These panels in the Niles Simmons booth define the four industrial revolutions that have shaped manufacturing. “End-to-end digital networking” is the main characteristic of the fourth revolution (sometimes referred to as Industry 4.0), according to this manufacturer of large lathes.
Industrie 4.0 is, strictly speaking, a reference to the initiative launched in Germany to establish a coherent and uniform infrastructure that facilitates factory digitalization. The effort is intended to make this country a global leader in this latest industrial revolution
Siemens, an early backer of the Industrie 4.0 initiative, is incorporating features in its CNCs to help machine tool builders and end users integrate machine tools seamlessly into the digital process change.
Machine builder DMG MORI was emphasizing how data connectivity is the key to implementing Industry 4.0. Data flowing from the machine tool must reach decision-makers on all levels to increase efficiency and yield higher profits for manufacturers. Enhancing machine data by adding sensors to critical machine components is the goal of a joint project with Schaeffler, a leading German bearing manufacturer.
Because bearing supports are present in all of the moving parts of a machine tool that are critical to the machine’s functionality and machining accuracy, embedding sensors in bearing components makes it possible to monitor the condition of the machine tool in great detail. Bearing manufacturer Schaeffler presented this model of “Machine 4.0,” showing where and how these embedded sensors would operate. Machine 4.0 would conceivably be the prototype for machine tools ideally suited for implementing data-driven manufacturing within the Industry 4.0 framework.
This diagram pinpoints the location of the bearing-based sensors on the DMG MORI/Schaeffler Industry 4.0 machine.
In addition to machine data, WFL Millturn Technologies emphasizes how the machine tool is a hub for process and tool data as well. WFL manufactures large millturn machines (including models with an onboard laser cladding system for building up workpiece features with an additive manufacturing process.)
Grob-Net4Industry is Grob’s suite of Web-enabled modules intended to create “global transparency throughout the production process.” The idea here is that decision-makers responsible for successful manufacturing at all levels must be able to “see into” every aspect of factory operation. This “digital insight” would be available wirelessly on mobile devices as well as on networked computer stations (including, of course, the machine CNC).
One of the basic Grob-Net4Industry modules is Grob4Line for machine status monitoring. It works locally at the CNC or remotely on smart phones or computers on the Internet. One of the display screens of this module pertinent to the operator is seen on the top of the machine control station.
Okuma’s latest CNC is OSP Suite, aptly named because this machine control system becomes an open-architecture platform for the company’s Intelligent Technology software capabilities. It also hosts third-party applications, giving it a suite of features and capabilities tailored to the user’s specific needs. OSP Monitor is an application by which a digital model of the shop floor enables mangers to view the status icons for all connected machine tools. Tapping the touch screen over a selected machine image opens reports that analyze data collected from OSP Suite, a CNC designed for connecting with the flow of process data.
Interconnecting individual production machines, plant-wide management systems and corporation-wide business systems into a single, integrated value chain is more than one automation supplier can fulfill. For this reason, Mitsubishi Electric presented its concept for the e-Factory Alliance, a partnership of specialized automation companies that can work together to implement the ideals of Industry 4.0.
As a basic building block of machine automation, the programmable logic controller (PLC) must be ready for the pervasive connectivity underlying Industry 4.0 concepts. Hence, Mitsubishi Electric has configured its PLCs with a common backplane, the iQ Platform, which enables these devices to be integrated into a factory network, which can now be as extensive as the factory planner wants it to be.