Using Your Kyndill Controller
The following sections include warnings, requirements and descriptions for general use of your Kyndill ATHC System. For complete documentation of the ATHC, Breakaway Mount, and Software please download the Kyndill Operation Manual.
Science of Plasma Cutting
Prior to making your first cut it is best to understand how the plasma torch works. A plasma cutter creates an electrical arc between the torch tip and the material. It is necessary for the plasma cutter to maintain the electrical arc to continue to generate plasma.
Guides and Tips for the ATHC System
The following are tips to assure proper functionality of your system and avoid potential damage.
- Plug your voltage controller into a well grounded AC outlet.
- ALWAYS keep your voltage controller's ground separate from your gantry ground.
- Supply a grounding rod to properly adn effectively ground your gantry.
- Ensure your communications cable, between voltage controller and motor, is properly seated and secured using the cable's supplied lockdown screws.
- NEVER tie wrap communications cable and torch cable together. Cables should remain as far apart as possible within your cable track.
- If your cables need to cross or touch, they should do so perpendicular to each other. Never parallel to each other.
- Clamp your work lead directly to the material you are cutting.
- CHECK YOUR CONSUMABLES. The retaining cap and swirl ring should only be finger tight. If the cap is over tightened the electrode may not move freely enough to funtion properly.
- The air pressure fed into your plasma torch must be in the range of 90 to 120 psi in order to consistently create plasma in a given range of 65 to 90 psi. If you are using a compressor to supply air to more than one line at a time be sure that it can maintain a level of pressure to allow all lines to be consistently supplied; otherwise your tank may be draining faster than the compressor can recharge the holding tank.
- Start with manual cutting whenever you are changing type, or thickness of material. Consult the manufacturer's cut chart for your plasma cutter, as it will help you to define the amount of amperage, air pressure, voltage, and cutting speeds to give you the best results possible.
Description of ATHC Software Default Settings
- Proportional Gain - (Factory setting: 9) How aggressively the motor moves to hold voltage. A larger number here equals larger moves when stepping.
- Internal Gain - (Factory setting: 4) How aggressively the motor adjusts the torch height when close to the voltage set point.
- Set Integral Limit - (Factory setting: 200) How much integral will affect movement when further from voltage set point.
- Set Average Filter - (Factory setting: 40) How much the display will be affected when voltage is jumping around/adjusting.
- Set Scaling Gain - (Factory setting is determined through calibration. This number will vary slightly) Calibration number of analog/digital conversion units to voltage.
- Set Scaling Offset - (Factory setting is .00 - A successful calibration will always produce this result.) Bias correction factor scaling volts.
- Set Backlash Comp - (Factory setting is .13)
- Auto Sense Low Limit - (Factory setting is 80v)
- Auto Sense High Limit - (Factory setting is 130v)
- Set Auto Sense Time - (Factory setting is 7)
- Bearing Test Mode - Used after mechanical consumables are replaced to test and perform break in of new components.
- Download Program to Motor - Downloads controller's firmware version to motor.
- Perform Echo Test - (For Troubleshooting) See "Echo Test" setting on the support page.
Special ATHC Key Combinations
Pressing certains keys together, or at power up, has special functions:
- Cut, Up, and Down (at power-up) - This restores the controller to factory defaults, erasing any stored profiles. The buttons must be held until "Clearing E-Prom" is displayed.
- Up and Down - This will cause the display to immediately change the voltage monitoring screen. It does not have any effect during parameter entry.
When working on or maintaining your plasma cutting system, be sure to disconnect all power sources. High voltages and amperages are present and can be fatal.
For arc voltage interface installation follow manufacturer’s instructions carefully.
Always follow all plasma system manufacturers’ safety precautions. These cautions also apply to the height controller system.
While the Torch height control can dramatically reduce the dependency of human intervention in the cutting process, never leave the machine unattended while cutting. Parts may “tip-up” after being cut and interfere with machine travel.
Plasma cutting systems produce high EMI (electromagnetic interference) which can cause unpredictable electronic system effects and operation. To reduce the potential of interference, always separate the control cables from the plasma torch cable by at least 6 inches where possible.
The work clamp, or ground wire, should always be attached to the material that you are cutting. This will ensure that the electricity needed to cut through the material is flowing from the Torch tip (Negative charge) to the work clamp (Positive charge) in a path of least resistance.
NOTE: Attaching the work clamp to the table can cause this electricity to flow through other components of the table, such as the motors, and cause internal damage.
Your plasma system must have an available output for raw arc voltage. Raw arc voltage is equal to the actual cutting voltage and is not conditioned by a voltage divider to reduce the sensing voltage. If your system has a voltage divider or reduced sensing voltage, consult Torchmate to have your system calibrated to work with your plasma system. Use 18-20 gauge wire.
Your plasma system must have two wires that can be used to initiate plasma cutting by connecting these two wires together with either a switch or relay contact with a load no greater than 2 amps. The torch height control has a relay internally to accomplish this task. If your plasma requires more than a 2 amp signal, an external relay can be added. Consult Torchmate for details. You will need to supply a two conductor cable from the THC to the plasma unit. We recommend an 18 to 20 gauge wire for most systems.
