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Author Topic: Neuron.THC Torch Height Control (plasma)  (Read 58627 times)

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Neuron.THC Torch Height Control (plasma)
« on: November 30, 2013, 01:26:42 AM »
The Neuron.THC is a ARM microprocessor-based torch height control system which controls the torch-to-work distance of a plasma torch during cutting operations. The system includes a control module, plasma system interface module, interconnecting cables and optional operator control module.

-Works with all plasma cutting systems.
-Connect via Ethernet interface to Mach3 CNC  and controls Z axis directly. No additional parallel port or port multiplexing.
-All Parameters are set and displayed from Control Panel integrated in Mach3. Quick access and changing of all parameters.
-Unlimited number of cut profiles for different metal thicknesses. Quickly switch between profiles and the ability to quick edit them.
-No matter to set parameters in G-Code.
-Set point resolution - 0.25V
-Set point range - 25 - 250V
-Maximum control accuracy - +/-0.25V
-Voltage feedback (divider) - 1:20, 1:10 of Arc Voltage
-Buffered Step & Direction for direct interface to Motor Drive.
-All inputs are isolated and Simple wiring.
-Sample voltage mode - THC measures the voltage at the end of the AVC Delay and uses it as a set point for the remainder of the cut.
-Skip IHS mode - If the next starting point is within this distance of the end of the previous cut, the THC skips the IHS.
-Improved Jog  - the lifter initially jogs 0.25 mm. After 0.5 second, it begins continuous  motion at the IHS Speed. After 1.5 seconds, the lifter increases the speed to the programmed Manual Speed.
-Automatic control of ventilation.
-There are the relays on the board which produce Preflow during IHS and Pierce End signals. 
-Integrated diagnostic system informs the operator of the errors that occurred.
-Ability to work in trial mode without limitation functions until the end of the set value of the pierce count. Further work is possible after entering the activation code (for OEM manufacturer).
-Easy Software update using the utility NeuronFlasher.
-....... https://sites.google.com/site/thcneuron/neuron-thc-english


--Andrew
A little more information
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2014, 02:28:16 AM »
    Neuron.THC is standalone Torch Height Controller, connected to Mach3 via 10/100 Base-T Ethernet interface and controls the Z axis motor driver directly (internal motion controller).
 
    Neuron.THC is not use Mach3 internal THC logic. Only commands Start, Stop, Motion, AVC enable/disable...etc. Ethernet connection frees LPT port, provides a powerful, real-time and user-friendly interface. All Parameters are programmed and displayed from Control window integrated in Mach3 (the window has a size of 450x330 pixels and can be used with your favorite ScreenSet).

    Unlike other THC's in this price category, the processing power behind the Neuron.THC is an 32-bit ARM microprpocessor. The Neuron.THC uses advanced DSP (digital signal processing) software servo control loops to control speed, position and arc voltage with unparalleled precision. Servo cycle is 500 microseconds, it is 200 times faster than the internal logic of the THC Mach3.

    The Neuron.THC consists of the following components:
  • Control module (board)
    Plasma interface module (board)
    Optional operator’s control module (board)
    Interface Cables
    Mach3 Plugin and Screenset for plasma cutting applications
    Сontrol module board has a size 125x150 mm and can be easily embedded inside the CNC controller. Connection is very simple.

