Acknowledging the ambitious scope of their endeavor, officials of Siemens PLM Software and Sandvik Coromant launched an initiative to standardize the structure and content of cutting tool vendor catalogs. Siemens’ director of product marketing for the NX CAM line business Vynce Paradise, and Sandvik Coromant manager of business development Mike Verkamp, said the project had been in progress for several months, and proceeding from the established ISO and STEP standards.
The goals of the Standardized Cutting Tool Catalog Initiative are 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. Based on ISO, STEP, and other industry standards, the online catalogs that Siemens and Sandvik will develop would help engineers make informed decisions with greater access to tooling data. The task of identifying optimal, preferred, recommended, or specified tooling for a specific task would be simplified.
The two project leaders also acknowledged their intention (and some preliminary discussion) to include other tooling brands in their effort, for example, Sandvik rivals Kennametal and Iscar, among others. Importantly, the database they will develop will be available for on an open basis throughout the industry.
The partners said their initiative addresses three important areas of tooling selection: the classification structure; tool attribute definitions; and a standardized approach to 3D model definitions for cutting tool components, and how those can be assembled.
“Sandvik Coromant has recognized the tremendous technological development in machining processes, materials, and tooling which is driving the need for virtual machining capabilities,” Verkamp related. “Working with data in varying formats can be a challenge, but we expect that this initiative will not only offer manufacturers a standard format for vital cutting tool data, but will simplify their CAM and virtual machining systems, helping them better optimize productivity and profitability.”
Verkamp and Paradise went on to detail that the project aims to establish important parameters in the emerging realm of virtual machining, such as the standard format for tool data, connectivity to CAM packages, and automatic updates of new data.
Manufacturers have multiples choices in the selection of cutting tools, from multiple suppliers — and typically each cutting tool vendor has its own approach to classify different types of tools, describing numerous specifications (e.g., diameter, lengths, angles) and representing geometric CAD models of those tools.
Moreover, manufacturers increasingly need to have available electronic definitions of those tools to support their production planning and CAM systems.
The multiple structures, non-standard definitions, and varying levels of CAD data means that engineers have to enter individual data sets manually, drawing from available vendor catalogs — a task that Siemens and Sandvik estimated can take thousands of man-hours, and yet may leave tool library databases incomplete
A critical element of this initiative has been that the partners adopted and built upon available ISO and STEP standards. ISO13399 defines tool attributes, and the STEP AP214 standard provides a basis for 3D representation of tool components and automated assembly points. Also, STEP makes it easier for machinists to use 3D models of their cutting tool components and assemblies, as needed in NC programming and machining simulation applications, as well is in shop floor systems (e.g., tool pre-setters.)
“Although much effort has been put into developing and promoting standards for tooling systems we see this as the first time that a major tool vendor has joined forces with a major PLM software and manufacturing equipment provider to define a solution that spans the tooling industry and end user requirements,” noted CIMdata director of research Stan Przybylinski. “This is a pragmatic approach that builds on the available ISO standard with definitions that will be open to all tool vendors and software providers. Given the substantial customer base of both companies and their connections across the industry, we believe that this initiative will go far in addressing the challenge of standardization in cutting tool information systems.”
Manufacturing Resource Library
Siemens PLM Software has also advanced the development of its Manufacturing Resource Library, part of its Teamcenter® product-lifecycle management portfolio . This will allow the manufacturers using Teamcenter to import and manage standardized cutting tool vendor catalog data, handle the transfer of selected data sets to working areas within tool libraries, and build 3D tool assemblies from component model data.
“Siemens PLM Software is focused on providing an open and collaborative PLM computing environment and standardization is critical to enhancing communication throughout the global manufacturing industry,” said Andreas Saar, vice president, Manufacturing Engineering Solutions, Siemens PLM Software. “Standardization gives cutting tool vendors a business advantage by providing a means to convey information about their products to their target customers in a standard format to help increase manufacturing efficiency. This simplified access to the right tool and associated data will help manufacturers make smarter decisions that result in better products.”