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Integrating CNC for Engineering and Communication, as well as Production

Sept. 22, 2011
Siemens Sinumerik Integrate programming delivers views of the production process right down to the chip level
Sinumerik Integrate is a comprehensive modular program that helps to integrate machine tools into communication, engineering, and production processes.

The ability to integrate machine and production data into company information is increasingly important for manufacturers, and their suppliers. From development and design to purchasing, and through to production and sales, that information is valuable for achieving and maintaining competitiveness among manufacturers. But, according to the automation and IT specialists at Siemens Industry Inc., such transparency is only possible by developing an overview of the entire production process — “right down to the chip level” — to uncover weak spots, eliminate them, and develop effective continuous improvement. This means it’s necessary to integrate machine tools into corporate processes.

A collection of Siemens products that support engineering and other processes, including machine tools, are now presented as “Sinumerik Integrate.” It’s a program that allows machine tool data to be integrated quickly, simply, and reliably into other processes. IT integration allows managers, machine operators, part programmers, maintenance engineers, and machine tool builders to be networked together by defined processes. Sinumerik Integrate does this by concentrating IT-related functions into a single process suite, using six different modules that cover every aspect of the machine tool integration process.

The “Create-it!” module is used to group methods for generating and configuring user-specific functions in the Sinumerik Operate user interface. The programming of interfaces to machine tools and to company servers also falls within the scope of this module. Extensive function libraries are offered, for example, which make it possible to use NC, PLC, and HMI functions across the network.

Protecting proprietary technological expertise in the machine tool against unauthorized access is the function of the “Lock-it!” module. Examples here include copy protection or safe storage of user information with the aid of encrypted cycles.

“Run-it!” encompasses the entire runtime system executing the individual screen interfaces and of internal compile cycles at the NC kernel. Drive control and also the workflow of the virtual numerical controller kernel (VNCK) are also part of this module.

”Manage-it!” is used to organize and manage NC programs and tools, comprising solutions related to tool, data, and program management to enable fast, overarching availability of production information. The rapid availability of NC programs over the network, central NC program management and storage are also key functions of this module, as is an overview of actual tool data. Added to these features are a transparent tool cycle for the entire production process and the connection of tool identification systems.

Standardized communication throughout the Sinumerik CNC family is available via the “Access-it!” module, which allows remote accessing for machine diagnostics. This module helps reduce machine downtime, enhances machine availability by allowing fast online access and cuts maintenance costs. It also allows backups to be automatically initiated by the higher-level data backup software overnight, or information that is not centrally generated (such as local NC programs) to be collected automatically. “Access-it” has the additional benefit of reducing standstill periods and preventing data loss in the event of component failure.

The “Analyze-it!” module makes available several efficient functions for condition-based maintenance and key indicator-based analysis. Continuous evaluation of information within the production process allows machine run-times to be increased, while condition-oriented maintenance reduces machine downtime and standstill periods. In addition, this module permits users to evaluate key indicators relating to the wear of mechatronic components.

Sinumerik Integrate offers machine tool OEMs a variety of possibilities for the machine-specific optimization of Sinumerik CNCs in terms of improved technology, programming and operation. It allows builders to integrate their machines quickly, simply and efficiently into overarching customer production and communication processes. However, machine tool users can also use Siemens Integrate to integrate their machines into complex existing corporate IT systems. Benefits include improved productivity and the availability of machines in addition to an overall reduction in manufacturing costs.

By bringing all the IT-relevant functions of a machine tool CNC together to create a complete process suite, Siemens indicated it is providing a way to simplify the technical and organizational implementation of strategic concepts underlying any innovative production lifecycle management (PLM) process. Machine tools can be commissioned more effectively — and made more productive and easier to customize and optimize over their entire lifecycle within the complete PLM process chain.

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