IMTS Insider

Software and Control Technologies: Streamlining Production and Decreasing Costs

Category: Manufacturing Technology Jul 10, 2020


Digitization is good for business. Perhaps nowhere is this more obvious than in the use of software and control technologies.

Modern day software and control technologies improve process flow by simplifying connections and ensuring that digital and mechanical components are communicating. These tools can help eliminate down time and ensure that manufacturing runs smoothly—no matter what—or how many—you are making.

“There’s more variety in the parts now. There’s smaller lot sizes—even lot sizes of one. Cutting the first part right demands a new process flow,” says Gisbert Ledvon, Director, Business Development Machine Tool at HEIDENHAIN, a leading controls manufacturer.

Software and Control Technologies

What is it? Controllers can simplify the connections between the computer system and the mechanical components of a CNC machine.  

Why is it important? Modern technologies can decrease machining time and make parts right the first time.

Right the first time
The variety of software and control technologies on the market can streamline production times and decrease costs. Often, while searching for a controller for their CNC (computer numerical control) machines, manufacturers find they need a completely new production approach.

A CNC controller functions as the brain of the system. Modern controllers and software programs can simplify the connections between the computer system and the mechanical components of the machine.

The old way of machining a part required multiple material handling steps, removal of the part from its fixture for inspection and measurement, making CNC adjustments, and machining several parts to optimize set-up. The process consumes time, plus it is expensive if it means scrapping parts made from an alloy like titanium. 

Ledvon describes a process flow that starts when a camera mounted inside a machining center takes a picture of a perfect setup and stores it in the machine control. During machining, the operator can look at a controller with two screens, one for 3D simulation of the part and the other displaying operating parameters.

The last step involves in-process inspection, where the part is measured—while it remains in its fixture—and the metrology system feeds data to the controller for potential adjustments. As a result, the part comes off the machine right the first time.

To find software and control technologies, visit the IMTS Controls CAD-CAM Pavilion.

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