Format 1 and 2

by David M. de Caussin

The Birth of FORMAT 1 and FORMAT 2:

It's interesting how few customers know the origin of of something they use everyday.  The term "FORMAT 1" actually started by the introduction of FORMAT 2.  

It was back in 1986 at the Fadal Booth in the LA Westec Machine Tool Show, we were under a lot of pressure to have "Fanuc compatibility".  

At the time the most popular control was the Fanuc 6MB.  Potential customers were insisting that their programs would run our control without editing.  So during that show we had made a promise (and commitment) to our sales staff; "Yes we have Fanuc Compatibility", so the rush was on to begin shipping machines ordered at the show with "Fanuc Compatibility". Thus the birth of "FORMAT 2".  

Prior to 1986, the control operated some what compatible to the 6MB but the subtle program and operational differences were enough to discourage programmers and operators from trying to move programs and set-ups to our machines.  
In order to make such a change and also maintain our original customer base, the differences would be enough that we decided to have to modes of operation; FORMAT 1 for original customers and FORMAT 2 for 6MB customers.  

Even to this day many customers preferred the Format 1 mode after we introduced FORMAT 2 - Fanuc Compatibility because of the logical ease of use.   

The reason the control was fairly close to 6MB compatible was because from the very beginning of development we used the Fanuc 7M control as our model. 
At the time; in the mid 70's the 7M was considered the most powerful of the Fanuc controls.  Unfortunately, it didn't become the most popular control.  It was because of 7M we had the use of the L-word subroutine structure along with the R0 through R9 indirect reference variables.  

With the 7M control, the programmer could indirectly reference all program words A-Z, for example the X-word as X+R01 and Feedrate could be addressed as F+R01, etc.  Indirect referencing provides powerful flexibility. 

Had Adrian de Caussin originally picked the 6MB manual, things would have been completely different...