The “Industry 4.0” approach is the (r)evolutionary summary of what we as a globally active machine tool manufacturer have been experiencing to some extent for some time now. The idea of “Cyber-Physical Systems” (CPS) is only the consequence for the future. The machine tool, as part of these CPS, is probably the one element that is best prepared for this future. The greater challenges will be the harmonisation of interfaces of the different systems and the people involved. In terms of Industry 4.0, HELLER is focusing on increasing machine productivity and supporting consistent value-added chains from the digital to the real world. Core aspects 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.
Already well equipped for the future
Industry 4.0 represents a new stage in the organisation and control of the entire value-added chain throughout a product's lifecycle. It is aimed at advancing manufacturing technology and envisions the creation of a Smart Factory, characterised by adaptability, resource efficiency and ergonomics as well as the integration of customers and business partners into business and value-added processes.
The aim is to reduce the time to market by means of more streamlined innovation cycles, more complex products and larger data volumes, whilst increasing flexibility through individualised mass production, changing markets and increased productivity. The main characteristics of Industry 4.0 named so far are digitisation, networking and a consistent value-added chain.
Digitisation requires that all data existing in the machine have a common time reference determined by the fastest data generator and are consistently available across all network levels. Networking means that all data existing in the network are mapped consistently in the entire network in accordance with pre-defined standards. This allows them to be linked to each other, to be compacted across the different time levels and eventually to be fed into the network with a time stamp. The continuous CAD/CAM chain generates the default data in accordance with the rules of digitisation. Information on quantities, prioritisation, machine selection, workpiece and tool data and fixtures is included consistently in the default data. Default data and the data from the machines and the automation can thus be linked to each other and utilised to the best advantage in the value-added chain.
HELLER's concept for Industry 4.0
For decades, the manufacturing and turnkey systems made by HELLER have been synonymous with high availability and productivity, thus fulfilling the requirements in terms of digitisation and network integration of information and production technologies. Yet, the goal is to achieve a further increase in productivity. This is made possible, among other things, by reducing the functional load on the machine control, by ease of operation, individualisation on workpiece-level and enhanced evaluation of existing sensor data.
Another important factor for HELLER is the expansion of the services offered and data standardisation. This requires the transformation of fault rectification into preventative maintenance. It can be achieved using enhanced diagnostics tools and corresponding service packages. Data standardisation provides enhanced network security and compliance with legal regulations whilst securing their standards.
One way to increase machine productivity, for instance, is to expand machine functionality and to provide active user support. In concrete terms, this refers to more comprehensive and intensive data evaluation and additional services such as digitisation, networking and the integration into the engineering chain. With future HELLER solutions it will be possible to adapt networked machine controls to pre-defined tasks.
In terms of functionality, they will be equipped with different modes, i.e. “manufacture” in production mode, “assist” in fault or diagnostics mode and “perform” in optimisation mode. As far as machine operation is concerned, integrated functions will include: engineering tools, remote operation for viewing of 3-D workpiece drawings, CAM-based generation and 3-D simulation of CNC programs and transfer to the machine control. Additionally, cross-network tool and program management as well as ERP systems can be incorporated.
For active user support, HELLER will be providing the relevant assistance systems. These include, e.g. navigation support for quick resolution of fault conditions, guided operator dialogue with operator confirmation, analysis of operating situations with cause-effect-diagram and recommendations for action as well as the recording of operating sequences to repeat applications.
Generating added value for customers
By now, HELLER has implemented numerous reference projects, incorporating the key elements of Industry 4.0: from workpiece individualisation in high-volume production, full data collection regarding workpieces and tools with feedback to the customer's ERP system through to comprehensive networking of the machines with a wide range of service options in remote operation. The solutions available either use the customers' internal private clouds or internet-based public clouds.
In summary, HELLER supplements functionality with network integration, expands the possibilities of service, secures applicable regulations and increases machine productivity through use of Industry 4.0 communication standards and integrating them into the consistent value-added chain. Additionally, the load on the machine control is reduced using cloud-based network functions, generating added value for the customers.
The optimisation of tool management in the magazine is one example for the “perform” optimisation mode. The goal is to achieve a significant reduction in cycle times. The tool magazine is usually loaded in a way to optimise loading capacity. In many cases, however, the order in which the tools are accessed as a result of the machining sequence is not sufficiently taken into consideration.
Eventually, this results in extended idle times for tool provisioning and thus, increased cycle time. In order to reduce cycle 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 to re-sort the tool magazine.
Already today, HELLER achieves the goal of generating added value for the customer through easier use of the machine, optimal integration into the customer network and expanded functionality and service possibilities.
Mav industry 4.0 theme park at METAV
To learn more, visit the 1st mav industry 4.0 theme park in hall 17 at fair METAV in Dusseldorf, Germany. Look forward to engaging presentations and a constructive exchange of experiences with our experts.