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750°F Gas-Fired Cabinet Oven from Grieve

No. 1046 is a 750°F (399°C), gas-fired cabinet oven from Grieve, currently used for baking radiator cores at the customer’s facility. Workspace dimensions of this oven measure 80” W x 88” D x 18” H. 800,000 BTU/HR are installed in a modulating natural gas burner, while a 12,500 CFM, 10 HP recirculating blower provides vertical upward airflow to the workload.

This Grieve cabinet oven has a 76” wide x 76” long, 750 lb. capacity pneumatic operated rollout shelf with an insulated plug to seal doorway opening. Features include 8” insulated walls, top-mounted heat chamber and 16-gauge, Type 316, 2B finish stainless steel interior with continuously welded seams.

Additional features include a 16-gauge, 304 stainless steel oven front with a pneumatically operated vertical lift door, an exhaust hood incorporated into the vertical lift door guard and a 1500 CFM powered forced exhauster with motorized damper to increase exhaust as the door is opened. The oven is equipped with safety equipment required by IRI, FM and National Fire Protection Association Standard 86 for operation with flammable solvents.

Controls on the No. 1046 include a digital programming temperature controller, manual reset excess temperature controller with separate contactors and a recirculating blower airflow safety switch.


For more information, please contact:
THE GRIEVE CORPORATION
500 Hart Road
Round Lake, Illinois 60073-2835
Phone: (847) 546-8225
Fax: (847) 546-9210
Web: www.grievecorp.com
Email: sales@grievecorp.com
Attention: Frank Calabrese.

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Little Patuxent Water Reclamation Facility Upgrades System with AirPrex® for Sludge Optimization and P-Recovery

CNP – Technology Water and Biosolids, a division of Centrisys Corporation in Kenosha, Wisconsin, recently supplied the Howard County Department of Public Works with the patented CNP AirPrex process. AirPrex, scheduled to be operational during the Q3 2018, will improve the current biosolids processing facility by sequestering phosphorous and preventing the formation of phosphorous scale known as struvite.

Howard County Department of Public Works engaged HDR to provide engineering design services for upgrades to the biosolids facilities at the Little Patuxent Water Reclamation Facility in Savage, Maryland. The Little Patuxent facility used dewatered cake lime stabilization for biosolids treatment. The changes to the biosolids processing included eliminating the lime system and replacing it with anaerobic digesters, centrate demmonification and associated solids screening, thickening, odor control and digester gas handling improvements.

After an extensive evaluation of phosphorous removal technologies, the design was based on AirPrex because of its demonstrated ability to prevent struvite precipitation in downstream processes, including piping and the solids dewatering equipment. The Little Patuxent facility uses decanter centrifuges for biosolids dewatering.The AirPrex process is a patented phosphorus recovery technology owned by CNP. AirPrex reduces problematic struvite buildup in wastewater treatment plants improving overall plant efficiencies, including dewatering improvements resulting in significant operational cost savings for treatment plants.

 

Process

Click to enlarge

 

AirPrex’s flexibility was another factor in the design. The process either sequesters struvite, leaving it in the biosolids stream for land application on farm fields as fertilizer, or recovers struvite, separating it from the biosolids stream. Once separated, the struvite can be used as a beneficial slow-release fertilizer.

Howard County selected the Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR) delivery method for the construction of the upgrades and installation of AirPrex. Clark Construction, the CMAR contractor, negotiated with Kershner Environmental Technologies, the local CNP representative, on behalf of the county to procure AirPrex.

The Little Patuxent Water Reclamation Facility is a 29 MGD advanced wastewater treatment plant using enhanced nutrient removal processes to reduce nitrogen and phosphorous discharges to the Chesapeake Bay. The facility serves 56 percent of the county’s 317,000 population.

