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Smart IoT Strategies: Enhancing Machine-to-Machine Integration And Enabling The Smart Connected Factory

Smart IoT Strategies: Enhancing Machine-to-Machine Integration And Enabling The Smart Connected Factory

Machine-to-machine integration and the Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) are reinventing manufacturing as we know it, giving birth to the Smart Factory that is connected, intelligent and aware—enabling newfound levels of productivity and predictability. By Vincent Tang, Regional Vice President, Asia, Epicor Software

While manufacturers have been collecting information from across the manufacturing floor for decades, in recent years the cost of implementing smart sensors has gone down significantly, and conversely, analytics capabilities have grown extensively. As a result, today we have the technology to go beyond data capture to extrapolate near real-time insights to inform and optimise processes for better outcomes. This is the nirvana of the Smart Factory.

What can manufacturers gain from getting more in tune with machines? Plenty.

IoT And The Value Beyond The Hype

In its landmark study, The Internet of Things: Mapping the Value Beyond the Hype, the McKinsey Global Institute proclaimed the greatest potential for creating value from the IoT for manufacturers will be in operations optimisation—making the various processes within the factory more efficient. This includes using sensors, rather than human judgment (and human error), to adjust the performance of machinery. It also involves use of data from production machinery to adjust workflows to eliminate unproductive practices, capacity erosions, inefficiencies and line performance bottlenecks.

This is done by remotely tracking, monitoring, and adjusting machinery, based on sensor data from different parts of the plant (and even across plants). Researchers say IoT applications in operations optimisation have the potential to create value of $633 billion to $1.8 trillion per year in the factory setting in 2025.

Optimising Machine Performance Through Monitoring And Connected Systems

Vincent Tang

Monitoring machines to harness and understand data can help manufacturers optimise machine performance by enabling more proactive, predictive maintenance. Using sensors to determine when machines need service can prevent breakdowns and save on routine maintenance costs.

Connecting equipment with sensors through a common platform can provide invaluable data about the ongoing condition of equipment that can be analysed to predict potential points of failure for equipment breakdown and production shutdown. In the event a breakdown does occur, organisations can analyse this data to determine root cause and take corrective actions to prevent future occurrences.

Monitoring can also deliver improved quality and production throughput, through greater uptime and overall equipment effectiveness, less scrap and rework, and lower operating costs. Additionally, these efforts can support continuous improvement initiatives and contribute to heightened workforce engagement, by keeping front-line workers and management informed for improved responsiveness, ownership and accountability.

Remote monitoring, tracking, and control of equipment and workflow also can support additional efficiencies in optimised energy usage. This cost savings in this regard can be considerable, especially in instances when energy prices rise precipitously.

Control And Traceability

Process control and traceability are essential, and the IoT can “level up” manufacturers game in this area. Using sensor technology, manufacturers can then track serialised and non-serialised components as they are received, warehoused and used to construct sub-assemblies and finished goods. Prior to the start of processing, traceability and production control can ensure the correct part is being run, the correct machine program type is being used, that the part was not previously rejected as bad, that the part is at the correct operation (no process was skipped), and that parts are not run a second time at the same operation, and that part orientation is correct for processing.

Inventory represents a significant cost for most manufacturers and an IoT approach can reduce the potential of excess inventory via automated replenishment—where machines on the factory floor can signal when quantities are low and even “order” more raw materials to ensure the line never shuts down, and that inventory is managed in the most just-in-time, cost-effective manner.

Gaining Capabilities To Understand Your Health Of Operations

Via the IoT, manufacturers gain powerful capabilities to understand the overall health of operations minute-by-minute, to take advantage of opportunities and mitigate threats to support growth and profitability in today’s fast-moving, ultra-competitive and highly complex regulatory manufacturing environment. However, the velocity and volume of data on the manufacturing floor can be a hardship to manufacturing organisations that do not have the right technology infrastructure in place. Having the right software foundation to capture, analyse and act is critical.

A unified reporting framework to simultaneously view and easily discern information from multiple, disparate data sources is just the beginning. Manufacturers need to have the operational agility to act on this data and apply these insights across the entire product lifecycle—from design, through engineering, manufacturing, delivery, and service—to deliver immediate and actionable information to the necessary departments and functions with greater speed, accuracy, and efficiency than ever before.

MES/ERP systems take on newfound relevancy in the IoT era, to help manufacturers realise the full value-add of big data/IoT initiatives, to contextualise data and integrate it into downstream process flows. Functioning as the fabric that connects people, processes, data and things in an intelligent and strategic manner, MES/ERP systems allows manufacturers to create value from new data streams to succeed in achieving their most critical objectives.

