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Say Hello To ATHENA: Makino’s Voice Control Technology

Say Hello To ATHENA: Makino’s Voice Control Technology

Designed to run an EDM or CNC machine, ATHENA’s new voice-interoperability and intelligent-learning technology help owners reduce training requirements by providing new operators with their voice-enabled digital assistant.


Tomorrow’s technology is here aptly represents Makino’s capabilities as the world’s most accurate and highest quality metal-cutting and Electrical discharge machines (EDM) producer. Makino’s breakthrough technology like ATHENA is not only a solution to the manufacturers’ problems both large and small but a revolutionary Industry 4.0 move.

“The precision engineering manufacturing is facing an acute skilled labour shortage. As a pioneer in the machine tool industry, Makino is addressing the problem caused by this skill gap with breakthrough technology like ATHENA. This new technology will revolutionize manufacturing by making it easier to both learn about and use a machine tool, as well as to efficiently operate on a day-to-day basis.” says Frankie Chan, Product Manager of Makino Asia.

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Energy-Efficient Metal Forming Solutions

Energy-Efficient Metal Forming Solutions

Faccin Group, with more than 30,000 units installed around the world and three of the most recognised brands in the metal forming industry – FACCIN, BOLDRINI and ROUNDO – is a leader in the design and fabrication of rolling and bending machines offering the widest range of high-quality options.


Our customers’ production needs are our primary drive to keep innovating. Thanks to a close collaboration with customers, technicians, and distributors, a new line of products and systems has been developed. Faccin’s R&D department has designed these machines aesthetically and conceptually based on five main guidelines:
● enhanced automation using advanced measuring systems
● connectivity and remote diagnostics
● Industry 4.0
● reduction of environmental impact
● increased safety

Discover the new direct electric-drive roller >> https://bit.ly/3iu1UrO

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CNC Machining & 3D Printing: A Mixed Approach To Precision Manufacturing

CNC Machining & 3D Printing: A Mixed Approach To Precision Manufacturing

Peter Jacobs, Senior Director of Marketing at CNC Masters shares how a meaningful combination of CNC machining and 3D Printing can help manufacture even the most intricate parts and boost overall productivity.

The advancing 3D printing capabilities have made it convenient for manufacturers to use additive manufacturing to develop parts from a wide variety of materials. These materials include polymers such as ABS, PLA, TPE, and carbon fibre composites, polycarbonates, and nylon.

Alongside 3D printing, precision CNC machining also enjoys a crucial role in the additive manufacturing process, with a new process called hybrid manufacturing quickly assuming its hold in the industry.

Combining CNC machining and 3D printing can meet all crucial design requirements and eliminate limitations in these individual domains. 

Benefits of Combining Machining and 3D Printing

Here’s why the combination of CNC machining and 3D printing is relevant and the benefits that will follow:

  • Conservation of Time

The process of 3D printing a part and then having it delivered to the next section for CNC machining involves too many steps; however, this process is relatively less time-consuming relative to injection moulding.

In Injection moulding, the design and development of a specialised tool must go through every workpiece in the moulding process, making it more time-consuming.

While we can alternatively use 3D printed injection moulds to reduce production time, incorporating the potential of CNC machining can be more fruitful.

We can seamlessly tweak the digital files that end up getting 3D printed as prototypes rather than making alterations to an existing injection moulding machine tool.

  • Higher Tolerance Rate

3D printing has encountered hindrances in its progress due to the tolerances of modern 3D printers. Many end-use parts have specific tolerances and other vital requirements that are only feasible by incumbent manufacturing methods.

Unlike 3D printing, CNC machining is consistent. It offers a more refined product because its equipment does not exhibit sensitivity to heat as a 3D printer, which might warp and distort the product and result in uncertain runs of products.

Merging the two domains provides us with the perks of rapid prototyping brought to the table by 3D printers. It also enables us to dial in the tolerance from 0.1 mm to 0.3 mm as anticipated from a DMLS or SLS 3D printer to about 0.025 to 0.125 mm rendered by CNC Milling Machines.