 

CNP – Technology Water and Biosolids designs and supplies nutrient recovery and biosolids treatment optimization systems. CNP’s key technologies are: AirPrex® and CalPrex™, phosphorus recovery technologies, and PONDUS™, a Thermo-Chemical Hydrolysis Process (TCHP). CNP is a division of Centrisys Corporation. Centrisys Corporation is a U.S.A. manufacturer of dewatering centrifuges, sludge thickeners and complete dewatering systems for municipal and industrial wastewater. The company’s focus is centrifuge equipment, including the award winning THK sludge thickener. Centrisys provides global service, repair and parts for all brands of centrifuges.


For more information, please contact:

Centrisys/CNP
9586 58th Place
Kenosha, WI 53144
262-654-6006
Jessie Jones, Marketing Associate
Email: Jessie.jones@centrisys.us
Website: www.cnp-tec.com

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Multi-Carrier-System from Siemens and Festo Delivers Flexible, Industrie 4.0-Ready Intralogistics

The Multi-Carrier-System (MCS), a configurable transport system, is jointly manufactured by Siemens and Festo. The MCS delivers unparalleled levels of flexibility and can be easily incorporated into existing processing and packaging environments.

The MCS addresses the acute need for flexibility in modern manufacturing and production environments driven by increasingly complex product diversity, shorter product life cycles and growing levels of mass customization.

In this configurable transport system, the transport carriages, which are driven by linear motors, are flexibly moved to the individual units, e.g. filling, closing or labeling unit. The system moves freely and exactly synchronously to the process and can be integrated in the existing intralogistics – including seamless loading and unloading of the carriages. The other transport paths remain unchanged. The modular concept allows a quick conversion of the machine to different formats, other product types or seasonal requirements. The integrated concept allows control of the transport movements and Motion Control functionality as well as the coordination of additional machine module.

The MCS provides many benefits:

  • High flexibility: Transfer-free loading and unloading of carriages
  • Simple integration: Use of the existing intralogistics
  • Flexible operation: Free and individual setting of acceleration and speed, grouping and synchronous movement of several carriages
  • One controller for all applications: Control of the multi-carrier system as well as further machine modules

The MCS incorporates options for processing and packaging customers to achieve goals for advanced manufacturing. Some of these options are flexible electromechanical design for economic production down to batch sizes of one and decentralized sensors and intelligence incorporated within the work piece carriers and drives.

The modular servo controller and the motion controller also fully reflect the cyber-physical integration of Industrie 4.0 systems. The system provides OPC Unified Architecture (OPC-UA) messaging enabling open integration into Industrie 4.0 architectures and enterprise systems such as SAP.

Siemens offers a comprehensive portfolio of seamlessly integrated hardware, software and technology-based services in all aspects of packaging. Siemens supports the packaging industry on an industrial scale enhancing flexibility and efficiency processes and reducing the time to market.


Contact for product inquiries and information:

Mathias Radziwill
Phone: (800) 743-6367
Email: mathias.radziwill@siemens.com

Follow us on Twitter at: www.twitter.com/siemens_press


About Siemens USA

Siemens Corporation is a U.S. subsidiary of Siemens AG, a global powerhouse focusing on the areas of electrification, automation and digitalization.  With approximately 348,000 employees in more than 190 countries, Siemens reported worldwide revenue of $86.2 billion in fiscal 2015. Siemens in the USA reported revenue of $22.4 billion, including $5.5 billion in exports, and employs approximately 50,000 people throughout all 50 states and Puerto Rico.

 

About Festo                                                                         

Festo is a leading manufacturer of pneumatic and electromechanical systems, components, and controls for process and industrial automation. For more than 40 years, Festo Corporation has continuously elevated the state of manufacturing with innovations and optimized motion control solutions that deliver higher performing, more profitable automated manufacturing and processing equipment.

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Liftomatic Forklift Attachment Handles Steel Drums

Buffalo Grove, IL, Liftomatic Material Handling, Inc., an industry leading material handling equipment manufacturer, introduces FTA drum handling units.

