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How easy is Mazatrol?

jacktorrance287

Plastic
Joined
Aug 28, 2017
My company just ordered three Mazak VCN 530c mills. They have the Smooth G control. We do all of our programming on the shop floor and we have Haas and Fanuc controls on our other machines. I have no experience with Mazatrol but now I'm going to have to learn it. I know that the Mazak control also accepts G code, but I'd be nice to use conversational for speed and ease of use. Our parts aren't crazy complex but all use custom fixtures. So my question is how easy or hard is it to learn Mazatrol coming from primarily Haas conversational? I was hoping they'd get us some CAM software to go with the 300+k they just spent on machines but that remains to be seen I guess.
 

benganboll

Hot Rolled
Joined
Feb 23, 2015
Location
Sweden Östersund
Never used any newer Mazatrol control then T2 & T3 (30 year old machines).
But even these old mazatrol machines are very easy and flexible to use.

You can see Mazatrol as a CAM software in it self.
 

Panza

Hot Rolled
Joined
Oct 23, 2005
Location
Lillehammer, Norway
I have only used Mazatrol on a lathe but that is super easy. 6 hours of training from a guy that knew his stuff and I had all I needed. When I wonder about something after that it's usually easy to find in the manual. I think I have heard that the milling machines are a little more difficult, but others will probably know about that.
 

Mike1974

Diamond
Joined
Nov 5, 2014
Location
Tampa area
Depending on how you used the Haas conversational, did you define the tools in the machine, or did you just "know" you were using a drill and running it at xxxrpm and feedrate? Mazatrol will need you to define the tools. That was probably the hardest part coming from programming almost exclusively in cam, IMO.
 

Gobo

Titanium
Joined
Jun 4, 2013
Location
Oregon, USA
You can import tool models, making for a much more exact simulation after program creation. That is just one of many cool things about the Smooth controls. The power of the Smooth controller makes Haas conversational look absolutely archaic. It takes a bit to get used to the touch screen, but once you use it for a while, anything else seem wrong. Do not expect to become proficient with it overnight. It is a feature filled controller with a lot of depth, but in my mind, a powerful tool when used correctly. If you really want a different system for programming, Esprit and Mazak have partnered and make some nice programming software. Really awesome program simulations for anti collision.
 

DMF_TomB

Diamond
Joined
Dec 13, 2008
Location
Rochester, NY, USA
My company just ordered three Mazak VCN 530c mills. They have the Smooth G control. We do all of our programming on the shop floor and we have Haas and Fanuc controls on our other machines. I have no experience with Mazatrol but now I'm going to have to learn it. I know that the Mazak control also accepts G code, but I'd be nice to use conversational for speed and ease of use. Our parts aren't crazy complex but all use custom fixtures. So my question is how easy or hard is it to learn Mazatrol coming from primarily Haas conversational? I was hoping they'd get us some CAM software to go with the 300+k they just spent on machines but that remains to be seen I guess.
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mazak has many thinks to help you. milling it selects roughing and finishing mills and you can select max doc and woc on rougher per pass and the amount finishier takes. you tell it material type it auto selects feeds and speeds. basically it auto selects most stuff which you can change slightly. the mazak i ran also had afc or automatic feed control. when drilling or milling and it senses load is high it auto reduces feed to 50% til load ok or does a feed hold if overload still there
.
basically mazak has a lot of thinks to make programming go faster and running program go better. same with drilling and tapping holes. usually auto selections are ok or need only slight adjustment. tool comp is automatic. restarts are easy and more fool proof
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for moderately simple parts it is rare to take more than 10 to 30 minutes to program with most time just reading drawing coordinates and punching in at control. and time always needed to make you your parallels are the correct height and tools wont hit vise jaws and if you want to edit program usually only takes a few seconds to change something
 

Mr.E

Aluminum
Joined
Mar 11, 2017
Location
Southern
I program both Haas lathe and Mazatrol T+ lathe with live tooling.
When I'm back on the Mazatrol its so nice and user friendly and 5 time faster than the Haas.
After there both set up and running both are very fast meaning one is not slower than the other.
 

Bobw

Diamond
Joined
Feb 8, 2005
Location
Hatch, NM Chile capital of the WORLD
My 2 cents...

Mazatrol on a lathe... :cloud9: Its beautiful... So easy, and fast....
I will NEVER EVER g-code a lathe EVER again in my life.

