Heidenhain Digitally Connects Machines from Many Builders
To showcase the new age of digital manufacturing, Heidenhain is using its control systems to connect equipment from many machine tool builders throughout McCormick Place to its booth in the Lakeside Center.
To showcase the new age of digital manufacturing, Heidenhain is using its control systems to connect equipment from many machine tool builders throughout McCormick Place to its booth in the Lakeside Center. “We have at least 10 names on the list of connected builders, and about 15 machines streaming data to our booth during the show,” says Gisbert Ledvon, TNC business development manager. The count is inexact, he explains, because distinguishing between builders and brands “is a bit fuzzy,” adding that not all connected machines are generating data when the show is open.
Ledvon points out that “Connecting Systems for Intelligent Production” has been Heidenhain’s motto at many trade shows over the past year as the manufacturing trend of digitalization and networking have become the goal for many manufacturers to increase competitiveness. To this end, the company offers Connected Machining, a package of components and systems to support end users introducing digital order management into their production processes.
This is being demonstrated in live presentations at its Connected Machining booth area, including the use of a TNC 640 control on a high-precision five-axis machine tool. Display screens show how Heidenhain’s new StateMonitor software is evaluating machine data that is being acquired during the operation of connected machine tools. “Most of the machines are equipped with the Heidenhain TNC, but other CNC types with the MTConnect protocol interface are also connected,” Ledvon explains. “We wanted to show that StateMonitor is not limited to our control—that would go against the idea of interoperability and exchangeability that is at the heart of data-driven manufacturing.”
Ledvon also notes that the Industrial Internet of Things enables StateMonitor to be used on mobile devices via a secure IT structure. The main point, he says, is that the data can be used to analyze and reduce downtime so that end users can increase competitiveness significantly.
The focus on machine monitoring, however, reflects Heidenhain’s overall emphasis on metal removal rates, productivity and accuracy while supporting the machine operator through full access to manufacturing IT. For example, five-axis application engineers are there to explain the new TNC features and their value in cutting a high-precision five-axis part.
“We also have a connection to a CNC in another booth that is very important to us. It is the control unit in our booth 215108 at the Student Summit,” Ledvon says. However, he explains that this is a “spiritual” connection only—it’s a new TNC 640 CNC set up to allow students to program with the touchscreen interface for themselves. It is not attached to a machine. “All the same, we do want students to catch the spirit of digital technology and grasp how the CNC is a critical hub for the exchange of information,” he says. What’s more, the Student Summit booth gives teachers and students a first look at the new online HIT Heidenhain Interactive Training Software for three- and five-axis machine programming.