New online services Digital — the new normal? Virtual tool ordering, configuration and training

Editor: MA Alexander Stark

In times of travel restrictions online tool ordering, services and training are gaining in importance. How do suppliers react to this demand? ETMM presents some of the current developments that make tool ordering faster and easier and support training efforts.

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(Source: Public Domain / Pixabay )

Since many events and personal contact with customers have been restricted in recent months, companies accelerate the implementation of digital services. Due to the pandemic trade fairs also went into the web and paved the way for a new normal of virtual “gatherings”. For instance, Metav digital came to a successful end on 26 March. “It was a solution to the current situation with a new format in which 80 exhibitors participated with great enthusiasm and commitment,” says Stefanie Simon, responsible for organizing the trade fair at the VDW (German Machine Tool Builders' Association). A total of 2,500 visitors attended Metav digital, and more than 1,530 registered for the web sessions.

Also, the leading trade fair for the moulding industry resorts to digital means in order to establish contacts between suppliers and buyers. Since Moulding Expo cannot be held this year as planned due to the Corona pandemic, on 10 June 2021, a Virtual Innovation Day (VID) will present highlights from the supporting and lecture program planned for 2021 to the international trade fair audience free of charge. Compactly bundled in five lecture slots, those responsible for the trade fair will open up the highlights from the supporting and lecture programme originally planned for 2021 to the industry.

These examples show that the tool and mouldmaking industry is open for digital solutions. This is also mirrored by the virtual tool ordering and configuration services sprouting across the industry:

All-new on-demand configurator tool with CAD downloads

NFPA hydraulic and pneumatic cylinder manufacturer, Ortman Fluid Power, enhances online experience for engineers with CAD downloads, 3D configurator and integrated pricing. The company has added a 3D CAD catalogue of configurable NFPA cylinders, built by Cadenas. The new tool provides on-demand access to design NFPA cylinders as well as the company’s 101 series cylinders online. This tool allows customers to find, configure, download, and generate pricing for products directly from the Ortman website.

Best known for their Spacesaver line, Ortman Fluid Power is known as an innovator in the cylinder industry. The Spacesaver line is smaller and provides a rebuildable cylinder option where a standard NFPA design will not fit, the company states. Engineers can find, design, and download products in more than 150 native and neutral CAD formats, including 3D PDF datasheets. A built-in, dynamic pricing module shows an engineer the exact price as they change their cylinder design. No matter the mount, bore, or stroke selected, the pricing tool is active, giving the updated price with each unique configuration made. The Ortman cylinder configurator is now live for engineers to access CAD downloads from the Spacesaver line, as well as NFPA hydraulic and pneumatic cylinders.

Walter Innotime is a digital wizard that conducts tool selection and calculates optimised parameters from the information such as cutting speeds, feeds and strategies.
Walter Innotime is a digital wizard that conducts tool selection and calculates optimised parameters from the information such as cutting speeds, feeds and strategies.
(Source: Walter)

Digital wizard simplifies tool ordering

Walter Engineering are working with a new digital wizard: Walter Innotime. Based on a 3D model of the component drag-and-drop uploaded to the Walter website by the customer, Walter Innotime analyses which cutting operations are required and suggests to the engineer dealing with the enquiry (in future versions, directly to the customer) the appropriate machining tools with cutting data and prices from the Walter portfolio. This digital search at the component level is currently unique in the market. The engineer checks the proposal and optimises it, if necessary, according to the customer's needs. As a result, the design process for complex enquiries is fast-tracked considerably — and the customer receives the most economical tailored tooling solution and a valid quote in the shortest time. Walter field service employees and engineers benefit from the preliminary work done by the system: in the physical design and the development of the optimum machining strategy for the customer component.

“For our engineers and technical distributors, but primarily for our customers, Walter Innotime represents a milestone. We deliberate intensively over the component and can deal with enquiries so much faster — for our customers, that's something directly tangible,” explains Dr Michael Hepp, Vice President Digital Business at Walter. “By combining the Engineering competence of our employees with the virtual intelligence of our software systems, we can assist our customers in quickly and easily finding, purchasing and employing the most economical tooling solution for them. In future, our customers will have to do nothing more than upload their 3D component — quick and easy.”