  • Use a Bigger Workpiece

A congregation of these two domains involves 3D printing a part and then forwarding it to CNC milling to balance the final tolerances and providing it with the desired finish.

There has been excitements about merging these two technologies into one machine. This scenario could result in something that resembles the industrial-scale hybrid milling machines.

Such machines are speculated to harbour a build volume of about 40 feet in diameter and 10 feet in height. These hybrid 3D printing-milling machines can mill the surface of a new 3D print while the operation would still be underway.

With state-of-the-art CNC Benchtop Milling Machines, you can enjoy peak performance while occupying a minimum floor.

Likely Mergers of CNC Machining and 3D Printing

Some of the cases where we can successfully implement the merger of 3D printing and CNC machining for the manufacturing process includes:

  • Plastic Manufacturing

If we intend to develop a component from plastic, it is essential to consider that additive manufacturing might not adequately deliver the needed precision as we would require high tolerances.

In such cases, employing 3D printing to manufacture the component and then bring in CNC machining to trim it to the desired dimensions could be beneficial. This gesture can help dispose of any shortcomings that may have surfaced due to the additive manufacturing hardware.

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Precise Measurement Technology Directly On The Shop Floor

Precise Measurement Technology Directly On The Shop Floor

When specialists work together: Klostermann fulfills several requirements at once—precision in measurement, integration in production and convincing price-performance ratio—with the help of WENZEL. 

The new measuring machine from CNC-Technik Heil GmbH is located in the middle of production—exactly what it was developed for. The SF 87 CNC coordinate measuring machine from WENZEL needs neither its own room nor a compressed air connection due to its intelligent machine concept. At the same time, it offers a high measuring volume and efficient measuring technology. 

“Our customer was looking for a flexible solution that allows not only reliable measurement results but also their documentation,” says Christian Klostermann. He assisted Thorsten Heil in the acquisition of his first own 3D measuring machine.

As an experienced sales company for 3D coordinate measuring technology, Klostermann GmbH works as a factory representative for leading companies. With more than 900 measuring machines already sold and a wide range of services and training, Klostermann GmbH sees itself as a competence center for quality assurance and measuring technology. 

For CNC-Technik Heil GmbH, Christian Klostermann recommended a measuring concept from the manufacturer WENZEL. In addition to the sale of measuring machines, the Remscheid-based specialist offers turnkey quality solutions for individual requirements and its core tasks include the project planning of measuring rooms and the assembly of clamping systems for component mounting.

Wide Range of Applications

The SF 87 is a 3D coordinate measuring machine for measuring small to medium-sized production parts. Its compact design is a solution especially in the metal cutting and forming industry, when precise measuring results are to be achieved. For Torsten Heil’s, the device offers the possibility to be retrofitted with additional sensor technology. For example, touch trigger probes or optical laser line sensors can be easily retrofitted. This means that the SF 87 offers a wide range of future-proof applications.

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The Essential Guide To CNC Milling Machines

The Essential Guide To CNC Milling Machines

For those who may be a new entrant to the industry and would need a refresher, this article explains CNC Milling Machines, how they work, how they compare to CNC Lathes, and when to use such CNC machine tools. Article by Hwacheon. 

Focused on milling – the process of machining using rotating tools to gradually remove material from a workpiece – CNC milling machines are a mainstay for factories around the world. These machine tools make use of a variety of cutting tools along one or more axes to remove material from a workpiece through mechanical means.

CNC milling machines are often used in a variety of manufacturing industries: from industries like aerospace, shipping, automobiles, and oil drilling/pumping and refining, to medical, FMC manufacturing, and precision engineering sectors.

Also called CNC Machining Centers, the more advanced CNC milling machines can operate along multiple-axis. These may be fitted with automatic tool changers, advanced machine coolant systems, pallet changers, and advanced software to improve the efficiency and accuracy of machining processes.