Your CNC system must have an output relay that can be used to initiate the cutting sequence. A normally open contact rated at 1 amp that closes at the start of cut sequence will suffice. You will need to supply a two conductor cable from the relay to the THC (Torch height control) unit. We recommend an 18 to 20 gauge wire.
The construction of your cutting table will need to support the metal being cut sufficiently to avoid flexure when the torch contacts the material on initial approach height sensing. The Torch applies a load of 5-10 pounds of force to “feel” for the material. The table should support the material to avoid tipping the material over a support or over flexing the material. More details are given in the operation section of the manual.
|Set Voltage||The target voltage for the system to maintain when running in Auto mode. Has no effect in Manual mode. The larger the voltage the greater the gap between the material and the tool tip.|
|Pierce Height||The height the torch moves to after touching off the material. It is the height off the material when the torch is first turned on.|
|Init Cut Height||Once the pierce delay time has expired the THC will move the torch to this height and begin the sensing delay. The CNC system should begin to move the cutter while it is in this position.|
|Auto/Manual||In Auto mode the THC will monitor the torch voltage and adjust position. In Manual mode the torch will move to the Initial Cut Height and remain there allowing the operator to jog the torch slide to adjust the position.|
|Use 'OK to Move'||When this feature is enabled the THC will wait for the OK To Move signal from the torch before beginning the pierce delay. When this is enabled the Pierce Delay is usually quite short. When this is disabled the Pierce Delay time starts as soon as the output to the torch is turned on.|
|Use Pierce Complete||When this feature is enabled the THC will turn on the Pierce Complete signal to the CNC system once the Pierce Delay time has expired.|
|Pierce Delay||The time, in seconds, to wait for the plasma cutter to make an initial hole in the material. During this time the torch is held at the Pierce Height. This will be larger for thicker material.|
|Sensing Delay||The time, in seconds, after the Pierce Delay timer expires before the system will allow control of the torch height. It is to give the measured torch voltage time to settle after the initial spike of piercing.|
|Touch Torque Off||The amount of force, in percent of maximum force, to use when moving down and touching the material to determine the initial height. The value needs to be large enough to overcome the internal friction of the slide, but low enough not to cause excessive deflection in the material when touching off.|
Loading and Saving Profiles
Profiles are stored configurations which record each of the parameters listed in the previous section. Profiles are not needed for normal operation as each of the listed parameters can be modified and the values are retained when the power is shut off. Profiles can be useful, however, when a variety of materials will be cut with the same system as it can save time entering parameters.
Setting Arc Start Delay
In order to allow the THC time to find the metal and pierce, you will need to add a time delay to the start sequence of your CNC software. Consult your software documentation on how to do this. Standard delay is 3.5-5.0 seconds (unless using the OK-to-MOVE / Pierce Complete signal). You may adjust this as required to obtain optimum operation. The transition from pierce to cut should be smooth. If the machine waits too long to start moving, reduce the delay. If the machine starts moving while or before piercing, increase the delay. If your software allows, also set a stop delay of about .5-1 seconds to allow the torch to move away from the metal before machine motion. This avoids hitting tip-up parts.
Setting Pierce Height
To test or set pierce height, leave plasma power supply OFF. Adjust the pierce height setting on the controller. Run a program or otherwise toggle the CNC output relay. The unit will sample the Pierce height setting only once when it contacts the metal. Re-cycling and adjusting the setting a small amount each time will produce a stand off distance that is variable from 0 to 1”. Recommended stand off is about 2X the desired cut height or about 3/16-1/4”. This is not required to change unless the metal thickness changes dramatically or thin material flexing is being compensated.
Setting Cut Voltage
Navigate to the voltage monitoring screen (can be achieved by pressing both the up and down arrows at the same time). By pressing the ‘OK’ button then using the up and down arrows the target voltage can be adjusted from 50-250 volts. A good starting point for Hypertherm plasma cutters is about 140-155 volts (Thermal dynamic is about 95-120). Your plasma unit user’s guide may also have a chart of desired voltages for various materials and thicknesses. This value may be different depending on gas pressure, arc amperage and federate, but is a good starting guide. When the desired voltage has been entered, press ‘OK’ again to save the value.
Manual / Automatic Modes
The AUTO/MANUAL setting at the start of each cut will determine the operating mode. In manual mode, the torch will find the plate and set pierce height as explained above, but no voltage sensing or automatic adjustments will be made. Only manual jog buttons will move the torch. By default once the torch has been enabled the Up and Down buttons will jog the torch. Pressing ‘OK’ will take the unit out of jog mode and allow you to change to other screens. At the end of cut, the plasma will go off and the torch will rise as normal.
In manual mode, the lost cut sensing is disabled to allow machines with constant pilot arcs to cut over holes or expanded metal.
The cut button allows for dry run operation. When the cut mode is disabled the torch output relay will not close and the torch will not turn on. When the cut mode is enabled, the red ‘Cut On’ led will be lit. In that mode the relay will close and the torch can be turned on. The cut can be turned on or off during operation.
