Data themed around the tool ensure transparent production

High-pre­ci­sion tools have a key func­tion in dig­i­tal pro­duc­tion oper­a­tions. Appli­ca­tion-tai­lored inte­gra­tion into the pro­duc­tion sequences and pur­pose­ful pro­cess­ing of the tool data are the basis for up-to-the-future Indus­try 4.0 solutions.

“All digital options have to be rigorously implemented – from the tool itself, then the tool-holder, including the clamping operation and balancing, all the way through to tool presetting and deployment on the machine,” to quote Andreas Haimer, General Manager at Haimer GmbH. Photo: Haimer
“All dig­i­tal options have to be rig­or­ous­ly imple­ment­ed – from the tool itself, then the tool-hold­er, includ­ing the clamp­ing oper­a­tion and bal­anc­ing, all the way through to tool pre­set­ting and deploy­ment on the machine,” to quote Andreas Haimer, Gen­er­al Man­ag­er at Haimer GmbH. Pho­to: Haimer

METAV 2020 to show­case the prac­ti­cal util­i­ty of dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion and automa­tion in tool provision.

The dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion of pro­duc­tion process­es plays an impor­tant role for every com­pa­ny that wants to oper­ate suc­cess­ful­ly on the mar­ket. Since the tool with its spe­cif­ic data is in met­al-cut­ting machin­ing a cru­cial con­stituent of the process chain, it has to fit in with the dig­i­tal pro­duc­tion envi­ron­ment. “All dig­i­tal options have to be rig­or­ous­ly imple­ment­ed – from the tool itself, then the tool-hold­er, includ­ing the clamp­ing oper­a­tion and bal­anc­ing, all the way through to tool pre­set­ting and deploy­ment on the machine,” is how Andreas Haimer, Gen­er­al Man­ag­er of Haimer GmbH, Igen­hausen, sum­maris­es the spec­trum involved.

One impor­tant approach in this con­text is the pro­vi­sion of dig­i­tal ser­vices by tool man­u­fac­tur­ers for their cus­tomers, e.g. by ensur­ing that all tool data can be retrieved online. Accord­ing to Andreas Haimer, more­over, a tool man­age­ment solu­tion that enables a dig­i­tal work­flow of the tool data is cru­cial. This means: the soft­ware has to be able to inte­grate the entire tool envi­ron­ment – shrink-fit­ting, bal­anc­ing, pre­set­ting – into the dig­i­tal process and ren­der it automatable.

Exchang­ing tool data beyond the bound­aries of indi­vid­ual facilities

One thing is cer­tain: dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion is trans­form­ing the entire pro­duc­tion sequence. With the aid of tool data stored in mem­o­ry, the entire man­u­fac­tur­ing process can be sim­u­lat­ed and opti­mised in advance. Stor­age sys­tems are often con­nect­ed, too, and the loca­tion of each indi­vid­ual tool can be tracked. “The bot­tom line is that thanks to dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion in their pro­duc­tion oper­a­tions com­pa­nies save time, mon­ey and resources,” says Bernd Schwen­nig, Tech­ni­cal Sales Man­ag­er at E. Zoller GmbH & Co. KG, Plei­delsheim, a mem­ber of the GTDE asso­ci­a­tion (Graph­i­cal Tool Data Exchange – Stan­dard Open Base), which has tak­en on board the issue of data exchange under the aegis of the VDMA’s Pre­ci­sion Tools Association.

The foun­da­tion for every automa­tion process is always the tool data, which mean­while sub­sume much more than mere­ly the geo­met­ri­cal data. Besides machine-spe­cif­ic data, these include, for exam­ple, the remain­ing ser­vice life­time avail­able, or the stor­age loca­tion or mag­a­zine space on the machine. “These data are, of course, avail­able world­wide, if the com­pa­ny so desires,” adds Bernd Schwen­nig. It must, more­over, be assumed that the data inside a com­pa­ny are increas­ing­ly being exchanged beyond the bound­aries of indi­vid­ual facil­i­ties. “That a pur­chase order is trig­gered at a tool ven­dor when stock lev­els in a pro­duc­tion plant fall below a min­i­mum inven­to­ry is, of course, only a minor aspect here, but one that’s already in actu­al use. Over­all, the entire inter­change pro­ce­dures are much more open.  Need­less to say, this in its turn entails quite dif­fer­ent chal­lenges,” he adds in conclusion.

Logis­tics for tool sup­ply to the machine are being optimised

In dig­i­tal pro­duc­tion oper­a­tions, too, the met­al-cut­ting process as such is still cru­cial­ly influ­enced by the tool in terms of com­po­nent qual­i­ty and cost-effi­cien­cy. The tool thus remains a cru­cial fac­tor for suc­cess in met­al-cut­ting pro­duc­tion oper­a­tions,” adds Dr. Stef­fen Lang, who heads the Ser­vice Divi­sion at Gühring KG in Albstadt.

The dig­i­tal inte­gra­tion of met­al-cut­ting machines enables the per­for­ma­tive capa­bil­i­ties and the cur­rent sta­tus of the tool deployed in the machine to be acquired far more pre­cise­ly than hith­er­to. Thanks to the resul­tant trans­paren­cy, the entire logis­tics for tool sup­ply to the machine can be opti­mised. Dr. Lang sum­maris­es the extent of an auto­mat­ed tool pro­vi­sion fea­ture: “This begins with pre­set­ting of the tools actu­al­ly required at the machines, which are mount­ed and adjust­ed in the opti­mal sequence. It con­tin­ues with con­sump­tion mon­i­tor­ing of the inven­to­ry lev­els and acqui­si­tion of ser­vice life­time changes and fac­tor­ing them direct­ly into fur­ther tool plan­ning. And final­ly the con­sump­tion and per­for­mance data are for­ward­ed to the ven­dors, so as to opti­mise the tool’s per­for­mance and supply.”

