Machine tool optimization: Future machines will talk to other machines, systems

Manufacturers are “standing on the next of the next major step” in efficiency with improvements in machine tool optimization, said Siemens officials on Monday, July 29, in advance of the EMO machine tool show in Hannover, Germany, in September. More integrated, self-optimizing future machines will be 50% more efficient.


Siemens is extending its preparations for the next step in manufacturing to offer the machine tool building industry an emerging series of integrated solutions. An integrated workpiece measurement system, with a measurement accuracy of 30 nanometers deploImprovements in machine tool optimization have manufacturers “standing on the next of the next major step” in manufacturing efficiency, despite a flattening global machine tool market, said Siemens officials on Monday, July 29.

In advance of the EMO machine tool show in Hannover, Germany, Siemens officials briefed the U.S. trade press on the state of the industry and the products and strategies Siemens would bring to the market.

Drivers in the machine tool market are to boost efficiency, including energy efficiency, to reduce the time to market and to increase machine flexibility, explained Bernd Heuchemer, global VP of marketing and communications for Siemens AG, drive technologies division, motion control systems business.

“Product design and production design are coming closer together,” said Heuchemer, who noted that the marrying of design and production can create increased productivity in machine set-up and operation.

Talkative machines, 50% efficiency gain

Heuchemer sees a day when “all machines on shop floor are connected to each other, and machines also talking to MES or ERP system to see how machines are working. As a result, we can increase efficiency of machines up to 50%,” he said. “We will have more optimization, and our vision is the future 10-15 years, we are talking about self-optimization of machines. We are on our way to the future.”

For the present, the market continues to meet demand, but there’s no large push to race past it. Rajas Sukthankar, general manager for the machine tool systems business at Siemens Industry Inc., told the media that the slowing markets in China and slow economic recovery elsewhere will lead to a flat machine tool market into 2014. That includes in the U.S., despite solid growth in automotive and expansion of oil and gas markets.

“Machine tool demand is matching up to productivity needs,” Sukthankar said. “Year-over-year manufacturing activity is not expanding, and that’s limiting the growth of machine tool order in the next six months.”

Hardware, commissioning, scalability

Chris Pollack, the dealer support manager for Siemens Industry Inc., said the CNC line in display at EMO would address the needs in the market for intelligent machine operations.

“It bridges the gap between the control operation and the applications they are used in,” Pollack said. He said the Sinumerik Integrate for Production product suite solution on display at EMO would address the issues of costs for hardware, commissioning, and scalability that he said have limited IT investments in machine tools in some cases.

2013 EMO event is Sept. 16-21 in Hannover, Germany. Siemens will be at EMO Hannover / Hall 25, booth D33.

- Bob Vavra is content manager, CFE Media, Plant Engineering, and Control Engineeringbvavra(at)


ONLINE extra: Sinumerik line advances add integration, optimization

According to information provided with the EMO preview mentioned above, the Siemens Industry Sector Drive Technologies Division, said:

  • More integrated solutions are needed in machine tool building
  • CNC machining productivity and flexibility can be enhanced through a more highly-developed Sinumerik CNC portfolio
  • Sinumerik and Integrated Drive Systems (IDS) provide optimum added value through consistent integration across the entire lifecycle.

Broad-based CNC competence: Siemens will be demonstrating how productivity, flexibility, and safety can be increased in CNC production with an array of smart additions to its Sinumerik portfolio. Courtesy: SiemensThe innovations presented by Siemens at the EMO 2013 will focus on smart function improvements, which will make for greater CNC operating convenience, increase precision at the workpiece, and allow greater machining safety across every category of machine, from the compact to the high-end solution. A new function to protect against unwanted component collisions will be showcased by Siemens, for example, alongside improvements to its cohesive Sinumerik Operate user interface, including upgraded simulation options.

The Sinumerik CNC portfolio is additionally playing an increasingly important role in preparing the ground for the next step in the evolution of CNC production, also within the framework of the Siemens Integrated Drive System (IDS). With a view to optimizing the addition of value across the process chain through consistent integration, IDS is used to integrate all drive train components into the production process environment. This also applies to Sinumerik CNC system solutions.

Drives, motors

For every Sinumerik application, ideally coordinated system components, such as high-powered Sinamics drives and Simotics motors, have been used. With horizontal integration of the drive train, with Sinumerik Integrate for Production, Siemens also is allowing vertical integration within the control architecture of industrial manufacturing automation. A passenger car manufacturer illustrated, this type of vertical and horizontal integration within the production process,  increased vehicle launch by up to 50%.

Integration across the entire product life cycle can in turn be implemented with PLM software from Siemens. This concept is already being implemented by leading metals processing industries, such as the automotive, aerospace, and medical technology sectors. This entails the increasing execution of product development and production planning onscreen, before one machine tool has been installed. If a modular machine is developed on a virtual basis right from the outset so that it can be fully simulated, time savings up to 40% can be achieved. In running operation, productivity increases of 10% or more are also made possible by continued simulation and optimization.

Integrating PLM

At this year’s EMO, Siemens will be showcasing the further development of its PLM software, which encompasses scalable solutions for component production and further improved IT integration from the workpiece model through to the machine tool. Siemens will also be revealing the next stage in productivity for numerical control (NC) programming with the further development of its already popular PLM software, NX CAM. This software will include special industry-specific machining functions and access to a new Manufacturing Resource Library.

- Edited by Mark T. Hoske, CFE Media, Control Engineering, and Plant Engineering, mhoske(at)  

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