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What is Tool Presetting?

Tool presetting is the Industry 4.0 evolution of traditional tool setting. It takes the process of gathering essential data from tools before they are put to work and performs the measurements in a fraction of the time using high-class optics. Specifications such as the length, diameter, and cutting edge radius of tools are then translated by CNC programs to ensure accuracy in the machines’ work and maximise production within tolerances. Many modern presetting solutions also measure extra variables such as run-out, and can forecast the expected hours before a tool needs replacing.

CNC machines rely on accurate dimensions and tool data to perform their jobs properly. Crashes occur when they have the wrong information to work off of, leading to damaged tools and wasted time as the necessary precautions and replacements are carried out. Even if something as disruptive as a crash doesn’t take place, incorrect tooling data might lead a machine to make parts that don’t meet tolerance or are outside of specification, leading to waste – both physically and in terms of production time. This is not to mention the hit to reputation if deadlines cannot be met thanks to human error.

Rather than being carried out on the machine itself before the job begins, presetting is carried out offline, meaning that whilst one tool is in use on the machine, another can be measured in preparation for their switch out. This information is then transferred to the CNC machine via methods such as RFID chips, scannable ID codes, or wireless connectivity – saving time and minimising the aforementioned crashes and errors due to operator fault. Measurements can be taken in minutes and confirmed with a simple test run, rather than spending cumulative hours over the course of a week in tool set up. It’s why presetting solutions such as the ZOLLER Smile are becoming must-haves for the shopfloor.

In modern industry, the capacity to preset and inspect tools is now practically synonymous with reducing overhead. Keeping machines running longer and avoiding downtime as much as possible reduces wasted or ‘dead’ time. For businesses operating CNC machines, presetting just makes sense. It reduces opportunity cost and gets more efficiency out of existing machines, rather than buying new machines to try and push capacity up. Productivity and accuracy increase, scrap and downtime decrease; all of this leads to a rapid return on investment and greater confidence for both supplier and clients.

Find out more about ZOLLER’s wealth of tool setting options by speaking with our experts today.