Explore New Controls at IMTS to Move Ahead
The comfort of scrapping multiple parts to refine a program is a miss out at the Job shops. One of their chief aims remain that the first part should be good part, but achieving this goal has become a bigger challenge and a major reason behind this is that designers have increased part complexity to take advantage of expanding machine capabilities.
The International Manufacturing Technology Show – IMTS 2018 – going to be held from Sept 10 – 15 at Chicago’s McCormick Place, is one of the most premier resources for connecting with control and software providers. A plethora of technological offerings can be explored at the show by the visitors, not only in the Controls and CAD-CAM Pavilion, but also in the Additive Manufacturing, Quality Assurance, Metal Cutting and Fabricating & Lasers Pavilions, as well as HANNOVER MESSE USA.
While elaborating about the state-of-the-art technologies to be showcased at the IMTS 2018, Gisbert Ledvon, TNC Business Development Manager, Heidenhain Corporation says, “Job shops have to keep pace with new control technology to keep scrape rates low. Continuing to use out of date controls for complex parts is like Einstein’s definition of insanity. If one anticipates diverse and improved results, then he must explore the new Control and CAD-CAM technologies at the show.”
Toeing the same lines, Peter R. Eelman, Vice President – Exhibitions & Business Development at AMT (The Association for Manufacturing Technology, which owns and produces IMTS) while referring to the CNC controls states, “CNC controls are a vital part of the digital thread that extends from cutting tools to ERP systems. At the 2016 edition of IMTS, most of the exhibitors were talking about connected controls. This year, visitors can experience connected manufacturing at IMTS 2018 – from design to part as never before.”
Controls are becoming all the more powerful in addition to becoming easier to use and handle. Eelman further states, “The controls graphic interfaces, applications and connectivity have expanded their functionality so operators can make intelligent decisions and take immediate action on the shop floor. Visitors can experience a rich opportunity to interact with the digital world of manufacturing at the IMTS 2018 and can also witness how these facilities can improve results in their operation.”
The Next Level – Connected Controls
Leaving behind the era of USB ports to load a part file or program into a CNC the contemporary controls connected to CAD-CAM systems allow the operator to access data, part files and set-up sheets in a secure environment without ever leaving the machine.
Ledvon utters that the IMTS visitors will experience the usage of technology to ease out the functioning of machines. They will be able to see how control manufacturers have placed a greater focus on importing more data into the machine control via MTConnect-enabled devices.”
Machine controls will also enable operators to switch the NC program between the desired functions which will offer the job shops the freedom to decide how and when they want to combine machining methods. It is a significant development essential to keep pace with the expanded functions available from 5-axis mill turns. Other improvements include connecting controls to vision systems that can compare the current image to a reference image and spot any deviation from a perfect setup. Istiros will be able to witness the latest functions such as advanced characteristics like the face recognition feature in the latest iPhone. What more? If something goes not as expected, the control will find solution for it ie. missing hole for the next threading application, part not clamped correctly in a vice or on pallet, broken drill in the part, wrong engraved part number on the part and wrong part on the pallet.
Efforts for Constant Improvement
There may soon be a time when artificial intelligence may eventually minimize the need for humans to interact with controls, till then engaging operators is essential for optimizing the machining process. Ledvon says that by cutting multiple bad parts in order to fine tune the cutting path the new control technology makes cutting more accurate and shops more productive by eliminating sources of waste.
AMT’s Eelman concludes, “The future is now for the connected manufacturing world and IMTS 2018 will offer the perfect platform for interaction and engagement with the technologies that will shape the future of manufacturing.”