Digital yet sustainable — How so?

EMO Hannover 2019: Digital approaches to sustainable machining

Frank­furt am Main, 03. sep­tem­ber 2019. Indus­tri­al process­es can either be dig­i­tal or sus­tain­able – at least that is the belief of many who have not yet giv­en the issues involved the con­sid­er­a­tion they deserve. But the VDMA Tech­nol­o­gy Forum at EMO Han­nover will be prov­ing the oppo­site: applied sen­si­bly and judi­cious­ly, dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion can even increase sus­tain­abil­i­ty. Four com­pa­nies whose dig­i­tal solu­tions are help­ing to make the pro­duc­tion and use of tools more sus­tain­able offer their insights.

Employees and customers receive user-specific data, for example via augmented reality. This allows any substandard work arising from false interpretation and resulting errors to be reduced to a minimum. Photo: Phoenix Contact
Employ­ees and cus­tomers receive user-spe­cif­ic data, for exam­ple via aug­ment­ed real­i­ty. This allows any sub­stan­dard work aris­ing from false inter­pre­ta­tion and result­ing errors to be reduced to a min­i­mum.
Pho­to: Phoenix Contact

For Kon­rad Keck, Sales Man­ag­er DACH of Benz GmbH Werkzeugsys­teme in Haslach (near Offen­burg), Smart Ser­vice is the key to prepar­ing ser­vices and prod­ucts for Indus­try 4.0 (IoT-ready). For Benz, Smart Ser­vice rep­re­sents an inte­grat­ed ser­vice con­cept in which ever larg­er amounts of dig­i­tal infor­ma­tion (e.g. from sen­sors) are used for pre­ven­tive ser­vice processing.

Ener­gy har­vest­ing sup­plies sen­sors with power

Some­times the dev­il is in the tech­ni­cal detail: sen­sors often con­sume addi­tion­al ener­gy. Keck points out an alter­na­tive: “With rotat­ing tools, the ener­gy for the sen­sor sys­tem is obtained from ener­gy har­vest­ing, basi­cal­ly allow­ing bat­tery solu­tions to be dis­pensed with.” Ener­gy har­vest­ing users “har­vest” elec­tri­cal ener­gy from sources such as ambi­ent tem­per­a­ture, vibra­tions or air cur­rents to pow­er mobile devices or low-pow­er electronics.

How­ev­er, the most sus­tain­able aspect of “Smart Ser­vice” is that the tools last longer due to pre­ven­tive main­te­nance inter­vals. In the future, when dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion ren­ders prod­ucts aware of their own con­di­tion, such para­me­ters can be used as the basis for con­trol loops that increase the ser­vice life of the tools. In Hanover, the Haslach-based com­pa­ny will be demon­strat­ing how dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion can affect appli­ca­tions in dai­ly prac­tice in the form of its new­ly devel­oped rotat­ing tool mag­a­zine Benz Hybrix and the LinA broach­ing sys­tem which is now IoT-ready.

Daniel Meuris, Head of Dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion and Vir­tu­al­i­sa­tion at the machine tool man­u­fac­tur­er Klin­gelnberg GmbH, Hück­eswa­gen, will be pre­sent­ing the company’s GearEngine plat­form for gear pro­duc­tion at EMO Han­nover 2019. This serves as a cen­tral col­lec­tion point for pro­duc­tion data and an inter­face between the pro­duc­tion depart­ment and the man­age­ment. The plat­form facil­i­tates the deploy­ment of soft­ware-based data ser­vices for Klin­gelnberg machine tool operators.