The FTA drum handling units are designed for loading, unloading, palletizing and storage of steel drums in nearly any size or configuration, including 30 gallon, 55 gallon and 85 gallon. The attachment fits directly onto the forks of any standard lift truck with Liftomatic’s exclusive “Parrot- Beak©” clamping system and cushioned belt-cradles. The FTA protects the drums during transport, provides a sure-grip and handles the drums safely to and from any location. Available in 1, 2, 3 or 4 drum models, the FTA improves productivity and safety in all steel drum handling routines.

Liftomatic Material Handling, Inc. is an acknowledged leader in the design and manufacture of drum handling equipment. Headquartered in Buffalo Grove, Illinois, Liftomatic maintains manufacturing, engineering and sales facilities around the globe. Liftomatic currently sells products in over 40 countries and sells to more than 400 of the Fortune 500 companies.


For more product information, please contact:
George Gambini
Liftomatic Material Handling
700 Dartmouth Lane
Buffalo Grove, IL 60089
sales@liftomatic.com
847-325-2930 ext. 1226
www.liftomatic.com

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2000°F Inert Atmosphere Bench Furnace from Grieve

 

2000°F Inert Atmosphere Bench Furnace from GrieveNo. 1044 is a 2000°F (1093°C), inert atmosphere bench furnace from Grieve, currently used for heat treating at the customer’s facility. Workspace dimensions of this furnace measure 12” W x 18” D x 8” H. 6KW are installed in nickel chrome wire coils supported by ceramic plates.

This Grieve bench furnace features 5” thick insulated walls comprised of 1” of 2600°F ceramic fiber and 1” of 2300°F ceramic fiber and 3” of 1900°F block insulation. Features include a vertical lift door with gas spring counter balance and inert atmosphere construction, including a continuously welded outer shell, high temperature door gasket, sealed heater terminal boxes, inert atmosphere inlet and inert atmosphere outlet. Additional features include an inert atmosphere flow meter and normally closed solenoid valve on atmosphere inlet.

Controls on the No. 1044 include a digital programming temperature controller and manual reset excess temperature controller with separate contactors.


For more information, please contact:
THE GRIEVE CORPORATION
500 Hart Road
Round Lake, Illinois 60073-2835
Phone: (847) 546-8225
Fax: (847) 546-9210
Web: www.grievecorp.com
Email: sales@grievecorp.com
Attention: Frank Calabrese.

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Exact Metrology Receives Two New Firearms Certifications

Leading Metrology Provider Now Certified in FFL and ITAR

Top View of Exact Metrology Scan

Exact Metrology, a comprehensive metrology services provider, announced that they recently received two new certifications; the FFL (Federal Firearms License) and ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Registration). Both the FFL and ITAR certifications are required by the Federal Government for any manufacturer or dealer to deal with firearms.

These certifications allow customers to now send Exact Metrology handguns and other types of firearms to be 3D scanned and reverse engineered. Exact uses a high-quality, high-resolution blue light 3D scanner which picks up a high level of detail and accuracy. The scans are typically used for aftermarket accessories, such as holsters, sites, grips and other products that can be added on when the equipment data is not available.

Scan of FirearmExact Metrology is a comprehensive metrology services provider, offering customers 3D and CT scanning, reverse engineering, quality inspection, product development and 2D drawings.

Exact Metrology offers a complete line of portable scanning and measurement technologies, as well as contract measurement services for 3D laser scanning, reverse engineering, non-contact inspection, metrology, 3D printers and 3D digitizing. Exact sells and rents metrology equipment solutions, in addition to providing testing as a service and application software training.


Exact Metrology is an ISO 9001:2008 and AS9100 Certified Company and is also ITAR Registered.

Exact Metrology, with facilities in Cincinnati and Milwaukee and affiliated offices throughout the Midwest, is a comprehensive metrology services provider, offering customers 3D and CT scanning, reverse engineering, quality inspection, product development and 2D drawings.   The company also provides turnkey metrology solutions, including equipment sales and lease/rental arrangements.  

