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Linking Virtual to Real Opens a World of Possibilities

At EMO Milano 2009, Siemens PLM Software and Siemens Drive Technologies aimed to show that more linkage between product lifecycle software and production systems/ equipment improves design and makes machining more productive. Siemens PLM demonstrated its Virtual Machine technology: it’s a machine tool on a PC, with virtual controller functions and machine tool simulation, and it’s expected to maximize productivity by eliminating the need to use real machines for nonproduction tasks, e.g., prototyping.

CNC turning machine builder INDEX Group used Virtual Machine to improve multi-function production center set-up, programming, and validation. Reportedly, it was able to improve machine tool utilization, eliminate collisions, and reduce set-up time by up to 90 percent, with no extra training.

“The main idea was to install a one-toone copy of the machine tool on a PC and make it available as a tool to the machine operator,” said Eberhard Beck, INDEX Group head of Electronic Control Systems.

Siemens PLM also showed how the “virtual world” of engineering and design is linked to the real world of the shop floor, via its NX digital product-development program. NX 7.0 introduces HD3D, “an open and intuitive visual environment to help global product development teams unlock the value of PLM information and “make efficient and effective product decisions.”

NX 7.0 has more of the synchronous capabilities added with the previous release, benefitting CAD/CAM/CAE users across the process chain — analysts and manufacturing engineers, and product designers. With a simplified interface, individuals who normally work with 3D models created by someone else can modify them to their specific requirements, so they can add value by focusing on their areas of expertise. Siemens predicts that the combination of NX and synchronous technology will establish “a new modeling paradigm throughout the product lifecycle.”

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