Hub of networked production

Posted on 13 Sep 2017 and read 944 times
Hub of networked production As part of the Industry 4.0 area
at EMO, Heidenhain will be presenting its ‘Connected Machining’ system of production, in which all work steps — from
the design to the deliverable component — are networked via the company’s TNC control (

The system can access all order-related information in a company network, enabling efficient exchange of data. Partner companies in the areas of CAD/CAM, machine tools, tool measurement and tool management will collaborate in the demonstration.

Heidenhain’s premise is that a workpiece is produced on a machine tool, so all information should be consolidated there, with data on the status and quality of the workpiece flowing back into the production IT system.

The company says that the machinist — the person responsible for the quality of components and for staying on schedule — needs access to this data.

In the scenario to be demonstrated, calibrated tools will be present in the machine magazine, the operator having scanned a code on each tool-holder upon loading, so the TNC knows which cutters are available.

Using the control’s Remote Desktop Manager software, the CAM system can be accessed directly; for its part, the CAM software will interrogate the tool database while the program is being created.

Using Batch Process Manager, the operator will schedule the production job on the machine.

NC programs and the position of the clamped workpiece on the pallet will be linked with respect to the order and sorted into a list according to priority (several production orders can be scheduled simultaneously).

The control supports this by comparing the tools required to run the program with the cutters actually available in the machine, reporting any that are missing.

The operator can then, for example, output a list of new tools that need to be prepared to execute the job.

Information on the estimated machining time can be used for further order planning and — together with information from the tool management system — for ordering new tools.

Newly introduced StateMonitor software supports the operator, capturing data from connected machines, presenting a real-time view of machine status and sending messages to computers throughout the company as well as to mobile devices.

For instance, the software can send a message to the tool pre-setting station, if the life of a tool is approaching a critical value.

Based on stored data, new tools can be pre-set, a unique code added to the holder for unambiguous identification and the data sent back into the network, where it can be accessed by the CAM system and virtual machining software.

Finally, automatic workpiece measurement on the machine delivers important data for quality assurance.

This data, which can be archived or evaluated, is centrally available to all other systems, meaning that from the NC program to the tool pre-setting station, all links in the process chain can be optimised.

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