Soft­ware tool rais­ing tool efficiency

Meuris believes that tool effi­cien­cy is the key to sus­tain­able machin­ing. One exam­ple is bev­el gear pro­duc­tion in which it was not pre­vi­ous­ly pos­si­ble to assess effi­cien­cy lev­els due to the spe­cial tools involved and the lack of data. Klingelnberg’s new Smart­Tool­ing sys­tem can iden­ti­fy tools and fix­tures for bev­el gear milling machines using Data Matrix codes and man­age them cen­tral­ly in a data­base. Meuris: “The means of pro­duc­tion are described to any required lev­el of pre­ci­sion as dig­i­tal twins in a cen­tral data­base. Pro­duc­tion data is added to this data­base dur­ing and after the gear cut­ting.” Klin­gelnberg will be demon­strat­ing how this works in prac­tice in Hanover by show­ing actu­al oper­a­tion on a machine.

Dr. Raphael Rohde from the Tech­nol­o­gy Devel­op­ment depart­ment of the Tools and Parts busi­ness unit of Blomberg-based Phoenix Con­tact GmbH & Co. KG will be explain­ing how pro­duc­tion can be opti­mised using tool data at the Tech­nol­o­gy Forum of EMO Han­nover. The con­nec­tion and automa­tion tech­nol­o­gy man­u­fac­tur­er net­works its injec­tion mould­ing tools with the aid of RFID-based data acqui­si­tion and opti­cal mark­ers. “All man­u­fac­tur­ing and pro­duc­tion infor­ma­tion is avail­able at all times,” Rohde explains. “The required data is made avail­able to employ­ees and indi­vid­ual users in the form of visu­al­i­sa­tion boards or through the use of aug­ment­ed real­i­ty. This helps reduce any mis­takes due to incor­rect inter­pre­ta­tion and keep con­se­quen­tial errors to a min­i­mum, thus con­tribut­ing to sus­tain­abil­i­ty in production.”

Mea­sure­ment tech­nol­o­gy sup­ports dig­i­tal transformation

The dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion of indus­try is bring­ing mea­sure­ment tech­nol­o­gy ever clos­er to and into pro­duc­tion, as Prof. Heiko Wen­zel-Schinz­er, Man­ag­ing Direc­tor and Chief Dig­i­tal Offi­cer of Wen­zel Group GmbH & Co. KG in Wiesthal has observed: “We can take more and faster mea­sure­ments with opti­cal solu­tions, 5‑axis mea­sur­ing heads and spe­cial mea­sur­ing machines, and give direct feed­back to the pro­cess­ing machines via closed con­trol loops.” How­ev­er, when mea­sure­ment tech­nol­o­gy moves into pro­duc­tion, it is cru­cial that it more or less elim­i­nates down­times. The mea­sure­ment tech­nol­o­gy man­u­fac­tur­er offers addi­tion­al solu-tions which are designed to detect and cor­rect any prob­lems on the machines at a very ear­ly stage. This extends the ser­vice life of the pro­duc­tion equip­ment and makes it more sustainable.

Wenzel’s mea­sur­ing machines are also designed for extreme­ly long ser­vice lives. “We are deploy­ing mod­ern mea­sur­ing tech­nol­o­gy that can repeat­ed­ly be mod­ernised with­out the entire machine hav­ing to be replaced,” explains the man­ag­ing direc­tor. “With process mon­i­tor­ing, the closed con­trol loop between the mea­sur­ing tech­nol­o­gy and the pro­cess­ing machines reduces the num­ber of rejects, as we can pro­vide feed­back on any pro­duc­tion prob­lems at a very ear­ly stage.” On the Wen­zel Group stand at the EMO Han­nover the com­pa­ny will demon­strate the inter­ac­tion between pro­duc­tion and new mea­sur­ing tech­nol­o­gy – from portable mea­sur­ing arms through to high-speed scan­ning machines.

Those who are inter­est­ed can find out more about sus­tain­abil­i­ty and dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion in pro­duc­tion at the Tech­nol­o­gy Forum of the VDMA-High-Pre­ci­sion Tools and Metro­log­i­cal and Test­ing Tech­nol­o­gy trade asso­ci­a­tions on stand D39 in hall 4.

Author: Niko­laus Fecht, spe­cial­ist jour­nal­ist from Gelsenkirchen
Size: around 5,800 char­ac­ters includ­ing blanks

Categories: 2019, September