Three major cutting tool developers and a Swiss engineering research institute have designed and launched a website to connect manufacturers with the Generic Tool Catalog cutting tool data exchange, an initiative launched four years ago to define and activate an industry standard for sharing details about cutting tool design, function, and applications. GTC-Tools.com, the new site, also enjoys collaborative backing from Siemens PLM Software, which announced the initiative with Sandvik Coromant at IMTS 2012. Both companies were instrumental in developing and promoting the GTC standard.
“The GTC standard is a vital step forward for the communication needed in the current and future digital manufacturing environment, Industry 4.0,” stated Sandvik Coromant’s Per Nilsson, senior manager intelligent and digital machining.
The other sponsors of the new site are Iscar and Kennametal, like Sandvik Coromant each one a significant developer and supplier of cutting tool materials and products; and NTB Interstate University of Technology Buchs, the Swiss university that has been active in compiling cutting tool data for research over several years.
From the outset, the project’s planners aimed for their standardized cutting tool catalog 1) to help machine shops and other manufacturers manage the problem of determining cutting tool definitions and data, in a useable, online format; and 2) to integrate cutting tools efficiently into their production systems.
Having access to reliable and comprehensive cutting tool data has been important to CAM and PLM software users for a very long time, and the need was addressed in part by ISO 13399, a common language for industrial product data that was fostered by Sandvik Coromant and Kennametal, among others. Still, there remained a need for manufacturers to access more specific and practical information, such as tool classification, class drawings, and pictures.
The GTC partners note their resource improves on the data exchange format available via ISO 13399.
GTC-Tools.com gives manufacturers access to information on the Generic Tool Catalog (GTC) cutting tool data exchange format. The format was developed collaboratively by Siemens, Sandvik Coromant, Iscar, and Kennametal, and is available to all tool vendors and application developers so that they can share cutting tool data with ease and accuracy. Also, the GTC makes possible direct linkage between a tool vendor and an application, without no need for an intermediary company.
“GTC format catalogs from Sandvik Coromant, Iscar, Kennametal, and other companies are currently being deployed into production by leading manufacturing companies,” according to the announcement.
Siemens PLM Software’s Manufacturing Resource Library (MRL) can import catalogs in GTC format. This means that users of that software platform can incorporate tool data and 3D models when creating tool assemblies, and these can be used “seamlessly” in Siemens’ NX™ software for tool assembly documentation and in NX CAM for tool path creation and simulation.
“This new web site makes information about GTC easily available to the general public,” according to Marcel Keinan, Siemens PLM Software director of product management. “We are fully committed to GTC. It specifies a standard format suitable for application developers, and avoids the need to create interfaces for different cutting tool vendors and applications.”
Like the other GTC sponsors, Kennametal is providing customers with product catalogs in the GTC format, and its NOVO™ tool advisor and management application will support the creation of GTC catalogs that can be imported into Siemens' software.
“Moving ahead with the GTC helps the manufacturing community by integrating Kennametal's tooling information in the end-to-end product development processes,” stated Fred Patterson, vice president of product engineering and a founding member of ISO 13399.