Thomson Industries has released its new 3D CAD configurator for precision ball screws in cooperation with Cadenas, enabling engineers to complete the selection process in just a few minutes.
Thomson Industries has released its new 3D CAD configurator for precision ball screws in cooperation with Cadenas, enabling engineers to complete the selection process in just a few minutes.
(Source: Cadenas)

New application simplifies configuration and ordering of ball screws

The new 3D CAD configurator launched by Thomson Industries in cooperation with Cadenas helps design engineers zero in on the right part quickly, access a 3D model with just a click, view pricing and lead times, easily share orderable product specifications and take advantage of direct online orders. To find the ideal ball screw for their application, users start by conducting their search through an intuitive, visual-based menu. They enter their application requirements and can narrow down their options to an optimal choice in just a few clicks. Further enhancements include real-time adjustments with defined filter parameters, and up-front pricing and delivery lead times. Another unique feature are product recommendations from Thomson engineers. Additionally, the user can access new, verified 3D models, including ball screw assemblies; catalog links; and product details, all with a single click on the results page. The streamlined process not only takes significantly less time than traditional approaches, but it also yields better results, the company states.

Ball screws, which are compact, quiet and cost effective, provide a low-friction, highly efficient technology for translating rotational motion to linear motion in many applications, including those involving high loads and close tolerances. A key offering in the Thomson portfolio of linear motion components, ball screws are available in metric, inch and miniature versions and can be configured as an assembly, which consists of a ball screw and ball nut with recirculating ball bearings. These assemblies are also featured in the ball screw selector tool.

Via the dashboard of the innovative cloud solution, Ecoclean Connect displays all system and process data on a desktop or tablet.
Via the dashboard of the innovative cloud solution, Ecoclean Connect displays all system and process data on a desktop or tablet.
(Source: Ecoclean)

The connection for improved productivity and competitiveness

Rising quality requirements, stricter traceability demands, more customer-specific projects and shorter delivery times — the challenges faced by manufacturing companies are becoming ever-more diverse. Automation, digitalization and networking are essential prerequisites to overcome these. Ecoclean supports the digital transformation of parts cleaning processes with its cloud solution Ecoclean Connect.

A company's competitiveness and future viability depend largely on how effectively and quickly it can respond to changing customer needs and markets. These include rising quality requirements, end-to-end traceability along the value-adding chain, delivery reliability, flexibility and cost-effectiveness. The technical development of the machines required for production alone is not sufficient to fulfil these complex tasks. Adapted software solutions are needed that minimize interfaces and manual interventions, ensure a high degree of transparency and enable full connectivity.

These requirements have been taken into account in the innovative cloud solution Ecoclean Connect. Defined data generated by the cleaning system’s control unit is transmitted to the cloud in encrypted form via a secure connection. They are stored, evaluated, analyzed and intelligently linked in the IoT platform using the latest technologies and infrastructures. The data is displayed in a clear and simple way via a dashboard on a desktop or tablet.

To meet different user needs and requirements, Ecoclean Connect is available in the following packages: Comfort, Premium and Premium Plus. A demo account allows customers to gain an insight into the cloud solution free of charge and without obligation.

DP Technology now offers their webinar for Esprit CAM & KME CNC on demand.
DP Technology now offers their webinar for Esprit CAM & KME CNC on demand.
(Source: DP Technology)

CAD webinar available on demand

In an on demand webinar, experts show how Esprit and KME are working together to provide off-the-shelf solutions for making machine tools more capable of done-in-one manufacturing. The companies show how simulation and digital twin of the machine tool and setup can save time through accurate verification of the program and an intuitive programming experience. Learn how Esprit seamlessly supports the machine-dependent code requirements for KME’s entire product line and more.

Register here.

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