Siemens From design to finished parts with a single database
Digital CAD/CAM/CNC process chains promise faster product design and more flexibility. At Metav 2016, Siemens will be among the exhibitors showcasing new virtual machines that support production planning. We asked Joachim Zoll, head of the company’s Machine Tools Systems Business Segment, to tell us more.
ETMM: What does the harmonised process chain of the future look like?
Joachim Zoll: Horizontal and vertical integration is gaining steadily in importance. Horizontal integration means harmonised CAD/CAM-CNC process chains where products can be optimised at the design stage. Digital twinning of the machine tool – by which I mean a virtual machine model that is based on the design data – can be integrated into the process chain for control-system-specific simulation of machining steps. Thus newly planned workpieces can be run virtually on a PC, while the actual machine is still producing parts for a previous project. Moreover, we support our customers with more efficient networking solutions.
ETMM: And what might these look like?
Zoll: First of all, central data storage as well as better tool management and order management. Secondly, our solutions can acquire status data and implement tele-maintenance. In addition, our control system software offers interfaces for higher-order applications such as collaboration platforms or manufacturing execution systems. This creates harmonised vertical IT integration – from the machine tool right up to the master level, with much better productivity and quality.
ETMM: Designing, modelling, programming, simulating, producing – are these the building blocks of the ideal process chain?
Zoll: You have to distinguish between our integrated engineering approach for machinery manufacturers and the CAD/CAM-CNC process chain for machinery operators. The machine manufacturer’s design follows customer requirements – this is called system engineering. Subsequently, concept designers create the design data and the engineering work for the mechanical parts, the electrics and the automation. With our integrated engineering approach, machinery manufacturers are already able to digitally image and optimise the entire process, from the original idea to the concept and all the way through to machine development. The digital image provides reassurance in the development phase, leading to earlier market launches.