CNC Machine Codes The intelligent systems available through robotics and the digital world of Industry 4.0 are changing the approach to manufacturing at machine shops of all sizes. The introduction of CAD/CAM systems has computers instructing machines. Robotics are programmed to load and unload machines. And the Industrial IoT introduces monitoring software that gauges speed, tool performance, and more. With this collection of information, the next step is finding efficiency through seamless digital connectivity.
Seamless digital connectivity is the efficient collection, management, and communication of various interfaces working together. This includes design, simulation, processing, metrology, inspection, and even service.
It primarily interfaces software companies and machine and tool manufacturers to create model-based definitions. The complete process from design to finish production and inspection is recorded in one digital thread. This sets the standard for improvement, assessment, and immediate efficiencies. It further must be able to communicate this information to all areas of the internal process team and the client.
Immediate benefits can be seen in the assessment of data. Efficiencies can be found by reviewing the complete manufacturing process. The production runs on the same machine can be compared. One design approach can be measured against another, or tool choice. You can assess scheduling down to the minute.
This data can then be used to accurately quote scheduling to a new client or project. You can easily retrieve data for a repeat run of the same part. And you can easily make manipulations to modify a design for a new order. This provides accurate quotations, better time management, less machine downtime, and useful data for investment in new equipment for business growth. It provides flexibility while developing standardization, and provides tangible data that experienced machinists seem to organically understand. This will help bridge the present gap in lack of experience as skilled machinists begin to retire.
What to Look for in Good Software
One of the keys to seamless digital connectivity is working with trusted partners. The blend of electrical, mechanical, and intelligent interfaces completes the full digital signature of a part. Each island of information is now an integral part of the whole. Seamless connectivity requires software that is tested in manufacturing situations with real machines, and software that is designed with both the future and legacy equipment in mind. Older CNC machines may need after-market devices to integrate data collection. Software designed by mechanical engineers to work for mechanical engineers makes sense. Consider all these connectivity points, or interfaces, for the digital thread that follows a part from conception to delivery:
Where does this leave your shop in meeting current needs and investing in the future? At Rapid Enterprises we have built strong relationships with hardware and software suppliers and have begun to embrace the first phases of reporting software. The future will see this as a standard practice to remain competitive even for small to mid-size shops. Some aerospace and other industries are demanding model-based definitions (MBD) for quality assurance now. This will become an industry standard, just like ISO.
The low cost to begin reporting metrics is simple. This makes the entry into this new networked and connected machine shop possible for the smallest shop. The future will see a full network throughout the facility including security like firewalls and anti-virus software. An extension of your administrative network will permeate your facility. Imagine how reporting will create efficiency through seamless digital connectivity in areas you weren’t even aware of. Tool selection and speed rates could be already coded for you based on the previous production. You could coordinate effective service and repairs with manufacturers based on real data versus a perceived loss of functionality. The technology is becoming increasingly affordable. It is available and ready to improve every aspect of your business.