On a mill.. (newest I've dealt with is a T+), not so great.
Its awesome for simple stuff. quicky profile and some fancy holes..
More than that and its kind of clunky and a pain in the ass.

Your company is dropping 300k plus on some new machines, plus what you already
have on the floor, and you have no software? That doesn't even make sense.

Conversational at the control, on the floor, is VERY powerful.. But when you
get into funky stuff. MUCH MUCH easier to do it sitting at a desk. I've stood
at a control with pages and pages of points and profiles... F'n sucks. Especially
when you already had to draw that crap out to get all the points and profiles.
 

dodgin

Hot Rolled
Joined
Mar 16, 2015
Location
MI, USA
My 2 cents...

Mazatrol on a lathe... :cloud9: Its beautiful... So easy, and fast....
I will NEVER EVER g-code a lathe EVER again in my life.

On a mill.. (newest I've dealt with is a T+), not so great.
Its awesome for simple stuff. quicky profile and some fancy holes..
More than that and its kind of clunky and a pain in the ass.

Your company is dropping 300k plus on some new machines, plus what you already
have on the floor, and you have no software? That doesn't even make sense.

Conversational at the control, on the floor, is VERY powerful.. But when you
get into funky stuff. MUCH MUCH easier to do it sitting at a desk. I've stood
at a control with pages and pages of points and profiles... F'n sucks. Especially
when you already had to draw that crap out to get all the points and profiles.


I agree with Bob here. I have yet to fall in love with a conversational mill control. It can be okay for drilling a couple holes, or maybe circle milling a couple holes, but I always found that any sort of even moderately complex contouring would be done faster on CAM.

That being said, I have some experience with Haas conversational and some experience with Mazak M+ controls, and if given a choice between the two it's a no brainer. Some of the stuff I was able to do on the Mazak with relative ease I can't imagine having tried to accomplish on the Haas. I think you guys will have an advantage going from programming conversational to programming a different brand of conversational. Should just be a matter of taking some time to get used to the new controller.
 

toolsteel

Titanium
Joined
Nov 9, 2012
Location
NW Wisconsin (BFE)
In my opinion....Mazatrol shines best when used on the floor for standard complexity parts. Not saying you can't do some pretty complex stuff, but the average guy can do the average part pretty quickly. I recommend getting some MAZAK training....yes it can be taught from one person to the next......but I think you get the most bang for your buck through MAZAK. If your parts are real easy....no special training would be needed.
However....(unless things have changed) the Mazak manuals will be useless to someone without some working knowledge of Mazatrol. They were written in a language I heard described best as Japenglish. Some ideas just didn't get translated that well.
 

Gobo

Titanium
Joined
Jun 4, 2013
Location
Oregon, USA
In my opinion....Mazatrol shines best when used on the floor for standard complexity parts. Not saying you can't do some pretty complex stuff, but the average guy can do the average part pretty quickly. I recommend getting some MAZAK training....yes it can be taught from one person to the next......but I think you get the most bang for your buck through MAZAK. If your parts are real easy....no special training would be needed.
However....(unless things have changed) the Mazak manuals will be useless to someone without some working knowledge of Mazatrol. They were written in a language I heard described best as Japenglish. Some ideas just didn't get translated that well.
We recently purchased a Mazak Bartac I-100. We have some Mazaks over 25 years old. Believe me, the manuals have improved by lightyears. They seem to be written by an English speaker, rather than translated from Japanese.
And with a new machine(s) Mazak credits you with a certain number of training credits. The guys we had come in for our Bartac training were truly shit-hot. Although the Smooth controller is pretty new, they really new what they were doing.
BUT--forget about any 5 axis stuff with Mazatrol. That is where I would recommend Esprit.
 
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Panza

Hot Rolled
Joined
Oct 23, 2005
Location
Lillehammer, Norway
We recently purchased a Mazak Bartac I-100. We have some Mazaks over 25 years old. Believe me, the manuals have improved by lightyears. They seem to be written by an English speaker, rather than translated from Japanese.
And with a new machine(s) Mazak credits you with a certain number of training credits. The guys we had come in for our Bartac training were truly shit-hot. Although the Smooth controller is pretty new, they really new what they were doing.
BUT--forget about any 5 axis stuff with Mazatrol. That is where I would recommend Esprit.

I can't say I agree with you on the manuals being written by an english speaker (my manuals are for a Quick Turn Smart), but mostly they are ok.
 

Valtari

Plastic
Joined
Aug 30, 2017
I recently bought a VCN530 with the Smooth G Control.

