Automation, connectivity to drive production displayed at EMO

Automation, connectivity to drive production displayed at EMO

Global machine tool community paving the way for Industry 4.0; SKF, FANUC, Fastems, and Ecoclean show highlights.


umati is opening up a new chapter in production,” says Dr. Heinz-Jürgen Prokop, Chairman of the VDW (Verein Deutscher Werkzeugmaschinenhersteller – German Machine Tool Builders' Association). “The interface enables machine tool manufacturers to fulfill another Industry 4.0 promise: the simple, fast, and secure exchange of data.”

70 companies from 10 countries connected 110 machines and 28 value-added services at EMO Hannover 2019 via the umati standard interface. Creating a connection and providing a uniform language for machines, systems, and software are essential prerequisites for reaping the benefits of digitalization in production.

umati has also already made a strong impression internationally. Three international consortia from major machine tool manufacturing countries have joined the interface: ProdNet from Switzerland, Edgecross from Japan, and NCLink from China. In addition, the machine tool associations from China, the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, Spain, and Taiwan as well as the European machine tool association Cecimo are supporting the project.

"Choosing the OPC UA standard as a basis for the development of the interface supports international dissemination. It ensures that umati can be used free of charge worldwide," Prokop says.

90 companies are contributing to the standardization work in the Joint Working Group together with the OPC Foundation. The release of Version 1.0 of the Companion Specification, the next milestone, is planned for the middle of next year. 


A few EMO booth highlights

SKF and FANUC demonstrated an edge platform technology solution for the machine tool industry for automated anomaly detection of machine tool health. By using FANUC’s Industrial IoT Platform, FIELD system and SKF’s IMX condition monitoring technology as the basis, end-users will be able to predict spindle health using vibration, temperature, speed and process data. The results are integrated into the end-user’s existing FIELD system dashboards for a straightforward user experience.

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Parameters and thresholds per machine are set and adjusted based on real, historical data, not just theoretical standards. Benchmarking real-time bearing performance, across several connected machines in the same factory setting, gives additional insights. Through SKF’s engineering expertise and knowledge of spindles, lubrication systems and sealing solutions, this can lead to improved spindle performance, increased uptime and optimized inventory management.

Davide Giordana, SKF’s director, machine tool industry says, “The value of digitalization and automation within manufacturing lies in the insights it creates for machine owners and operators. By giving end-users real-time insights into the performance of their spindles using bearing trend development and diagnostics, we can help them make better decisions about maintenance. Simply put, this enables higher and more reliable performance.”


Fastems presented automation equipment, software, and expertise, “engaging with customers and prospects to explore the optimal way to take a conventional machining cell or manufacturing operation and automate it,” explained David Suica, president of Fastems LLC, the North American subsidiary of Finland-based Fastems Oy Ab. “We can discuss everything from a modular system incorporating a robot to a comprehensive and complex FMS solution, and all the various iterations in between that spectrum. Automation solutions require a customized approach and a collaborative effort with our customers. While we provide equipment such as pallet stackers, robots, load/unload stations, and sophisticated software, the design and configuration of all the pieces require experience and proven success. That’s what Fastems brings to each and every customer’s particular automation needs.”

The company also highlighted its most recent introductions and services. For its Robotized Finishing Cells (RFC), Fastems launched new simulation services and a new version of its FastSimu software. The simulation services are comprised of packages pertaining to activities before and after an RFC acquisition.

The new version of FastSimu is an off-line software tool for the RFC that graphically simulates various finishing operations such as deburring and milling. Programmers can view realistic simulations of the process and conduct virtual testing of new tools and optimize the operations as necessary to avoid collisions.

The Fastems RoboCell ONE sets new standards in relation to extremely adaptable and flexible machining, particularly heavy workpieces within batches of different sizes. The easy-to-configure robot cell is primarily designed for handling heavy workpieces weighing up to 176 lb (80kg) and for automating up to two machine tools of the same type – either lathes or milling machines. The solution comes into its own at the point where existing automation systems reach their limits solely due to the maximum weight of the workpiece. The RoboCell ONE has been specifically developed for the flexible production of different batch sizes including a wide variety of components. A special feature of the robot cell is an optional, automated gripper change system for the flexible handling of workpieces and the simple implementation of new components – without interrupting production operations. The robot can accordingly be fitted with single, double, or special grippers. Up to 6 different grippers may be used for handling workpieces in specific production operations. A single robot can be operated in one linear axis is able to supply 2 machines with workpieces in a flexible manner.


The new MMS Version 7 combines three previously separate manufacturing facets in a single, powerful software solution that links all relevant processes – part handling, pallet handling, and workcell operations. The manufacturing processes in the individual areas can be planned, forecasted, controlled, and monitored separately or in combination as required. This allows the full transparency of manufacturing operations by providing a detailed overview of the entire production process. MMS users will therefore not only find it easier to plan the production and the resources required for it as a package, but also to control it more effectively and adapt flexibly to future orders. 


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Shown at EMO, Ecolean’s EcoCvelox is a highly flexible, modular solution for cost-efficient high-pressure waterjet deburring and cleaning in a single procedure. The process-dependent configurable and expandable machine with integrated linear transport system enables processing of parts with dimensions up to 200mm x 200mm x 200mm cycle times of only 15 seconds per palette in the so-called one-piece flow. An integrated CAD / CAM interface allows for quick and easy programming of the high-pressure deburring process – either with a single spindle or a high-pressure turret with up to five tools. In combination with an innovative system for parts handling, it ensures that process operations for new workpieces can be implemented in the shortest possible time. Component cleaning and drying can be carried out by means of injection flood washing, spraying, controlled rinsing and ultrasound, as well as high-speed blowing and vacuum drying. The system can be loaded automatically with a robot or portal system as well as manually.