What benefits can Industry 4.0 create in the automation of precision manufacturing?
When the CNC machine is set with commands or pressed buttons by an operator, inside of it, the “CNC Controller” is the brain. It needs to process and decides the actions. A CNC controller is made of a touchscreen display, keypads, touchpads, and an internal circuit board which includes features of alarms, event monitoring, storage, simultaneous control, etc. As to interface for data transmission, a CNC controller can use RS232, RS422, & RS485 or the universal serial bus (USB) and Ethernet to communicate everywhere the CNC machine. However, the design of CNC controllers varies by the purpose of the machines. Some may be stand-alone cabinets, and some may be desktop, rack-mounted, pendant, and pedestal. No matter the type of design, maintaining its “clear mind” needs to be a rugged design. Depending on the architecture of the CNC machine, it may also need to be compact and fanless since the shop floor is a highly dynamic place. There are some specific features of the CNC controller:
The controller should be able to control the tools to make the part just right as the drawing. And the response of the touchscreen & keypad should be quick and reliable.
The CNC machine is a multi-tasking system, so the nature of a controller is its expansion capability. Various I/O ports can support the powerful functions of the machine.
Factories usually include extreme environments, such as water splash, dust, debris, and strong vibration. Therefore, the controller design must withstand those challenges and offer durability and long life.
Industry 4.0 is the trend toward automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies and processes which include industrial internet of things (IIoT), cloud computing, and artificial intelligence. To achieve the compounding power of Industry 4.0 needs to make “data & analysis” readily available. Also to make information easily read. This all relies on interconnection. How design the processes with data collection, integration, and analysis is the key to benefiting from new technologies.
Automation brings advantages that may optimize operations:
As you might have guessed, having the “smart technologies” mentioned above on a shop floor could create issues if not properly addressed and regulated. Since last year the pandemic had been lifted restrictions, and Netiotek started out development worldwide. We realized it basically benefits outweigh the disadvantages. Just by visiting TIMTOS Expo in Mar, we saw even more seamless demonstrations of the shop floor. Below are the key benefits:
With more powerful performance and real-time data streaming, maintenance personnel can detect, prevent, and prepare for equipment failures or errors. Leveraging big data solutions even make it possible to build predictive models and algorithms that can be used to identify potential failure points. These result in lower downtime and maintenance costs.
Incoming data collected by IIoT sensors and platforms can be placed to effectively manage energy flow. The equipment can be automated or appropriately powered to reduce the impact on the environment and resources.
Industry 4.0 and related technologies will revolutionize the quality insurance process to real-time QA such as Automated Virtual Metrology (AVM) systems. It provides a more complete overview of operations and provides real-time elements for quality inspection.
Visualization and more intuitive operations of the interface, and more interactions can let technicians be able to remotely operate the equipment and send commands instantly. The reporting system will provide real-time alerts and insights to operators, no matter where they are.
We have already run through the whole core value of how Industry 4.0 can bring a significant impact on precision manufacturing. To embrace it needs to make your CNC machine shop adapt reasonably. Hints will fall on training, time, and patience. At TIMTOS Expo, we’ve seen many new developments in employee training. By using VR & AR, people can learn and practice in a close to real-world simulation in advance and then also quickly resolve problems while operating. Time could be reduced with a proper strategy for intelligent manufacturing. But still, it needs to be patient for human & machine learning. Nowadays, it already can be fully capable in less than a year or even three months. Once two can “co-work” together, you can see promising results for years to come.
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