systems.

So lets move on from here.
Title: Re: Hypertherm THC and HPR260 with automatic console.
Post by: poppabear on May 20, 2008, 10:07:27 PM

   On the smoothness issue, couldnt you increase the points per unit such that the little moves are so small as to know really show on cut?
I.e. I use Automation direct alot, the Encouder is 10000 counts (plus you can do electronic gearing), Further you can Tune the Drive to smooth out the "Jerks".

Next thing: I figured I would need to go through a PLC translator, (programming in the PLC), to translate the ASCII to Decimal codes that means something to Mach, and the reverse going the other way.  My question was, I want to be able to access the "Brain" inside the (higher end units), so I can pull and push info out of its data registers on the fly......

Thank you for the circuits, for the base control. I have done my share of Hex-ASCII code translations in PLC's, but I havent really fooled around alot with the Profi-bus.

BTW:  What company do you work for?

Title: Re: Hypertherm THC and HPR260 with automatic console.
Post by: Whacko on May 21, 2008, 03:46:22 PM
Hi Scott,
Firstly, can you verify which model plasma from Hypertherm you intend to interface? I'm assuming it's the Hydefinition HPR260, but let me know if this isn't correct.
The plasma systems operate in a wide range of speeds where from 200 mm even up to 20 meter per minute effective cutting is possible and rapid speed of 50 meter is desirable. Thus increasing the resolution has practical limits. We do not really experience "jerking" as such, but have some cv related problems. With Arc volt height control and Hydefinition cutting applications it is more evident than on the single gas systems like the Powermax range. Remember that if you have set the Arc voltage to acquire a cutting height, the speed is very important, and too slow a speed can cause the torch to maintain an incorrect height and even cause expensive damage. The Hydefinition plasma systems implement an advanced feature to reduce/increase the current proportional to the speed for better corner and small radius cutting, and more transparency to the CNC as to machine state and error codes as well as pressure management for piercing and post flow. The automatic console allows for macro's which will set parameters automatic for different materials. I am not 100% sure of what you require but I will give you the info as you need it. It is possible with Mach3 to communicate with the HPR.

My company is called Multicon and I'm the sole owner. I had a British partner some years ago, but he left the company and went back to the UK.

Title: Re: Hypertherm THC and HPR260 with automatic console.
Post by: DennisCNC on May 21, 2008, 10:05:00 PM
I have been collecting parts for plasma cutter also and one note about the MAX200 units is their consumable life is very short compared to a hydef unit.  The max200 gets ~200 or less starts and the other ones get over 1,000 starts on electrodes.   So I got one of these:

It's a Thermal Arc 500 amp power source with everything included.