CNCs and THCs

Computer numeric controls

The CNC is the main communication interface between the operator and the machine. It tells the other components – and possibly even the operator – what to do.

The CNC:

  • Converts the part program into command signals that will precisely control the direction, speed and cutting processes of the machine
  • Sends and receives signals to control the cutting process, machine functions such as motion, height control movement, and safety components
  • May be used for online part programming or may utilize a part program from offline CAD/CAM software
  • Components include hardware and software

Learn about how CNCs work

Torch height controls

Using the arc voltage, the torch height control (THC) ensures that the cutting tool doesn’t get too close to or too far away from the work piece.

The THC:

  • Performs initial height sensing (IHS) by starting at the last retract height, lowering to the plate to establish the plate position, and retracting to the pierce height
  • Regulates the height of the cutting tool throughout the cutting process to achieve the required cut quality
  • Extends consumable life by positioning the torch away from molten metal during the pierce and collison detection to stop the cut process

Although not absolutely necessary, a THC is a very worthwhile investment. On a system equipped with a properly functioning height control, you can program and nest hundreds of parts and let the automated system complete the job.

Learn about how THCs work