If you just powered on your Voltage Controller and show a blank display check LED’s on Lifter Station Motor (located between motor connectors). Are either of the two LED’s showing Red or Green?
- Check the AC line cord is properly seated in the back panel of your console and electrical outlet.
- Verify the On/Off rocker switch next to the AC inlet is on.
- Is AC power available at the electrical outlet?
- Check the fuse located in the fuse drawer next to the AC inlet.
- Likely hardware problem.
Arc Voltage Errors
If the torch is diving into the material it could be that the arc voltage is set too low. The torch will automatically search for the voltage it has been set to maintain, thus it will look for it in the material or closer to the power source to maintain its voltage level. To correct this, increase the voltage setting 1 to 2 volts higher for starters, and continue to raise it if necessary.
If the Arc Voltage is set too high, the arc may actually spike up and stay further way from the material than normal, or may step upward, and will lose the arc altogether. The initial arc will penetrate the metal but it may not be able to maintain this high of a voltage setting, thus the AVHC inevitably moves too high off the material and the arc is lost and will rise to the top of its travel. To correct this, a decrease the voltage setting 1 to 2 volts lower to start, and continue to lower if necessary.
Make sure that the Raw Arc Voltage take-off wires are connected to the DC+ and DC – terminals inside your plasma cutter.
Torch Misfires/Not Firing
Check the Compressor
The air pressure fed into your plasma cutter must be in the range of 90 to 120 psi in order to consistently create plasma in a given range of 65 to 90 psi. If you are using a compressor to supply air to more than one line at a time, be sure that it can maintain a level of pressure to allow all lines to be consistently supplied, otherwise your tank may be draining faster than the compressor can recharge the holding tank. Consider switching to a dedicated tank for you plasma operation.
In the process of creating compressed air, water condensation collects in your holding tank. This condensation can also leak into the line supplying air to your plasma cutter. In most plasma torch systems, a water separator valve is utilized to allow the collection and drainage of excess condensation passing through the air line. Even with this preventive measure, condensation can still bleed into the torch line itself, and cause misfiring, or total system failures. To ensure that the excess condensation is removed, drain your holding tanks and water separator often, or whenever condensation is present. This will help to prevent Ignition failures.
Check the Consumables
In the torch head the electrode must move up and down freely for the torch to fire. The plasma unit looks for continuity between the electrode tip and nozzle before the torch will turn on the air and initiate the arc. The air forces the electrode up away from the nozzle to make electrical contact with another contact point in torch body permitting current flow to the electrode.
If there is slag or foreign matter keeping the electrode from making electrical contact with the nozzle when the air is off the plasma unit will alarm and not fire. The alarm will reset after 10 seconds. If the electrode cannot slide up freely and make electrical contact after the air is turned on, the torch will fire with a lowered amperage, or misfire completely.
The Retaining cap for the consumables and swirl ring should only be finger tight, if the cap is over tightened the electrode may not move freely enough to function properly.
I/O Monitor Test
Inputs: OK (press) / Start (jump) / OK to Move (jump) / Up (press) / Down (press) / Corner (jump) / Cut (press & hold 1 sec)
Outputs: Torch/Fault/Pierce/Cut LED (will remain a (1)b/c LED remains on)
Analog: (will read the voltage applied at Voltage input)
When you enter the I/O monitor screen, you will notice 7 (0's) on the input line and 4 (0's) on the output line. OK (press) signifies the first (0) and Cut (press & hold 1 sec) signifies the last or 7th (0) on the input line. Same applies for the Output line where Torch represents the 1st (0) and Cut LED represents the 4th (0).
Pressing the OK button will effectively change the 1st (0) on the line to a (1) while also activating the Torch Output by changing the 1st (0) on the outpout line to a (1). You will also hear a relay clicking to confirm each output (Torch, Fault & Pierce) are functioning properly. You can test the Start (2nd 0), OK to Move (3rd 0) and Corner (6th 0) are functioning poperly by jumping their respective pins and checking to see if their positions are switching from (0) to (1). Their will/should be no effect to the output line.
Motor / Controller Communication (Echo Test)
Echo Testing is a useful tool for troubleshooting communications between your controller and motor.
For instance, if a "No Motor Detected" is displayed on the screen, using the Echo Test will allow you to quickly diagnose whether the issue is within the controller, cable or motor.
TX = Transmit
RX = Receive
To test TX and RX within the controller:
- Power unit on while holding the OK button.
- Go into Factory menu and navigate to "Perform Echo Test"
- Jump TX & RX
- Tap the OK button to perform test
If the test is successful, "Echo Success" will appear on your display. This means communicatins within your controller is functioning properly.
If communication is umsuccessful, "Echo Test Fail" will appear on your display.
To test TX & RX through your communications cable, up to the motor, secure "Enclosure Connector" to the enclosure. Perform the same procedure as you did for testing the enclosure TX & RX except this time you want to jump TX & RX at the "Motor Connector" end.
At this point, if the Echo Test fails, your issue would be with the communications cable. If the Echo Test is successful, your issue is within the motor.