Seco Tools: T4-12 Helical Milling Cutters

Seco Tools: T4-12 helical milling cutters

Seco Tools has expanded its popular family of T4-12 helical milling cutters to include five new cutters for economical and versatile roughing and semi-finishing operations. The addition of three metric and two imperial sizes makes Seco’s range of long-reach, replaceable-end tangential helical cutters the industry’s most complete, spanning diameters from 40 mm to 100 mm.

Designed specifically with aerospace manufacturers in mind, the new long reach cutters with HSK-100A back ends optimize side-milling operations. With replaceable ends, the cutters allow for custom solutions if needed and the capability to replace the first row of pocket seats without replacing the entire system.

The cutters excel in applications with sticky materials such as stainless steels and high temperature alloys. The high-positive, free-cutting insert geometries and grades boost tool life, while the tangentially mounted multi-edged inserts enable efficient chip flow and provide stability.

Transfluid DB 40220-3A-CNC Tube Bending Machine

transfluid DB 40220-3A-CNC Tube Bending Machine

transfluid’s DB 40220-3A-CNC ‘t bend’ tube bending machine has replaced the need to weld bends onto large tubes a long time ago, as it lowers the production costs. In addition to that, the bending systems save up to 60 percent of the production time for tubes with a diameter up to 400mm. The fast setting-up of the machine, at times in less than 10 minutes, also plays a crucial role. Equipped with a fully automated CNC control system, the transfluid DB 40220-3A-CNC ‘t bend’ tube units can process tubes with thin and thick walls and made of any material, even with radii of 1.5 x tube diameter or more. These tight bending radii are achieved with minimal thinning of the tube walls. This leads to benefits also in terms of space on board ships.

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Hwacheon D2-5AX – 5-Axis Vertical Machining Centre

Hwacheon D2-5AX – 5-Axis Vertical Machining Centre

Designed for “High Mix – Low Volume” manufacturing, Hwacheon’s D2-5AX – 5-Axis Vertical Machining Centre is available from 4+1 to full 5-axis, plus four different spindles are available for selection catering to many different application requirements and materials. It is well-designed for automated production with either Robot or Automated Workpiece Changer system.

Various spindles suit different application needs (from 12,000 to 24,000 rpm high speed & high torque) and materials, from aluminium and stainless steel to titanium and inconel.

It has a built-in motor spindle with the Hwacheon signature Cooling and Lubrication System. Hydraulic clamping of B & C for higher rigidity (option). Linear Roller Guideways ensure highest stability and precision. Cantilever support for the table provides higher load and stability during machining. Very effective chip disposal ensures continuous production cycles. There is hydraulic clamping of B and C axes for higher rigidity.

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Jet Engine Part Production—An Aerospace Industry Challenge

The requirements for materials used in jet engine parts are necessarily very exacting. They must survive extremes of temperature and force, while being as light as possible and ultra-reliable. Contributed by Iscar

Image Source: Iscar

A turbojet engine can be divided simply into three sections – the compressor, the combustor and the turbine. The compressor pressurises the air flowing through the engine before it enters the combustion chamber, where the air is mixed with fuel, ignited and burnt. The compressor components are predominantly made from titanium alloys, while the combustor and turbine components are typically made of a nickel-based superalloy such as Inconel 718.

Nickel-Based Alloys

The excellent physical properties that characterise nickel-based high temperature alloys make them ideal for use in the manufacture of aerospace components.

Properties such as high yield strength and ultimate tensile strength, high fatigue strength, corrosion and oxidation resistance even at elevated temperatures enable the usage of nickel-based high temperature alloys in many applications and over a very wide temperature spectrum.

The aerospace industry accounts for about 80 percent of the nickel-based high temperature alloys used in manufacturing rotating parts of gas turbines, including  disks and blades, housing components such as turbine casing, engine mounts, and components for rocket motors and pumps.

Nickel-based high temperature alloys contain 35-75 percent Ni and 15-22 percent Cr; they constitute about 30 percent of the total material requirement in the manufacture of an aircraft engine and are also used as structural material for various components in the main engine of space shuttles.

The very same properties that make nickel-based alloys such a great choice for jet engine parts also cause substantial machining difficulties.

The cutting forces and temperature at the cutting zone are extremely high due to the high shear stresses developed and the low thermal conductivity. This, coupled with the reactivity of nickel-based high temperature alloys with the tool material, leads to galling and welding of the chips on the work piece surface and cause excessive tool wear, which can limit cutting speeds and reduce useful tool life.

All these characteristics contribute to low material removal rates and short tool life, resulting in massive machining costs.

Titanium-Based Alloys

Due to their high strength to weight ratio and excellent corrosion resistance, titanium alloy parts are ideally suited for advanced aerospace systems. Titanium-based alloys which contain 86-99.5 percent Ti and 5-8 percent Al, are immune to almost every medium to which they would be exposed in an aerospace environment.

