The MicroMac DNC Machine Tool system, DigiMac, provides a web-based
interface for managing DNC machine programs, and for downloading the
control programs to networked DNC machines.
MicroMac were given the requirement to convert a DOS-based system
that used a Btrieve database for managing DNC machine programs and a
Windows desktop application for machine communication,
to an integrated, web-based application that used a SQL Server database.
With wide experience in both relational databases and in engineering
environments, MicroMac were able to implement the system within timescale
and budget using the latest Microsoft.NET
programming language, C#.
To minimise the training requirements in a busy Production environment, the DigiMac
user interface was developed to emulate the operation of the original DOS system.
As well as preserving the appearance of the old system, special attention was
given in the design to reproduce the responsiveness of the original DOS application.
These decisions meant that the system gained quick user acceptance, while delivering
the benefits of a modern application architecture.
DNC machine communication is achieved in DigiMac by transferring data to and
from DNC machines over a standard TCP/IP network. DNC machines are connected
to the network using a network port, a small device which provides a TCP/IP to
Serial interface. The network port is attached to the DNC machine using a serial
port connection and attached to the network using a standard ethernet connection.
The network port manages the transfer of data between the network, the device
buffer and the DNC machine.
With the integrated system, when a program is loaded to a DNC machine, the program
history in the SQL Server database is automatically updated to reflect the latest
load details. DigiMac provides functions to manage the DNC program header
details, import and register new programs and export existing details. The DNC machine
details are also managed through DigiMac, to allow serial port settings to be configured
to meet the requirements of individual machines.