    Features

    The  Neuron.THC comes standard with the following features:
  • Works with ALL plasma cutting systems
    Connect via 10/100 Base-T Ethernet interface to Mach3 CNC and controls Z axis directly (Internal motion controller, Software DSP (digital signal processing) control loop - 500 uS cycle)
    Unlimited number of cut profiles for different metal thicknesses. Quickly switch between profiles and the ability to quick edit them
    Set point resolution - .25V
    Set point range - 25 - 250V (set just by clicking the mouse button and wheel on the Target Arc Voltage textbox on ControlPanel or turning the encoder knob on the operator panel)
    Maximum control accuracy - +/- .25V
    Voltage feedback (divider) - 1:20 (Hypitherm), 1:10 (internal) of Arc Voltage
    100 kHz maximum step frequency
    Automatic or manual control of the cutting sequence
    Retract height selectable between full or programmed partial raise height
    Programmable automatic positioner speed
    Programmable manual positioner speed
    Programmable maximum Z axis stroke (SoftLimit function)
    Programmable arc transfer height
    Programmable pierce height
    Programmable pierce time
    Programmable cutting height
    Programmable AVC (arc voltage control) delay time
    Programmable torch retract height
    Programmable Jump height above the workpiece that the torch is raised to clear the top dross puddle that can form during the pierce.
    Programmable IHS (initial height sensing) touch speed
    Programmable AGI (automatic gas initiator) starts plasma torch preflow during IHS - enable/disable  (open drain 5A 250V contact)
    Programmable crossover height (high-to-low speed transition point)
    Programmable AVC.OFF control to help prevent torch crashing when end of cut, circle of small radius - enable/disable, mm.
    Programmable arc voltage limiter to help prevent torch crashing when crossing a kerf - enable/disable, level, voltage
    Programmable arc voltage control loop proportional gain
    Sample voltage mode - THC measures the voltage at the end of the AVC Delay and uses it as a set point for the remainder of the cut.
    Skip IHS mode - If the next starting point is within this distance of the end of the previous cut, the THC skips the IHS.
    Improved Jog - the lifter initially jogs 0.25 mm. After 0.5 second, it begins continuous motion at the IHS Speed. After 1.5 seconds, the lifter increases the speed to the programmed Manual Speed
    Jog just by clicking the mouse button and wheel on the Position textbox or by pressing the up / down button on Operator Panel
    Buffered Step & Direction for direct interface to Motor Drive (26LS31 Driver)
    All inputs (include arc voltage) are isolated and Simple wiring (RJ45 connectors)
    Automatic control of ventilation (open drain 5A 250V contact)
    Pierce End output signals (open drain 5A 250V contact)
    Built-in pierce and cut time counter to control consumables
    Integrated diagnostic system informs the operator of the errors that occurred
    Plotting the arc voltage and save to file for diagnostics
    Easy Software update using the utility NeuronFlasher

https://sites.google.com/site/thcneuron/neuron-thc-english
neuron.shad@gmail.com[/color]
--Andrew
Neuron.THC Torch Height Control (plasma) - NEW Lite version
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2014, 02:27:27 AM »
A new version of the controller - Lite.
Lite version has no relay outputs for oxygen plasma cutting systems and relay outputs for the ventilation system.
No other differences.
--Andrew
Re: Neuron.THC Torch Height Control (plasma)
« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2014, 12:54:09 PM »
Hi,

what would be the price?

And the most important question- does it offer some control at cutting corners and similar? Does it stop the torch going down?

thanks!

Offline stirling

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Re: Neuron.THC Torch Height Control (plasma)
« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2014, 11:29:00 AM »
Can I just correct something you've said about Mach3's internal THC functionality.

(The Neuron's) Servo cycle is 500 microseconds, it is 200 times faster than the internal logic of the THC Mach3.

...which means you're stating that Mach's THC loop period is 1/10th of a second.

This is absolutely wrong. You may be confusing it with Mach's screen update period or perhaps even Mach's macro-pump period.

The THC loop in Mach is at kernel speed so just 40 microseconds for the (slowest) 25KHz kernel.
Re: Neuron.THC Torch Height Control (plasma)
« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2014, 06:33:54 AM »
Hi!
...which means you're stating that Mach's THC loop period is 1/10th of a second.
Yes you're absolutely right, that the kernel speed of the Mach3 is 40 microseconds for the (slowest) 25KHz kernel, but I mean that the poll  of the input signals (THCUP and THCDOWN from the most Torch Height Control system) is 1/10 of a second or from plugin (from 100 msec to 25 msec).

Hi,

what would be the price? 