Image Source: Iscar

Very large quantities of titanium can be found in jet engines, where titanium alloy parts make up to 25-30 percent of the weight, primarily in the compressor. The high efficiency of these engines is obtained by using titanium alloys in components such as fan blades, compressor blades, rotors, discs, hubs, and other non-rotor parts—for instance inlet guide vanes.

Titanium’s superior properties and light weight allow aeronautical engineers to design planes that can fly higher and faster, with high resistance to extreme environmental conditions. However, titanium has historically been perceived as a material which is difficult to machine due to its physical, chemical and mechanical properties.

The material’s relatively high temperature resistance and low thermal conductivity do not allow generated heat to dissipate from the cutting tool, which causes excessive tool deformation and wear. Titanium alloys retain their strength at high temperatures, resulting in relatively high plastic deformation of the cutting tool resulting in depth of cut notches. During machining, the high chemical reactivity of titanium alloys causes the chips to weld to the cutting tool, leading to built-up cutting edges and chip breakage problems.

Over the past few years, Iscar has invested many resources in research and development to resolve these obstacles and optimise the machining of nickel-based and titanium high temperature alloys, with solutions that include the creation of customised grades and implementation of high pressure coolant technologies to develop cutting tools that will handle the heat issues.

Grades

For high material removal rates, Iscar developed ceramic grades to facilitate machining nickel-based alloys at cutting speeds of 200–400m/min:

IW7—Whisker-reinforced ceramic grade, provides high hardness with excellent toughness used for roughing and semi-finishing continues operations at 8-10 times faster cutting speeds when compared with carbide grades.

IS25—Reinforced SiAlON composite grade, Excellent for machining Ni based high temperature alloys at continuous and light interrupted applications.

IS35—Reinforced SiAlON composite grade, Excellent for machining Ni based high temperature alloys at light & heavy interrupted applications.

A series of carbide grades was developed specifically to create tools for machining nickel-based and titanium alloys:

IC806—A hard submicron substrate combined with a thin TiAlN PVD coating. The unique coating procedure which involves a special post coating treatment creates a thinner and smoother coating layer providing the insert with the best characteristics suitable for machining nickel-based and titanium alloys.

IC804— Same TiAlN PVD coating on a harder submicron substrate designed especially for machining Ni based alloys used in newly designed jet engine parts that feature very high hardness (40-47 HRC).

IC20—An uncoated carbide grade which is highly recommended for machining aluminum and titanium. IC20 provides very high performance and is mostly used for continuous cut applications.

High Pressure Coolant Tools

Image Source: Iscar

Although high pressure coolant features have been in existence for a long time in the metal removal world. Today high pressure coolant tools play an increasingly significant role in the machining process, facilitating enhanced productivity and chip control especially for hard to machine materials such as titanium and nickel-based alloys. Incorporating high pressure is the key to directing coolant to exactly where it is needed in order to flush the chips away from the cut.

Iscar was one of the first cutting tool producers to respond to market needs by developing and manufacturing tools for the optimal use of high pressure coolant in lowering high temperatures and regulating chip flow, including Jetcut custom high-pressure coolant tools.

While the aerospace parts OEM/PMA sector is under constant pressure to keep costs down, the quality and life expectancy of the parts produced cannot be compromised—and this represents an enormous challenge for all involved.  Iscar’s enhanced cutting tools allow jet engine manufacturers to utilise the ideal materials for the production of high quality parts, with minimum wastage and maximum efficiency.

Zebra Technologies Study: More Than Half Of Parcels To Be Delivered Under Two Hours By 2028

Zebra Technologies Study: More Than Half Of Parcels To Be Delivered Under Two Hours By 2028

Singapore: Zebra Technologies Corporation—the market leader in rugged mobile computers, barcode scanners and barcode printers enhanced with software and services to enable real-time enterprise visibility—announced on 13 July 2018 the results of the Asia Pacific edition of the Future of Fulfilment Vision Study—a body of research analysing how manufacturers, transportation and logistics firms, and retailers are preparing to meet the growing needs of the on-demand economy.

Key Survey Findings

  • The study revealed that 67 percent of logistics companies expect to provide same-day delivery by 2023 and 55 percent anticipate delivery within a two-hour window by 2028.
  • 92 percent of the respondents cited capital investment and operating costs of implementing an omnichannel operation as a key challenge.
  • Seven in ten surveyed executives agree that more retailers will continue to turn stores into fulfilment centres that accommodate product returns.
  • In Asia Pacific, 93 percent of respondents agreed that accepting and managing product returns remain a challenge.
  • Today, 55 percent of organisations are still using low-efficiency, manual pen-and-paper-based processes to enable omnichannel logistics.
  • Radio-frequency identification technology and inventory management platforms are expected to grow from 32 percent today to 95 percent in 2028.
  • Future-oriented decision makers revealed that next generation supply chains will reflect connected, business-intelligence and automated solutions that will add newfound speed, precision and cost-effectiveness to transportation and labour.

