Production has to be more flexible and efficient. Efforts strive for simplicity, standardisation and process optimisation. Regardless of clamping system and machine type, the focus is the CNC system, says Joachim Zoll, head of machine tool systems at Siemens.
Production processes are under pressure: throughput has to be raised, resources consumption must be lowered. Variety in production and the proportion of difficult-to-make parts are increasing, batch sizes are shrinking. What can help here?
Fundamentally, a high-performance CNC standard facilitates essential process steps. Production planning, work preparation including programming and distribution of parts, flexible deployment of operational staff, maintenance, service and stocking of spare parts – all of this profits directly from a start-to-finish CNC landscape. Likewise, a homogenous CNC world facilitates both the horizontal integration of individual machines into production lines and the vertical connection to higher-level IT systems.
The CNC is not only a machine-tool component
Seen from the point of view of “Industry 4.0”, it immediately becomes clear that the CNC is much more than a component in a machine-tool: it is one of the most important production interfaces of all. In order to fulfil this role, the CNC must be cross-technology: it deals with turning, milling, milling/turning, turning/milling and grinding equally well. It must support machines specialised in one production process as well as high-end processing centres – and, furthermore, provide simple and unified operation of completely different kinematics using high-performance transformation functions.
As active automation partner of machine tool constructors and the manufacturing industry across sector and technology boundaries, Siemens has long been making its control and drive portfolio applicable across a broad range of standards – and is constantly raising the productive potential of these standards.
Current CNC-based production innovation concentrates on “intelligent operation”, the improvement of machine productivity by further improvement of production technologies and optimum embedding of production in the product life-cycle.
Unified philosophy for all technologies and machine tools
The CNC must give the human operator, an indispensable link in the production chain, the best possible support in his tasks. This is all the more relevant inasmuch as the demands on production efficiency – and thus also on the operator – are rising continuously.
All current machine tool controllers in the Sinumerik series from Siemens are also available with a unified operator-interface based on Sinumerik Operate. From the starter model to the standard and on to the premium class, from the simple turning or milling machine all the way to multi-tasking machines, this interface unifies operation at a high level – adapted functionally to the application in question. This is true for machines by a whole range of manufacturers, of the most varied kinematics and of different production technologies. Its open system architecture enables simple incorporation of manufacturer-specific operational symbols for machines or technologies.
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