Industrial corporations are facing deep-rooted changes in the world of manufacturing. These changes are taking place alongside increasing integration of product development and production processes with the benefit of innovative software systems and high-performance software – a decisive step on the road toward a new industrial age in manufacturing. “Siemens has invested a lot of work in the integration of automation technology along the entire value chain over a period of many years, and is playing a cutting-edge role in shaping the future of production,” stated Robert Neuhauser, CEO of the motion control systems business unit of the Siemens Drive Technologies Division, at a press conference held in the run-up to the EMO 2013 recently. “In the Sinumerik environment in particular, and consequently in the field of CNC production in general, Siemens has been heavily involved for many years already in the area of simulation and the virtual machine, as well as the integration into factory IT systems. Our aim is to drive this process of integration forward to ensure that the field of machine tool construction is also prepared to embrace the next step in the industrial revolution,” continued Neuhauser.
With its Sinumerik family, Siemens offers an integral portfolio of CNC for everything from simple machine tools through standardized machine concepts to modular premium solutions, complete with “smart machine” solutions for the economical manufacture of high-end workpieces. It is working towards the consistent expansion of this CNC technology expertise. “In the future, production models will demand ever greater productivity, flexibility and efficiency, while at the same time expecting simplified machine operation and production sequences. As it continues to develop the Sinumerik CNC portfolio, Siemens is working to satisfy all these expectations,” said Joachim Zoll, head of machine tool systems business segment within the motion control systems business unit. The innovations presented by Siemens at the EMO 2013 focused on smart function improvements, which will make for greater CNC operating convenience, increase precision at the workpiece and allow greater machining safety across every category of machine, from the compact to the high-end solution. A new function to protect against unwanted component collisions will be showcased by Siemens, for example, alongside improvements to its cohesive Sinumerik Operate user interface, including upgraded simulation options.
The Sinumerik CNC portfolio is additionally playing an increasingly important role in preparing the ground for the next step in the evolution of CNC production, also within the framework of the Siemens Integrated Drive System (IDS). With a view to optimizing the addition of value across the entire process chain through consistent integration, IDS is used to integrate all the components of the drive train consistently into the complete production process environment. This also applies to Sinumerik CNC system solutions.
For every Sinumerik application, ideally coordinated system components such as high-powered Sinamics drives and Simotics motors have always been used as the ideal complements. Alongside horizontal integration of the entire drive train, with Sinumerik Integrate for Production, Siemens is also allowing vertical integration within the control architecture of industrial manufacturing automation. As the example of a leading passenger car manufacturer illustrates, this type of vertical and horizontal integration within the production process can speed up the series start for a new vehicle by up to 50 percent.
The integration across the entire product life cycle can in turn be implemented using suitable Product Lifecyle Management (PLM) software solutions from Siemens. This concept is already being implemented by leading metals processing industries such as the automotive, aerospace and medical technology sectors. This entails the increasing execution of product development and production planning onscreen, before a single machine tool has even been installed. If a modular machine is developed on a virtual basis right from the outset so that it can be fully simulated, time savings up to 40 percent can be achieved. In running operation, productivity increases of 10 percent or more are also made possible by continued simulation and optimization. At this year’s EMO, Siemens showcased the further development of its PLM software, which encompasses scalable solutions for component production and further improved IT integration from the workpiece model through to the machine tool. Siemens also revealed the next stage in productivity for NC programming with the further development of its already popular PLM software, NX CAM. Going forward, this software will include special industry-specific machining functions as well as access to a new Manufacturing Resource Library.