For more information, please contact:

Dean Solberg
Exact Metrology, Inc.
20515 Industry Avenue
Brookfield, WI 53045
Phone: 262-533-0800
Local: 866-722-2600
www.exactmetrology.com
deans@exactmetrology.com

 

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Wardwell Bids Goodbye to an Employee and Welcomes Another

A leading supplier of braiding equipment, Wardwell, has announced the retirement of Steven J. Elderkin and the appointment of Scott A. Hunter.  Both announcements were made by company President John Tomaz, at Wardwell’s headquarters in Central Falls, RI.

Steve Elderkin

Elderkin’s retirement, effective December 2017, comes after 44.5 years at Wardwell and several positions. In the last 20 years, his roles included supervisor of assembly and customer service technician. Tomaz said, ”From the beginning, Steven has been a tremendous asset to our company. Every part of business that he’s been involved in, has been improved.  We’ll certainly miss having him around.” Now, Elderkin is looking forward to spending time with his grandchildren and enjoying the warm Floridian weather.

 

 

Scott Hunter

Hunter is Wardwell’s new Sales Engineer. In this position, he will be responsible for equipment sales throughout North America. Mentioning this new addition Tomaz commented, “Scott is an experienced professional who brings the necessary skills and knowledge, having previously worked in the wire and cable industry.  He will undoubtedly be an asset.” A three-year stint at Amaral Automation Associates is part of Hunter’s experience.

 

 


For more information, please contact:

Cynthia Chen
Wardwell Braiding Co.
1211 High Street
Central Falls
Rhode Island, 02863
Phone: 401 724 8800 X 183
Fax: 401 723 2690
Web: www.wardwell.com

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Siemens Introduces New Servo Drive System Simplifying Motion Control for Machine Builders

Siemens offers a new servo package consisting of drive, motor and controller for
a wide variety of motion control applications

With its Sinamics S210 converter designed specifically for use with the newly developed Simotics S-1FK2 motors, Siemens is offering a new and innovative servo drive system in an initial offering from 50–750 watts. The converters come with integrated safety functions and enable rapid engineering via motion technology objects in Simatic S7-1500 controllers. They are connected to higher-level controllers via Profinet and are quickly and easily programmed by automatic motor parameterization and one-button tuning. Typical uses for this new drive system include packaging machines, handling applications such as pick-and-place, wood and plastics processing, as well as life sciences and digital printing.

“The Sinamics S210 focuses on highly-dynamic motor axis control, while the connected controller, for example the Simatic S7-1500 or S7-1500T with its extended motion control functionality, takes complete charge of positioning functions for the connected drive axes.”, says Craig Nelson, product manager for Sinamics S-series drives.

The Sinamics S210 is commissioned using an integrated web server. One-button tuning functionality allows automatic optimization of control parameters, taking into consideration the behavior of the connected mechanics by different dynamic levels.

Integrated safety functions include STO (Safe Torque Off) and SS1 (Safe Stop 1). Both can be actuated using Profisafe, STO additionally using a terminal. Additional functions are currently in the preparation stage. In conjunction with the rapid sampling and smart control algorithms of the Sinamics S210, a high-grade encoder system on the Simotics 1FK2 motor and the combination of low rotor inertia and high overload capability, allow the servomotors to achieve outstanding dynamic performance and precision.

Simotics 1FK2 motors are connected to the converters using a “One Cable Connection” (OCC), which includes the power conductors, encoder signal and brake — all grouped together in an exceptionally thin cable measuring just 9 millimeters in diameter. Its minimal cross-section makes the OCC cable thinner, lighter and more flexible than previous power cables, considerably simplifying the cabling process. This results in a single motor plug connector and connection at the converter is just as simple with user-friendly plugs with push-in terminals on the front.

To learn more about the Sinamics S210 servo system, please visit: usa.siemens.com/sinamics-s210

The new Sinamics S210 drive system with Simotics S-1FK2 servomotors and Simatic S7-1500 controllers offer users a highly-dynamic servo package with integrated safety functions and quick commissioning.   