And the most important question- does it offer some control at cutting corners and similar? Does it stop the torch going down?
-- The price is $450 for Lite version (Main board, Operator panel board, Plasma Unit interface board).

--Yes, in the latest SW version has been added  control of the ThcOn\Off  from G-code  on corners, small circle and end of cut (SheetCamTNG CodeSnippets option) without pause in motion. But  the controller has a built-in algorithm for these events and it works just as well.

--Andrew
Re: Neuron.THC Torch Height Control (plasma)
« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2014, 06:57:07 AM »
I am building a machine Using Galil Ethernet board DMC-2183 and servo on all axis which most possibly will be driven in step dir mode. Normally there would be spindle mounted but from time to time i would like to plasma cut. And that without removing the spindle, just encosing its lower part for protection.

So how will that work in my case? Would that be possible? The Galil board has its own plugin to be able to work with mach3 and occupies one Ethernet port.

What are the solutions in that case? Switching to another board when plasma cutting or the control can work on its own, just sending it step dir signals and programming it separately.

Could you please shed some light on this?

Thanks!
Re: Neuron.THC Torch Height Control (plasma)
« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2014, 10:15:12 AM »
Hi silyavski!
You can connect Galil and Neuron to Mach3 CNC trough ethernet switch. Step/Dir output from Galil and Neuron can be connected to servo through a simple switch.  When you wiil be use the spidle - Disable the Neuron power and connect galil step/dir to servo. If you will be cutting - power on Neuron and connect Neuron step/dir interface to servo. Work program you have to make in SheetCam by Mach3 Plazma no Z.spost (NO Z AXIS - all stages of the cutting will control the Neuron.THC )
--Andrew

Offline stirling

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Re: Neuron.THC Torch Height Control (plasma)
« Reply #8 on: August 17, 2014, 08:53:59 AM »
but I mean that the poll  of the input signals (THCUP and THCDOWN from the most Torch Height Control system) is 1/10 of a second or from plugin (from 100 msec to 25 msec).

Hi

yes I know what you mean - but as I've said - I disagree. Please see attached logic analyser scans.

Scan1.jpg is of a test function of my THC. It's simply toggling the UP/DOWN signals to Mach every 1ms i.e at 1KHz. This is a plain vanilla Mach running the parallel port. You can see that Mach correctly responds to each and every UP/DOWN signal by toggling the DIR pin and sending a step pulse - i.e. it's doing this at 1KHz - in perfect sync with the THC. Not something it could do - I hope you agree - if Mach was just polling at 10Hz.

In the second scan I've upped the rate to 2KHz to match your 500 microseconds THC loop. Again - Mach keeps in step with it no problem.

This is not in any way to dis your THC. However I think it is wrong to state as you have both here and on your web page that...

Servo cycle is 500 microseconds, it is 200 times faster than the internal logic of the THC Mach3.

...because as I hope I've shown - it is not true.
Re: Neuron.THC Torch Height Control (plasma)
« Reply #9 on: August 17, 2014, 03:12:06 PM »
Hi stirling!

Your chart inspire confidence! I see that Mach3 polls the input port assigned as THCUP/THCDOWN, at the kernel speed of the Mach3.
It is unfortunate that no such data in the documents on Mach3?! I found the information that at such a rate is polled only ESTOP input.
I am very happy that now a lot of people know about it!

IMHO is not so important how fast the controller can pull the Mach3 input ports for move torch UP/DOWN, but as is fast measured arc voltage, executing a loop of the PID control and controls the motror drive  in dependence on the value of the error between target and real arc voltage. And when I say about servo cycle it main = ARC voltage measurement -> PID -> Motor control.

At the beginning of the develop (8 years  ago) I refused from this THCUP/THCDOWN method of torch height control. The system was either too slow or oscillated because this method does not use a PID algorithm.

Now everything is working fine. Load the program, select a profile and start cutting.  :)

I correct the my web page.
Thanks!!!
« Last Edit: August 17, 2014, 03:14:54 PM by shad71 »
--Andrew