In this con­text, Gühring offers a machine inter­fac­ing con­cept that enables the machine sta­tus and tech­no­log­i­cal process para­me­ters like spin­dle speed and torque, plus forces of the feed axes, to be acquired. More­over, the machine data can be acquired direct­ly in the pro­duc­tion process, and on this basis the met­al-cut­ting process can be imme­di­ate­ly optimised.

Solu­tions for dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion in the tool environment

In order to progress dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion, more­over, the com­pa­ny has devel­oped for its prod­ucts a tool man­age­ment soft­ware pack­age of its own that exe­cutes and organ­is­es the exchange of set­point and actu­al val­ues, and oth­er tool data, between the indi­vid­ual sta­tions in the tool room and the company’s net­work. Haimer’s devices from the Indus­try 4.0 series, more­over, can be auto­mat­ed using mod­ern dig­i­tal fea­tures and interfaces.

For Zoller, the para­mount focus is on holis­tic tool data han­dling. The company’s set­ting and mea­sur­ing devices deter­mine the req­ui­site tool geom­e­try data, and edit them so that the machine tool can read them in. “Even for this step of data trans­fer, we offer a wide range of high­ly dis­parate solu­tions for every size of firm. The data can be both entered man­u­al­ly and trans­mit­ted over a net­work or an RFID chip,” reports Bernd Schwen­nig. The tool man­age­ment capa­bil­i­ty sub­sumes not only the organ­i­sa­tion of tool stor­age, but also eval­u­a­tion options, e.g. for ser­vice life­time or costs of tool util­i­sa­tion, bro­ken down into a spe­cif­ic order or even a spe­cif­ic com­po­nent. “Our goal is always to gen­er­ate max­imised trans­paren­cy in the entire tool con­text, so as to opti­mise the pro­duc­tion sequences involved and ren­der them faster and more cost-effi­cient,” says Bernd Schwennig.

Users have to famil­iarise them­selves with and har­ness the func­tion­al­i­ties involved

But users, too, have to engage with the issue of dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion. For new invest­ments, in par­tic­u­lar, com­pa­nies should take care to ensure that every ele­ment in the tool’s envi­ron­ment has Indus­try 4.0 capa­bil­i­ty and can be inte­grat­ed into the dig­i­tal work­flow. “A tool should, for exam­ple, be unam­bigu­ous­ly iden­ti­fi­able using RFID data chips or using QR or data matrix codes, and through this detec­tion capa­bil­i­ty sup­ply fur­ther tool data like Arti­cle Num­ber or 3D mod­els,” says Andreas Haimer, cit­ing spe­cif­ic key data.  Bernd Schwen­ning adds: “The most impor­tant fac­tor for opti­mal tool deploy­ment is prop­er­ly updat­ed tool data. With­out tool data, the entire sequence is incon­ceiv­able: nei­ther dig­i­tal­ly aid­ed inven­to­ry man­age­ment nor the retrieval of metro­log­i­cal pro­grams nor read­ing tool data into the machine.” This first step, of course, he admits, is tedious­ly hard work, but it does offer the req­ui­site foun­da­tions for cor­po­rate sur­vival in the future.

Online mon­i­tor­ing of the machine para­me­ters deter­mi­nant for the met­al-cut­ting process, like torque and pow­er con­sump­tion of the spin­dle, feed forces of the axes, etc. enables tool util­i­sa­tion to be opti­mised or the dimen­sion­ing of the tool to be ren­dered more suit­able for the machin­ing job involved. “Both pro­vide the user with an option for rais­ing his pro­duc­tiv­i­ty more selec­tive­ly. It’s impor­tant for him to know and exploit these advan­tages of machine inter­fac­ing, so as to upgrade his com­pet­i­tive­ness,” empha­sis­es Dr. Stef­fen Lang.

Exhibitors to show­case up-to-the-future dig­i­talised solutions

At the METAV, the exhibitors will in the con­text of tool util­i­sa­tion also be pre­sent­ing dis­parate solu­tions in dig­i­tal pro­duc­tion oper­a­tions. For instance, Haimer will be show­cas­ing its con­cepts in regard to the dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion of tool pre­set­ting, net­work­ing and con­cate­na­tion of sys­tems. More­over, the com­pa­ny will be pre­sent­ing many new tools and hold­ers, and in its role as a com­plete-sys­tem ven­dor for every­thing to do with machine tools be spot­light­ing at the fair the very lat­est shrink-fit, bal­anc­ing and pre­set­ting devices.

Zoller will be show­cas­ing solu­tions for mea­sur­ing and man­ag­ing tools, and for tool data man­age­ment. This involves metrol­o­gy, soft­ware and ser­vices that guar­an­tee com­plete-sys­tem solu­tions for adjust­ing, mea­sur­ing, test­ing and man­ag­ing met­al-cut­ting tools. In addi­tion, the com­pa­ny pro­vides infor­ma­tion on automa­tion solu­tions that sup­port dai­ly tool han­dling for enhanced process reliability.

On the Gühring company’s stand, the machine’s inter­fac­ing with the tool man­age­ment soft­ware and the eval­u­a­tion of machine data acquired will be on show live on the spot on a CNC machine. Fur­ther exhibits from the Gühring com­pa­ny will be new drills and met­al-cut­ting con­cepts for the field of e‑mobility.

Size: around 9,000 char­ac­ters incl. blanks
Author: Annedore Bose-Munde, Spe­cial­ist Jour­nal­ist from Erfurt, on behalf of the VDMA Pre­ci­sion Tools Association

Categories: 2020