Smart automation solutions for machine tools enable increased productivity

In an increasingly competitive marketplace smarter machine tools can offer big advantages to production facilities such as increased flexibility, efficiency gains and reduced down-time. At EMO 2019 Mitsubishi Electric will be showing how these goals can be met with connected production systems, intelligent control systems, Edge Computing and partner solutions.

Using robots on machine tools to achieve speed and productivity advantages is being made easier thanks to a Plug & Play integration solution. Visitors to EMO will be able to see Mitsubishi Electric’s latest M8 Series CNC controllers, available with Direct Robot Control (DRC) software that can be used to programme and operate both Mitsubishi Electric and KUKA robots. Operators can utilise the CNC control panel or an optional 19” touch screen for set-up and direct control operation without requiring any specialist robot programming knowledge simply by using the CNC’s G-Code programming language. This means that a high degree of flexibility in production and faster time to market are possible.

A predictive maintenance approach for machine tools has the potential to reduce operating costs and downtime. With this in mind Mitsubishi Electric and its e-F@ctory Alliance partner Lenord + Bauer have developed an advanced condition monitoring solution. It utilises smart encoders and direct communications with machine controllers. Status is recorded and monitored along with operating parameters, which are then used to help schedule maintenance activities by providing an early prompt message when service or replacement are required.

The use of AI to increase the effectiveness of predictive maintenance will also feature at the show. A cloud-based solution using the AI platform within IBM Watson will show how the analysis of operational data can optimise the suggested maintenance regime for robots and other equipment, based on actual usage and wear characteristics.

Mitsubishi Electric will be showing how the digitalisation of production can be supported with umati (universal machine tool interface) which will be demonstrated live during the show. This provides a common interface for machine tools to connect to customer-specific IT ecosystems securely. The German Machine Tool Builders’ Association (VDW) is describing the system as representing “a quantum leap in the implementation of Industry 4.0 in production.”

During the EMO 2019 Mitsubishi Electric will be providing solutions from a single CNC machine tool controller – to digitalisation on a grand scale, with sophisticated plant-wide IoT automation systems. More information

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