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HELLER4INDUSTRY: Added value for the future

The continual objective in metal-cutting manufacturing is to further increase productivity, creating added value for the customer. As a result, new and further development of machine tools and addition of optional extensions continue. Currently, the conventional potentials for productivity increases are thought to have been fully exploited. In terms of Industry 4.0, HELLER's approach is to enhance transparency of the current machine status, evaluating the information gained in combination with existing data to allow purposeful diagnostics. To achieve this, future machine functions will be combined with powerful data extraction amongst other measures.

For some years now, HELLER machines and turnkey systems have met the requirements in terms of the digitisation and network integration of information and production technologies.

Efficient exploitation of optimisation potentials

By means of three modules HELLER illustrates the importance of ease of operation, customised workpiece manufacturing and enhanced evaluation of existing sensor data.

HELLER4Operation is an easy-to-use, operator-oriented user interface for HELLER machines. The use of touch controls at the tool/workpiece loading station enables fast and robust operation. In addition to the familiar Siemens standard operation, the new main operator panel allows execution of customer-specific programs from web environments. The 24” touch interface named HELLER Operation Interface can be upgraded with expansion programs, so-called Xtends, enhancing performance and functionality.

The second area, HELLER4Services, comprises digital services. The HELLER Services Interface focuses on transparency of manufacturing and maintenance processes. The module forms the basis for evaluations and statistics, thus providing support in reducing machine downtimes. Additionally, the visualisation of specific information, including status displays of axes, spindles or other assemblies, enables users to determine wear and to take preventive measures in order to avoid unscheduled downtimes.

The third area, HELLER4Performance, comprises the machine analysis for process and performance optimisation, time-synchronous extraction of real-time data into the internet as well as evaluation and graphical display, e.g. using the SAP-HANA internet platform. Together with SAP, HELLER demonstrates the specific benefits of this online streaming function with the mapping of a CAD-designed 3-D workpiece in a cloud. This enables precise representation of the tool (paths including tolerances) in which tool wear is expected. Subsequently, the workpiece program is run on the machine. The data generated is directly transferred to the cloud. This way the paths to be traversed by the machine/tool can be pre-assessed on the basis of the workpiece design prior to machining to see whether the machine will be able to perform the operation.

Cloud helps to reduce idle times

The example of tool provisioning shows how further savings can be achieved with HELLER4Industry by linking the digital and the real world. Usually, tool magazines are loaded in a way to provide optimal storage capacity. Often, however, the tool access sequence differs from the sequence of the machining operations. It means that the distance from the tool to the spindle has a significant influence on the duration of the tool change. To reduce these unproductive times, the stock of workpieces to be optimised can be selected from the pallet management and be transferred to the cloud along with the details. This way, both the tool change times and the tool idle times can be analysed and evaluated in view of the sorting order, providing the shortest idle times for the given workpiece and the  machining operation. Subsequently, HELLER generates the CNC program for re-sorting in the cloud and provides it to the machine for re-sorting of the tool magazine.

Industry 4.0 made by HELLER

In terms of Industry 4.0, HELLER is also focusing on a further increase in machine productivity and the support of consistent engineering chains. Core aspects to achieve this are supplementary machine functions, on-demand services and enhanced service capabilities. Essential for this are new industry standards in terms of data exchange and data security as well as standardised interfaces. HELLER is accelerating the evaluation of existing machine sensors and supports network integration of the machines, using services on network computers. However, for digitisation it is important to develop data recording mechanisms capable of generating a real-life image of the machine and mapping it within a network, either in the customer-internal private cloud or in an internet-based public cloud.

For HELLER, the aim of all considerations, possibilities and solutions remains the reduction of cycle times, and thus per-piece costs, by providing high productivity. Already today, HELLER achieves the goal of generating added value for the customer through greater ease of use, optimal integration into the network and expanded functionalities and service possibilities.


Contact HELLER Machine Tools

Heller Machine Tools L.P.
1225 Equity Drive
Troy, Michigan USA 48084
+1 248 658 6600
+1 248 288 9560

Annual report 2014

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