TMAC monitors tool conditions during production and automatically adjusts feedrates to maintain optimal conditions and result It is available for single or multiprocess machining

Real-Time Connectivity Meets Tool Monitoring with Adaptive Control

Nov. 14, 2013
Collecting, applying OEE data Protecting machines and optimizing control Shop floor to top floor visibility

Caron Engineering is aligning with Memex Automation in a partnership that links the former’s Tool Monitoring Adaptive Control package with the latter’s real-time machine connectivity and Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) metrics.  The new allies stated that, together, they will provide manufacturing plants “unprecedented outside-in and inside-out control of machine tool productivity.”

They added that their customers would be able to optimize productivity by 10-50% and increase profits by 20% or more.

Memex Automation develops real-time shop-floor information programs, and its flagship manufacturing execution system, called MERLIN, delivers OEE results in real time. 

Caron Engineering Inc. develops and assembles automation packages for tool monitoring, adaptive control, laser tool setting and machine tool probing.

Caron’s Tool Monitor Adaptive Control (TMAC) system protects CNC machines from wear or damage during production, and collects useful information about the cutting process. In that way it helps to reduce the cost of replacement tools, lost production, and rejected parts by measuring tool wear in real time.

While the tool monitoring function determines when tools are worn or broken and protects the machine and tools from damage, all with real-time data reporting, the adaptive control function automatically adjusts feedrates for each tool, to maintain constant horsepower in the cut with no need for manual adjustment, so the tool always cuts at its optimal horsepower.

Single/Multi-Process Machining

TMAC is available in versions for single-process or multi-process machining.

“TMAC operates on the principle that the horsepower required to cut a part increases as the tool's cutting edges deteriorate,” according to Caron’s documentation, and the "adaptive" control feature reduces cycle time and optimizes cutting conditions to improve tool life.

“TMAC-MP uses specialized strain sensors and accelerometers to both measure and adjust vibration, tool condition, and a variety of other in-machine performance characteristics,” explained Memex Automation’s CEO Dave McPhail. “On even the most complex, multi-tool CNC machines, such as Swiss type lathes and multitasking machines, Caron Engineering’s technology adjusts the machine internally in real time.”

That approach is the basis of the alignment with the Memex MES. MERLIN supplies OEE to support performance, productivity, and profitability initiatives. It tracks manufacturing operations bi-directionally, from the ERP work order to each machine’s operations. It connects to all machines on the shop floor using various protocols, MTConnect adapters, and/or network connectivity devices.

“What MERLIN does so well is to connect and monitor machine tools on the outside, and we do incredibly well on the inside of those tools,” explained Caron Engineering president Rob Caron. “We offer TMAC for simultaneous operations on even the most complex CNC machines.”

He said the 4,000 TMAC users worldwide would be able to use MERLIN’s interface and connectivity to deliver in-machine metrics from the shop floor to the operations and corporate executives, even to mobile devices or other Web link.

McPhail said  “MERLIN now unites that internal information across the shop floor through hardware connectivity”

“Then MERLIN’s software dashboard presents TMAC-MP data along with the more than 400 key performance indicators (KPIs), including machine tool downtime, rejects, job status on every machine in every plant, in addition to labor tracking. This is the ultimate machine tool automation technology pact that we want to introduce to our company’s 12,000 customers.”

About the Author

Robert Brooks | Content Director

Robert Brooks has been a business-to-business reporter, writer, editor, and columnist for more than 20 years, specializing in the primary metal and basic manufacturing industries. His work has covered a wide range of topics, including process technology, resource development, material selection, product design, workforce development, and industrial market strategies, among others. Currently, he specializes in subjects related to metal component and product design, development, and manufacturing — including castings, forgings, machined parts, and fabrications.

Brooks is a graduate of Kenyon College (B.A. English, Political Science) and Emory University (M.A. English.)