Siemens Digital Factory (DF) offers a comprehensive portfolio of seamlessly integrated hardware, software and technology-based services in order to support manufacturing companies worldwide in enhancing the flexibility and efficiency of their manufacturing processes and reducing the time to market of their products.

For specific product information and inquiries, send an e-mail to: mc.us@siemens.com

Siemens Corporation is a U.S. subsidiary of Siemens AG, a global powerhouse focusing on the areas of electrification, automation and digitalization. One of the world’s largest producers of energy-efficient, resource-saving technologies, Siemens is a leading supplier of systems for power generation and transmission as well as medical diagnosis. With approximately 351,000 employees in 190 countries, Siemens reported worldwide revenue of $88.1 billion in fiscal 2016. Siemens in the USA reported revenue of $23.7 billion, including $5.4 billion in exports, and employs approximately 50,000 people throughout all 50 states and Puerto Rico.

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DMG MORI Machine Produces Oil Field Rock Bit Using Full CAD-CAM-CNC Process Chain on 5-Axis Machining Center

Major machine tool builder offers their customer an entry-level, compact machine that works a 440-pound steel workpiece into a rock bit with better tool life, higher degree of accuracy and overall production efficiencies through partnership with Siemens

A DMG employee showcasing the DMU 50 with Siemens’ 840D sl CNC. The features of the 840D allow a streamlined simulation of the actual cutting path.

DMG MORI manufactures a wide variety of conventional chip-cutting machining centers for OEMs and production job shops serving the demanding oil-and-gas industry.  Inherent in this market are several factors that lobby for great care and planning in the machining process. Typically, components produced for the oil-and-gas field are very large, very heavy and often have complex contours, making the machining time long and the tool life short. The DMU 50, although an entry-level 5-axis machining center from DMG MORI, is a compact unit that features considerable strength, as the following example will detail.  “It is a David handles Goliath type of story,” says Matthias Leinberger, the business development director for Siemens PLM (Product Lifecycle Management).

On one recent application, DMG MORI was challenged with a 440-pound, 8” diameter x 8” high workpiece made from 1045 grade steel and being machined into a rock bit for oil field exploration. The customer further presented the builder with the need for fast changeover to produce the part from various metal materials, with all the attendant tool changes and workpiece setup variances present. The customer, a major upstream oil industry supplier, was trying to decide if the better path for this product was a single block of steel or a near net casting being machined.  Both high-speed roughing and then very precise 5-axis machining were required in this small footprint machine, which had been selected by the customer due to specific plant capacity utilization concerns, plus their desire for a flexible, reasonably priced and highly cost-effective machine tool.

Close up of the DMU 50 with Siemens’ 840D sl CNC.

The machine builder turned to its longtime business partner, Siemens, for assistance.  By offering a total package of CAD-CAM-CNC hardware, software and engineering services, Siemens was able to help the machine builder substantially improve every aspect of part production, including reduction of design-to-part protocols, machining time, tool life, surface finish, dimensional accuracies and overall production efficiencies.  This scenario was particularly applicable in this case, as the production runs were anticipated to be low with short lead times.

Starting from the CAD file, the Siemens PLM team ran the program through its NX CAM process, eliminating the set-ups through full 5-axis operation. The User Defined Events (UDEs) feature inside the NX program allows simple check boxes for triggering post-processors references for coolant pressure, spindle speed settings and more.  This avoids manual programming and, as a result, reduced the program transition time from as long as two days to approximately 30 minutes.

An oil field rock bit being machined on a DMU 50 with Siemens 840D sl CNC. Both high-speed roughing and precise 5-axis machining are possible on this small footprint, entry-level machine.

Once the program was ready for the CNC, the features of that control allowed a more streamlined simulation of the actual cutting path. The 3D quick set compressor feature provides a parametric itemized data file for all path motions, thereby eliminating collision and ensuring the optimum tool path, in conjunction with the NC kernel and PLC on the machine tool.  As Siemens technical applications center manager Randy Pearson observes, “This feature is a huge time saver for our customer, as the test ball and probe in the spindle mechanism can be run at any point in the cycle, testing the actual machine kinematics at any time. The procedure can also be automated to run on the table at prescribed time intervals.”