Yvonne Lim, Southeast Asia Channels Lead at Zebra Technologies, said: “Zebra’s study found that 95 percent of survey respondents in Asia Pacific agree that e-commerce is driving the need for faster delivery. In response, companies are turning to digital technology and analytics to bring heightened automation, merchandise visibility and business intelligence to the supply chain to compete in the on-demand consumer economy.”

Corresponding to the developments in the fulfilment space, Zebra has introduced a new mobile printer and RFID solution that will help drive better efficiencies both on and off-premise. The new ZQ300 Series mobile printers empower workers in the field, in the warehouse or on the retail floor with on-demand printing capabilities. Meanwhile, the FX9600 fixed UHF RFID readers will enable enterprises to keep up with high volumes of cargo movements in the warehouse or dock doors.

Hermle C 52 U Five-Axis Machining Centre With HIMS

Hermle C 52 U Five-Axis Machining Centre with HIMS

Hermle’s new large part C 52 U five-axis machining centre is equipped only with the standard tool magazines, but provides diverse applications for full processing and finishing work with required degree of precision.

With around 2,000 ‘sharp’ tools—each provided with a chip, include around 250 different milling tools, and around 300 for drilling and thread cutting. This allows tools to be deployed as required, with reduced changing and equipping times.

It features the Hermle Information Monitoring Software (HIMS) for display of life status and transmission of the information by email. Its working range of X=1,000; Y=1,100; Z=750 mm and 700 mm swivelling rotary table with a load-bearing capacity of 2,000 kg facilitates full/finishing machining of highly intricate tool and mould components, or base plate.

 

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Hexcel And Gazechim Join For Kitting Services To Aerospace, Defense And Industrial Markets

Hexcel And Gazechim Join For Kitting Services To Aerospace, Defense And Industrial Markets

Connecticut, US: On 17 July 2018, Hexcel Corporation and Groupe Gazechim Composites—an official Hexcel distributor for more than 20 years, have reached agreement to provide customised kitting services for advanced composite materials sold to aerospace and defense customers and for high-performance industrial applications.

The joint venture, named HexCut Services, brings together Hexcel—a leader in advanced composites—and Gazechim—a leader in distribution and logistics—to provide pan-European kitting services that will include Hexcel’s innovative carbon fibre prepreg and other composite materials such as adhesives and fabrics for aerospace, defense and industrial applications. Pre-cut kits save customers time and investment, reduce inventory and minimise material losses through scrap reduction.

Gazechim’s existing kitting plant in Maulévrier, 75km east of Nantes, France, acquired in 2016, will be the initial hub for providing pre-cut kits to customers as well as central services in the future to a network of local kitting facilities in Europe.

Thierry Merlot, Hexcel’s President, Aerospace, Europe, MEA and Asia Pacific, said: “This is a great opportunity for us to join together with Gazechim, a trusted and well-established partner, to offer our leading advanced composite products to customers in a way that helps them become more productive and profitable.”

Gazechim will own a majority share of the joint venture. Jean Guittard, Chairman of Gazechim, said: “This project marks a new era between Hexcel and Gazechim and consolidates our long-term partnership of almost 20 years.”

Walter Ewag: Laser Line Precision

Walter Ewag: Laser Line Precision

The enhanced laser source offers highly efficient machining results for commercially available diamond cutting materials such as CBN, PKD, CVD-D and now also MKD.  Thanks to this further development, PKD materials can be machined up to 2.5 times faster and MKD up to 1.5 times faster. Rotationally symmetrical tools of up to 200 mm diameter and up to 250 mm length as well as indexable inserts from 3 mm inside diameter and up to 50 mm perimeter diameter can be machined with the laser line precision.

The Laser Touch Machining process offers excellent surface quality, even on tools with complex or delicate geometries. Any cutting contours, clearances and 3D machining of chip groove geometries are performed in one clamping operation. The resulting flue gas and the vaporised material are suctioned according to the process and carried to a corresponding suction/filter system.

600UK: Clausing MillPWR CNC Milling Machine

600UK: Clausing MillPWR CNC Milling Machine

600UK’s Clausing MillPWR CNC milling machine comes fitted with the Heidenhain Acu-Rite control system that offers flexibility and user-friendliness. It allows the creation and programming of complex parts to happen within minutes and can also manufacture one-offs and small batch components. Additionally, prototype and test components can be routinely milled.

The full conversational programming system is easy to utilise for swift and fuss-free cutting. It has the capacity to produce highly accurate parts the first-time with ultra-high precision 1µm resolution scales.

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