Harnessing the Benefits of Next-Gen Machine Tools in the Manufacturing Industry

  Mar 2, 2020 11:27:57 PM

Industry 4.0 has been brought about with the integration of various technologies like Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), Digital twins, etc. The end result of which, is the blurring of lines between the physical and digital world. Industry 4.0, therefore, has a major impact on all stakeholders, adding value across to the manufacturing chain.

Impact of Industry 4.0 on Machine Tools

Like every other aspect of manufacturing, machine operations are being heavily revamped to provide a more streamlined, connected, and intelligent network. As such, current machine tools are not equipped for Industry 4.0 due to the following aspects:

  • Lack of multi-connectivity capabilities
  • Non-intuitive HMI incapable of processing data from multiple sources
  • No Cloud and Cloud analytics capability along with the absence of Edge technologies
  • Their non-modular nature and inability of providing remote monitoring and predictive maintenance

Therefore, there is a need for advanced machine tools which can support the needs of Industry 4.0. This would enable manufacturers to explore new revenue models, understand usage patterns, and facilitate remote diagnostic and preventive maintenance services.

At present, the top priority for industrial machine and precision tools manufacturers should be to re-engineer their existing machine tools and enable the following:

  • Reduction in field maintenance costs by providing remote digital diagnostics
  • Encourage the move from reactive to predictive maintenance for their customers
  • Arrest revenue losses due to unexpected downtime, and guarantee uptime for customers
  • Create new Digital revenue streams, such as Product-as-a-service, which are recurrent and predictable
  • Provide real-time usage insights to encourage product innovation and development

How Next-Gen Machine Tools can Add Value across the Manufacturing Chain:

  • Multi-connectivity
    Next-gen machine tools will support multiple wired and wireless industrial connectivity protocols which will work seamlessly within the Industry 4.0 environment.
  • Intuitive HMI
    An intuitive HMI (Human Machine Interface) would prove beneficial in an Industry 4.0 empowered workspace. It would manage the dramatic increase in the number of data points, provide multiple graphs and enhanced user experience, while recognizing deviances in the machining process quickly and efficiently.
  • Improved Control/Torque/Accuracy
    Components across medical, electronics, and automotive industries are increasingly adopting miniaturized variants, with embedded electronics, intricate designs, and thinner plastic walls. Next-gen machine tools will provide unprecedented control, position accuracy, and increased torque depending on the miniaturized variant being employed.
  • Preventive Maintenance
    Next-gen machine tools will have sensors that will collect various types of data. This includes data on how long the machine has operated, the conditions it has operated in, and the current state of its various components. By collecting this data, machines could estimate when a component needs replacement and trigger a service request. According to IDC , by 2021, 90% of manufacturers will leverage real-time equipment and asset performance data to self-diagnose issues in advance.
  • Utilization and Productivity
    Manufacturing operations do not always use machine tools as efficiently as they should, with idle time being a frequent occurrence. For instance, research has found that machine tools are typically actively cutting metal less than 40% of the time and sometimes as little as 25%. Next-gen machine tools will ensure that manufacturers can monitor equipment and gain line of sight of products in real-time or near real-time, thereby optimizing their performance.
  • Avoiding Improper Use
    Next-gen machine tools will also help identify their improper usage. For example, consider a machine that knows the amount of force or temperature it can withstand and how the operator plans to use it. Once that is done, it can even send out an alert if it detects conditions outside of these stipulated norms. This could help prevent misuse caused by human error or malfunctions, which would reduce downtime as well as workers’ injuries.
  • Revenue Models
    Manufacturers of machine tools can easily explore and implement new business models. This includes Product-as-a-Service, wherein the operator will be charged based on their usage of the product with uptime guarantee by the manufacturer.

Sasken with its three decades of extensive expertise in Mechanical, Electrical, Embedded, and Digital is enabling machine tools manufacturers to develop Industry 4.0-ready machine tools. By taking end-to-end responsibility from design to development, it has partnered with leading machine tool manufacturers and is working across the value chain. This covers consulting in areas of hardware component selection, enabling services such as multi-connectivity, intuitive HMI design and development, Cloud, IIoT platform development, and remote monitoring along with predictive maintenance.

Learn how Sasken is accelerating development of next-gen machine tools, by leveraging its chip-to-cognition capabilities.

Posted by:
Neeraj Rattan
Senior Pre-Sales Consultant, Industrials Business, Sasken

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