The high-speed machining feature is highlighted here by Cycle 800, which is a static plane transformation that allows a 5-axis machine to define a rotated working plane in space. It is commonly known in the trade as 3+2 programming.  The cycle converts the actual workpiece zero and tool offsets to refer to the rotated surface.  Of note here, the cycle accommodates particular machine kinematics and positions the physical axes normal to the working plane.  This is referenced as TRAORI or transformation orientation.

Meanwhile, Sinumerik Operate, the CNC’s easy-to-use, graphical user interface on the machine allows the operator to perform a variety of integrated tool management and information management functions, all transportable on a USB or network connection.

In the simulation, the loading and fixturing of the workpiece is performed virtually in the NX CAM program, which also calculates a consistent chip load, critical in these large material removal applications. The simulation further verifies the tool length at all cutting sections and the program is finalized for the machine to begin.

In production, this process also yielded a substantial improvement in tool life on this very heavy part over the 3-¾hour cycle time, according to DMG National Product Manager, Luke Ivaska.  “With the combination of the NX CAM software, plus the CNC on the machine and all it could do, we had some initial challenges, as most software programs are purpose-built CAM packages that allow quick and easy use by anyone.  They have significant limitations; however, as the software drives the tool path and the operator has very little control.  With NX and Sinumerik CNC, we have a lot more input on the creation of the tool path.  I have yet to find a problem I could not solve with NX.”

In the CNC, the Sinumerik Operate affords the end user’s operator and manufacturing engineering personnel full access to a variety of conditions in production, including all roughing and finishing data in plain text, plus all 5-axis transformation orientation data logged for restart after any interruption and manual restart.

An 8×8″ rock bit machined from 1045 grade steel on the DMU 50. Speedy setup and machining was made possible with Siemens’ total package of CAD-CAM-CNC hardware.

Easy-to-use probing for work offsets is another advantage the builder and their customer enjoy with the CNC used on this machine.  The operator is guided graphically for setting the workpiece zero, for example, while the tool length is automatically included in the calculation.  With the Operate system, the difference between the position value in the machine coordinate system and workpiece coordinate system is saved in the active zero offset.

The variable streamline operation of the machine tool combines here with an interpolated vector to produce a smoother finish in the machining of the intricate rock bit surfaces in a single tool path. The machine seamlessly transitions from square-to-round machining and then the extreme angle paths needed to accurately machine the internal surfaces.  A single bit portion of the program is automatically captured, so a step-and-repeat program can be built-up. The simulation of each bit cutting path was done on both the NX CAM and the CNC programs. It is literally like working with a “Digital Twin” of the machine.

This vectored program, it should be noted, is transportable to any machine with comparable results, according to Randy Pearson and PLM director of business development Matthias Leinberger, who comments, “Precisely because the machine kinematics are knowable, this program, once created, can be transferred onto multiple machines within the same facility or run by shops around the world, all tied together by the control, so there is total continuity between the operations, the data capture protocol and feedback received for production analysis.”  Randy Pearson further noted that, in this application, the customer’s desire to change the materials used on successive runs could be easily accommodated by the control, owing to its ability for on-the-fly adjustments, based on the orientation of the tool tip to the workpiece.

This project was accomplished, using CELOS® onboard the DMG MORI machine.  CELOS facilitates the total interaction between operator and machine, in this application, as it has numerous apps to enable instant call-up of actual conditions, full data comparison through a link to CAD and CAM products, plus full interface to the customer company’s ERP system for logging and analysis, with in-process remote adjustments achievable.  In the case of this oil-and-gas customer, interactive communication to a global production network is also provided, which allow the customer to run parallel production of different rock bits at locations around the world, with seamless data tracking and full production analysis.