I've used the Matrix and Matrix 2 control on my Lathes and I find the Smooth G control much easier. If the machine is new then the training will be included. Honestly if you are used to programming on the shop floor then I can't imagine that you will have a hard time with the Smooth G control. Only thing is once you get too used to the touch screen you will be bashing the screens on other maachines and wondering why its not working :rolleyes5:.

My fave thing about the Smooth G is the fact that the work-piece is drawn as you program without having to access another screen to check what you are doing looks correct. Another feature that is good but I haven't yet used is that you can import 3D models and pull features from that. I know it works for STP files but not sure how many diff formats it works on.
 

Steve's Hobby

Cast Iron
Joined
Feb 23, 2008
Location
Orange County, CA
I can't say I agree with you on the manuals being written by an english speaker (my manuals are for a Quick Turn Smart), but mostly they are ok.

Speaking of Manuals: I am kinda old school, I prefer the printed manuals, the standard machines come with the CD's, kinda a lot of information to wade through to get where you want, the new Lathe I have on the list for next year is for the printed manuals an extra $300.00 bucks, which is the way I will go, but that's just me...Anyone else prefer the printed manuals ?
 

Kingbob

Hot Rolled
Joined
Dec 1, 2009
Location
Louisiana
Speaking of Manuals: I am kinda old school, I prefer the printed manuals, the standard machines come with the CD's, kinda a lot of information to wade through to get where you want, the new Lathe I have on the list for next year is for the printed manuals an extra $300.00 bucks, which is the way I will go, but that's just me...Anyone else prefer the printed manuals ?

I'm with you on that one. We are an exclusively Mazak shop and I have already decided that next machine we buy I will demand the printed manuals be thrown in for free or I will make sure or Mazak sales guy crosses paths in the shop with the Okuma or doosan rep. He'll cave
 

Panza

Hot Rolled
Joined
Oct 23, 2005
Location
Lillehammer, Norway
Mazak over here changed to PDF's for manuals but everyone wanted paper manuals so they changed back to paper again. I got both, in case I wear out my paper copy I can just print a new one.
 

Twiglet

Plastic
Joined
Oct 20, 2016
Printed is better, can have them to hand, open on the page you need on the bench whilst at the control. Stick a postit note in pages you need to refer to regularly, etc.
Plus its more satisfying to throw at the apprentice to read when he asks the same thing for the 3rd time that day.
 

jacktorrance287

Plastic
Joined
Aug 28, 2017
It's been a few months, thanks for all the replies. Well the new mills have arrived and they're a sight to behold. They're in the building and will be getting setup by the Mazak rep early next week. They came with training so I'm defiantly going to be taking advantage of that. Still no word on CAM software. The company has seats for Solidworks/SolidCAM and Gibbs CAM so we're trying to push them to get us a seat for our area. How are those for Mazak, post wise? My only experience is with Fusion 360 on my own time and I love it.

The plan is for starting out to get our old programs into the new machines so we can at least start running parts in them in the mean time. We're also bringing more work back in house now that we have the capability. So there's going to be some programming coming up. This is all new for the company as they've been behind the times for a long time now and it's all been very old school. The Fanuc control machines that the Mazak's replaced were all 20+ years old and worn out.
 

HDFanboy

Plastic
Joined
Feb 3, 2017
Good to hear the machines have arrived and are close to up and running. I have to say after spending the first 17 years of being a cnc machinist programming and running fanuc controlled mills and lathes then having 9 new mazak mills and lathes replace them having to learn mazaatrol was a absolute breeze and in all honesty I never want to touch iso again. The conversational programming on the mills makes jobs that I might not haven even attempted in iso so simple to do its shocking. When we bought the machines I had 3 days of training and after that I was good to go. After a week of running the machines it was like second nature like i've been running them for 17 years.

All our programming is done by each operator on the shop floor and we have written well over 2000 programs since we had to go from all our all old mazak and fanuc lathes to the new machines and we have all been doing that without any problems or need for gcode programs at all. Everything we have needed to do has been done in mazatrol including a heap of twin spindle part swapping turning on the lathes and in the intergrex machines and everything is awesome with them. Im sure you won't have any issues picking up mazatrol once you have seen how simple they make programming.

Also we did pick up the mazak software for offline programming but we haven't really used it since all our operators just write the programs on the machines. All the software really does is put the smooth g or smooth x control panel on your computers screen so your writing the program on your pc exactly like you would on the control itself.
 








 
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