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Automated Machine Setup AutoClock

Create a strong and stable part machining platform.

We guarantee you can make perfect parts. Starting with AutoClock in your machine tool setup, all errors can be removed from your part machining processes - automatically, with no human intervention.

Accurate probe setup

If you want to fully automate your machine setup but you still have to manually set up and calibrate your probes, AutoClock is the solution. AutoClock is a patented device that stops human error affecting the accuracy of your probe calibration, and the quality of your parts.

Maximum accuracy, guaranteed.

No matter how much time and money you've invested in probing, you'll never achieve the level of accuracy or quality you expected – especially if you or your operators don’t fully understand the ripple effect of losing microns in your probe setup.

AutoClock delivers extremely accurate measurements, to within one micron, with highly repeatable results.

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AutoClock tool render
AutoClock tool render

Trusted machine capability

Combining the accuracy of AutoClock with the power of NC-Checker, you can get a complete understanding of your machine’s performance and machining methodologies. You can carry out a full diagnostic of your machine’s capabilities in minutes, and analyse the effect this will ultimately have on your parts.

Spot the difference

Different machining methodologies can result in different part problems, even when cutting parts on the same machine. Running AutoClock alongside NC-Checker, you can assess the impact of these differences and automatically optimise your machine setup to ensure you create perfect parts, every time.

Power to your people

The accuracy of the AutoClock’s measurement results mean your team can have complete confidence in the machine setup. The fact it is automated means you can have complete confidence in the repeatability of your machining processes, and trust their impact on the quality of your parts.

Safety first

AutoClock is the only device that enables you to operate a completely closed-door machining environment when using probing as part of your process.

AutoClock is fully automated, so there is no reason for anyone to enter the machine volume. This makes it safer for your people, and better for your business.

Tool mockup

AutoClock is your solution

Part process automation

At the moment, setting the machine's work offset accurately, or 'clocking in' the sphere, is a manual process carried out by someone using DTI equipment, feeler gauges or base masters. The accuracy of this process is totally dependent on the skill and care of the operator. It also takes time to ensure maximum accuracy.

Automated part process production lines that require high accuracy need regular recalibration of the probe to maintain that accuracy. Until now there has been no solution to this problem as the only methods have been manual.

AutoClock is the answer.

How does AutoClock work?

  • The AutoClock macro locates AutoClock's sphere in XYZ and then uses MSP's patented metrology to confirm that the location is accurate.

  • Throughout AutoClock's calibration process, the machine's work offset is reset to correct for any errors in the machine's kinematic setup.

  • The calibration sequence refines the work offset to within one or two microns of accuracy and is then repeated to confirm the result.

  • The full calibration sequence is designed to give you confidence that your probing system is set up for maximum accuracy and part quality.

What are the options?

There are two AutoClock solutions: standalone or fully automated.

Manual

The manual solution returns the AutoClock calibration results to a WiFi-enabled device and requires the operator to manually enter values into the machine controller to reset the work offset.

Fully automated

The fully automated solution automatically updates the calibration results to the controller, requiring no human intervention.

Dimensions

Compliance

AutoClock complies to all relevant European Directives. It is in conformity with the following relevant product safety standards:

EN 61326-1: 2013

EN 301489-1 V2.1.1

Draft EN 301489-17 V3.2.0

The Declaration of Conformity is included in the AutoClock User Guide which comes with the product.

Operating conditions

AutoClock is specified to operate under the following conditions:

Temperature range

Operating: 15 °C to 35 °C (59 °F to 95 °F).

Storage: -25 °C to 70 °C (-13 °F to 158 °F)

Max movement

200mm/m

Battery

Rechargeable batteries are an option, but will have a lower lifespan.

Please dispose of batteries in accordance relevant regulations for yourlocation and industry.

Why should I use AutoClock if my machine already has tools to correct the probe’s position validation?

For micron accurate probe setup and subsequent calibration of the probe, you need to establish the mechanical position of the calibration artefact to microns in the machine independently of where the controller thinks it is. This is often referred to as the electronic position of the artefact on the controller.

You can’t rely on inbuilt machine macros or software to do this because they all assume that the electronic position is correct.

You can either check the difference between the mechanical and electronic position manually - which is prone to human error, or you can use the patented AutoClock device to automatically and repeatedly adjust any differences within a couple of microns.

How does AutoClock work?

AutoClock works in two ways - in manual operation and with the automation add-on.

Both the manual AutoClock device and the automation add-on use the same configuration software to set the parameters for connecting to and driving AutoClock on your machine tool. These parameters are used in both the manual and automated AutoClock macros to run the AutoClock calibration sequence.

For manual operation, you configure your macro parameters, run the manual macro on the controller, and view the new work offset on a WiFi-enabled device such as a mobile phone or tablet. During the calibration and verification sequences, you manually update the work offset on the machine controller.