For more information on this story, please contact:

Siemens Industry, Inc.
John Meyer
(847) 640-1595
john.meyer@siemens.com

For specific product information and inquiries, call (800) 879-8079 ext. Marketing Communications or send an e-mail to:  cnc.us@siemens.com

To watch a video of this line in operation, please visit https://youtu.be/xA1hyv6A7Hs

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Digitalization… the Future Is Now

Myriad ways to boost productivity, enhance shopfloor flexibility and preserve data security…
all on the market today for machine shops of many sizes

by Ramona Schindler, Siemens Industry, Inc.

Ramona Schindler is the business development manager for the digitalization of machine tools at Siemens Industry, Inc.

With the machine tool industry in flux currently, as it seeks to find its way into the digital world, the entire process chain necessitates the integration of suppliers who can respond to the needs of the industry.  The situation has very little “history” and so large end-customers and machine shops of all sizes are seeking assistance from their suppliers, while the machine tool builders are likewise seeking to partner with hardware, software, communications and controls suppliers to bring the most needed machine types to market.

Within this scenario, the large manufacturers focus on the “big picture” as they link their production departments, often located in different cities or even countries throughout the supply chain, while the small contract manufacturer with a dozen local customers wonders how this drive to the digital factory will impact their world— and it will.  The good news is they can already utilize the IT, apps and communication devices onboard many of today’s advanced machine tools and the rapidly emerging skill sets of new workers in the machine tool industry to develop and implement the three basic levels of machine shop operations.

These levels comprise the communications hardware and protocols at the machine, the integration of inline machine production and the data resident in the cloud, which can be used today in many ways to boost productivity through automated analytics of the shopfloor’s utilization; to enhance shopfloor flexibility through optimized methods of production; and to preserve data security by state-of-the-art software solutions.  In essence, the capture and manipulation of such data drives the productivity of a small shop or large production department in quite similar ways.  The concept of your manufacturing seen as an eco-system, with information and control capabilities at all levels, can drive that “factory of the future” and, the good news, it can do so today.

From the CNC on your machines, whether they are number three in a mold shop or three hundred at a transmission plant, you can extract the pre-analytics that can be used to feed existing apps or to develop the most beneficial apps to suit your production scheme and workflow.  The beauty of the app, whether you create your own, have a third-party integrator develop it or use existing solutions, is that it provides the hierarchy of information to your operator, line supervisor, plant operations personnel or global IT department in a similar manner.  This scalability offers immediate benefit to manufacturers of all sizes and it does so, right now.  For example, machine tool users can quickly and easily configure a CNC machine’s connections and ascertain its program status and operating mode.  This will lead to increased manufacturing productivity, reliability and availability of the machine.

Cloud-based systems always raise the question of security issues, as the data flow in real time at high-speed and can be made accessible to many levels of information managers and operations personnel.  It is critical that a thorough assessment of the access to that data precede the development of any communications protocol.

Digitalization is not necessarily a costly undertaking. First steps can be quickly implemented on the shopfloor, for example, through the use of small PCs like Raspberry Pi. Likewise, for the machine tool builder, the development of “digital twin” engineering, where a machine is fully designed, commissioned and test run in a virtual environment, is rapidly changing the playing field in this industry.

The number of connected machines is increasing exponentially and this is not simply engineering adornment, it is a necessary function for any manufacturer.  Being able to quickly determine the overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) and conduct practical, beneficial predictive maintenance actions on your machines will contribute greatly to the production and profitability of your operation.

The management of today’s manufacturing shops and production departments have the challenge to become aware of all these available technologies and chart a course for their implementation.  This is not a “someday” scenario; it is a vital journey for shops of all sizes, if they want to remain competitive in today’s changing market.

My last advice, look at digitalization as an umbrella for the secure shielding of smart data, not just big data.  IIOT is the essential connectivity for all the elements of data on machine performance, materials flow, operations efficiency and ultimately your overall productivity.

It’s an exciting time in our business.

Digitalization, for example from Siemens, can be implemented at every level of machine tool operation today.

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