The Control Game Changer: The FANUC 0iF Plus with Touchscreen and iHMI
The standard FANUC 0i-F has been the industry go-to CNC control for decades. There’s a good reason for that: it’s reliable and it gets the job done. But with a whole new generation of operators entering the manufacturing workforce, it made sense to give them an interface that is as easy to use as the smartphones in their pockets.
Meet the 0i-F Plus with Touchscreen and iHMI (Intelligent Human Machine Interface). This isn’t just a cosmetic makeover (although the new look is awesome), it’s a complete design change that’s been 20 years in the making. Make no mistake about it, this is huge. We asked Bob Appleton, General Manager of Applications, and Andy McNamara, Director of National Sales, to give us their perspectives on this revolutionary new control.
Improved Look and Feel
In addition to a significant external makeover, the iHMI is loaded with new hardware. This includes a flat-panel touchscreen display and highly graphical, straightforward navigation. It also incorporates a variety of new tools and features designed to increase ease-of-use, improve operational efficiency and bring more organization to the shop floor.
Bob: “This control is a giant leap forward. You can tell by its icon-based touchscreen, similar to a cell phone, iPad or other consumer product.”
Andy: “The standard 0i-F is a great control, but it can be a little intimidating for someone just starting out. The new touchscreen on the 0i-F Plus is more in line with what younger people would expect to work with.”
The larger touchscreen viewing area is combined with ICON and text softkeys to speed up access and move through the interface a lot faster.
Bob: “The 15-inch LCD screen is a huge viewing improvement over the 10.4-inch screen on the 0i-F. This alone makes more information available to the operator at a glance.”
Andy: “The iHMI also has an improved QWERTY keyboard for a completely new ergonomic experience that provides faster manual input.”
One of the most frequent requests we’ve had from customers was for a control with more memory. It’s now available in the iHMI.
Bob: “The iHMI was designed with part program storage that jumps all the way 2MB, up from 512K, on the 0i-F Plus. The number of programs it can hold has gone from 400 to 1,000.”
Andy: “In the past, if you had long programs running off of a card, you had to DNC (drip feed) it into the control. But now the CF card acts like normal memory. You can run and edit programs on the CF card as if it was on-board memory, and you can transfer files between various media interfaces.
File Management and Navigation
The iHMI applications are now classified with four groups: Planning, Machining, Improvement and Utility. The touchscreen gives users access to the most common operations without having to navigate back and forth between multiple screens.
The file management system on the iHMI is now designed like the typical directory tree seen on PCs and has a very smooth, fluid operation. It makes it simple to get from point A to point B quickly.
Bob: “There was a tendency to get lost in a traditional FANUC control interface with all its different layers. A new HOME button on the iHMI allows you to start over and get back to zero quickly so you don’t have to worry about where you were or how you got there.”
Andy: “The EZ-Guide is now integrated into the system rather than being a separate interface as it was in the past. Now you can be programming in normal g-code language, and if you needed to program an unusual geometric shape, you can jump into EZ-Guide within the normal editor.”
Going back to the smartphone comparison, new users will find handy tools and communication capabilities on the iHMI—like a calendar with a reminder function.
Bob: “No more sticky notes left on the machine for the next shift to find (or not).”
Andy: “Shop supervisors will have the ability to link to a Remote Desktop on the computer in their office, via Ethernet. They can monitor a machine that’s in-cut and also upload CNC programs to memory.”
Bob: “The Doosan Easy Operation Package, or EOP, is also easily accessible.”
The Maintenance Manager function, an application that stands on its own, actively monitors the performance of CNC components and alerts the operator if the performance shows it might be reaching the end of its expected lifespan. When this occurs, the operator is notified with enough time to order any required replacement parts.
Bob: “The Maintenance Manager can help handle Preventive Maintenance by looking at battery levels, spindle and servo fan motor performance and much more.”
Andy: “There’s also a storage area for FANUC and machine manuals. They’re in PDF format and are searchable. You can open numerous manuals at once, tab through them and jump between them at any one time.”
The Future is Now
Eventually, all machine tool makers will employ smartphone-style interfaces on their controls. But since Doosan is one of FANUC’s top customers in the world, we are among the first to bring the 0i-F Plus with Touchscreen and iHMI to our customers.
Bob: “Of course, you don’t have to use the new features on the iHMI. The ability to switch back to the legacy screens is built right into the system.”
Andy: “That’s true. You can. But once they try the iHMI, they don’t ever go back.”