Metav 2016 – Smart Factory Working from One Database
A smart factory needs start-to-finish process chains, from design to production and all the way through to logistics. Yet, for this, all processes must also be networked and able to communicate with each other. At the Metav, Siemens shows which solutions are available for this start-to-finish process chain, how they can be realised and how firms can profit from it.
Digital CAD/CAM-CNC process chains in complex installations promise the user fast construction and flexible response to customers’ requirements, with virtual machines supporting work preparation. Concrete solutions showing how such a digital process chain can look are presented by, for example, Siemens at the Metav 2016. We spoke about precise details with Joachim Zoll, business segment manager Machine Tool Systems.
Mr. Zoll, how do you picture the start-to-finish process chain in the production of the future?
We see that horizontal and vertical integration is becoming increasingly important. Horizontal integration stands for start-to-finish CAD/CAM-CNC process chains in which initial optimisations can already be carried out during product design with the help of corresponding CAD software. Ultimately, the so-called digital twin of the machine tool – effectively a virtual model machine based on design data – can be integrated into the process chain for a control-specific simulation of the process steps. The advantage: freshly planned workpieces can be run-in virtually on the PC, while the real machine is still producing other parts. In addition, we support our customers with networking solutions to raise the efficiency in production.
You also support the user with networking solutions. What form do these take?
On the one hand, we are concerned here with central data storage, tool management and order management, and on the other hand our solutions allow collection of status data and remote maintenance. Our control software furthermore provides interfaces to upper-level applications, such as a collaboration platform or an MES. This thus results in start-to-finish IT integration – from the machine tool to the management level.
Design engineering, modelling, programming, simulation, production – are these the building blocks in the ideal process chain?
Essentially, one must distinguish between our integrated engineering approach for machine constructors and the CAD/CAM-CNC process chain for machine operators. The machine constructor begins with the design of his machine, with the systems engineering. That is followed by the concept design, from which design engineering and engineering for the mechanics, electrics and automation emerge. With our integrated engineering approach, machine constructors can already visualise digitally today the development from the idea via the concept through to the machine development and optimise it. The machine can thus come onto the market earlier.
How does the machine manufacturer benefit from this?
With the help of PLM software, machine constructors are going over to paralleling what were previously sequential procedures and shortening the development time of a machine by up to 30 %. Since all the relevant design engineering data of the machine is available digitally, the digital twin of the machine to be delivered can be produced. The machine constructor can thus begin directly with the virtual machine development process without even picking up a piece of mechanics. The essential point here is that the virtual machine model also enables upstream virtual commissioning. For this, the virtual machine model is connected to the real control technology. The machine projections and also the interaction between CNC and machine can thus be tested in detail under real conditions.