With automated operation, the NC-AutoClock software communicates directly with both the AutoClock and the controller. NC-AutoClock automatically updates the work offset on the controller.

How does NC-AutoClock automatically update the work offset in the controller?

The NC-AutoClock software integrates directly with the controller and the automated AutoClock macro drives the AutoClock device. NC-AutoClock must run on a PC-based device that has an Ethernet connection to the controller and a WiFi connection to the AutoClock device. NC-AutoClock detects the calculated XYZ work offset and updates the controller automatically.

As part of the AutoClock macro, a verification sequence is run to confirm that the automatic update of the work offset has been successful. This gives you 100% confidence in the AutoClock calibration result.

Which machine controllers does AutoClock work on?

AutoClock is pre-configured for use on the following controllers:

  • Siemens 840D and 828D

  • Heidenhain 640i and 530i

  • Fanuc 30i onwards

  • Mazak Smooth and Matrix ISO

If you are an experienced operator and capable of macro programming for your controller, we can provide guides for self programming AutoClock for use on other controllers.

What are the network connectivity requirements for running AutoClock?

AutoClock is a WiFi-enabled device that requires no hard-wiring into your machine tool.

The manual AutoClock device requires a WiFi-enabled device, such as a mobile phone, tablet or WiFi-enabled PC.
The automation add-on requires a Windows-based PC or other interface device that can connect via Ethernet to the controller, and through WiFi to the AutoClock.

If your PC does not have built-in WiFi capability, MSP can supply a WiFi dongle as part of your delivery pack. This may need to be purchased in your country of origin, if applicable.

Is AutoClock useful on a 3-axis machine?

AutoClock matches the electronic parameters in the machine controller with the mechanical movements made by the machine. AutoClock’s calibration sequence verifies the position of the work offset (usually Z) within 1-2 microns. This is just as important with 3-axis machines as it is with 5-axis machines if you want to use probing to improve your stock material setup and make accurate parts.

How does AutoClock run with NC-Checker?

If you have MSP’s NC-Checker software, you can run a single macro that performs an AutoClock calibration, probe calibration and then an MSP Benchmark.

The process for running this single macro is:

  • Load the AutoClock device into the machine, either manually or using a pallet-loading system.

  • Select and run the macro. This performs three fully-automated tasks:

  • Run the AutoClock macro to start probing the Autoclock’s sphere to find X,Y & Z zero points of the sphere and update the work offset accordingly.

  • Start a fully automated MSP Probe Calibration sequence.

  • Automatically start an MSP Benchmark process that runs until a benchmark report has been produced.

At the end of the process, you will have an accurate work offset, fully-calibrated probe in 5-axis and a full Benchmark, from one macro execution. With a pallet-loading system the process can be run on a regular, automated schedule that sets up the machine ready for production.

The AutoClock macros can also be added into your Macro Validation check and be part of your Benchmark report and archive.

Can I write my own macro to automate my machine setup?

We supply a template for a single macro that runs the AutoClock, probe calibration and benchmark report.

If you want to change the process for any reason, you can use this sample macro and change it to suit your purposes.

For example, you may want one macro that runs a full Benchmark, and another that runs a mini Benchmark. Or you may not want to run the probe calibration at the same time as the AutoClock calibration and Benchmark.

You can also add specific calls to other macros to configure your process. These macros can be added into your Macro Validation check and be part of your Benchmark report and archive.

How accurately do I need to place the AutoClock in the machine?

The AutoClock device is designed to be used vertically on a flat machine table for setting a single work offset. If you want to mount the AutoClock in any other orientation, or have any other requirements, please discuss this with MSP before placing an order.

What is the minimum PC specification to run the NC-AutoClock software?

NC-AutoClock will run on any Windows PC, from Windows 7 upwards.

Can’t find an answer to your query?

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What’s included in the AutoClock package?

1
Manual

The manual package will give you:

AutoClock device: a high-quality product, built to withstand the pressures of a machine-tool environment.

AutoClock macros: a suite of pre-built macros for standard controllers.

Macro Configurator: a tool that will help you configure the AutoClock macro for use on your specific machines.

Quickstart Guide: to get you started with using the AutoClock.

AutoClock User Guide: with full technical, troubleshooting and compliance information.

2
Automation Add-on

The fully automated package is an add-on to the standalone package and will give you:

Automation Software: an application that will integrate seamlessly with your machine tool.

Automation macros: a suite of pre-built macros, modified for automation.

Ethernet cable: to connect the machine to a PC or the Controller Interface Box.

Optional Controller Interface Box: for where a connected PC is not available.

Optional MSP install: we can send our Application Engineers to set up AutoClock and train your team.

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