In this article, we will be looking at the many different aspects of a CNC milling machine/machining center.

What CNC Milling Machines Are

CNC milling machines are machine-operated cutting tools that are programmed and managed by computer numerical control (CNC) systems to accurately remove materials from a workpiece. The end result of the machining process is a specific part or product that is created using a computer aided design (CAD) software.

These machine tools are normally equipped with a main spindle and three-linear-axes to position or move the part to be machined. More advanced versions may have a 4th or 5th rotational axis to allow for more precise shapes of varying dimensions and sizes to be machined.

CNC milling machines normally employ a process of material cutting termed milling or machining – the milling process involves securing a piece of pre-shaped material (also known as the workpiece) to a fixture attached to a platform in the milling machine. A rapidly rotating tool (or a series of interchangeable tools) is then applied to the material to remove small chips of the material until the desired shape for the part is achieved.

Depending on the material used for the part, as well as the complexity of the machined part, varying axes, cutting head speeds, and feed rates may be applied.

Milling is normally used to machine parts that are not symmetrical from an axial perspective. These parts may have unique curvatures or surface contours, which may require a combination of drilling and tapping, grooves, slots, recesses, pockets and holes to work on them. They may also form parts of the tooling for other manufacturing processes – for example in the fabrication of 3D moulds. 

Features of Advanced CNC Milling Machines

In the past, milling machines were manually operated. Operators had to use a combination of machines with different tools to machine a more complex part or product. Or they had to use various settings on one machine just to complete the job. 

With the advancement of technology such as CNC and automatic tool changers (ATCs), greater efficiency, flexibility and speed can be achieved – even for more convoluted parts. The provision of digital readouts and measuring systems has also improved the accuracy of CNC machining processes. 

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High-quality Metal Parts For The Airbus A320 Made With Precise, User-friendly CNC Tech

High-quality Metal Parts for the Airbus A320 Made with Precise, User-friendly CNC Tech

Find out how Harmuth CNC-Frästechnik was able to overcome sheet-metal aircraft part machining challenges. Article by Stefan Ziegler, Beckhoff Automation.

In aircraft construction, exceptional component quality and precision are crucial, for obvious reasons. However, sheet-metal aircraft parts are often extremely large, making machining and handling problematic. 

Working closely with CNC specialist Penta-Tec CNC-Automation GmbH and with milling specialist A&T Manufacturing GmbH—a company that supplies Premium Aerotec, an Airbus subsidiary, with structural components—Harmuth CNC-Frästechnik has built large-format milling machines that use PC-based control technology from Beckhoff to successfully overcome these challenges. 

PC-based Control Provides Greater Flexibility for Machine Builders

Harmuth CNC-Frästechnik makes 3D milling machines and specialty systems, the advantages of which come to the fore in applications such as the fabrication of large sheet-metal parts for the Airbus A320 series of aircraft. The parts are supplied by A&T, as Managing Director Marc Bochinger explains, “Airbus, or rather Premium Aerotec, is our biggest customer. Besides supplying all their material (the sheet aluminium), we also form and machine large and complex structural components for them. What sets us apart at A&T is that we concentrate completely on the customer’s needs and come up with an optimized production and logistics solution in as short a time as possible.”

Power and Versatility of Standard Control Technology

“The big challenge at A&T is the need to constantly implement new machine functionality. A&T and Harmuth CNC-Frästechnik work together closely to optimize the machines—more than once, if necessary—to maximize their potential in production. PC-based control from Beckhoff covers all our requirements, not least because we can change the way axes are coupled in TwinCAT if we need to,” says Roman Felber, Technical Director at Penta-Tec.

In 2010, Penta-Tec found that rising functionality demands were pushing the performance of its proprietary control system to the limits. “We needed a new, flexible control system, capable of delivering the performance we needed. After some research and analysis of the controller market, PC-based control technology from Beckhoff soon stood out as the ideal solution,” Managing Director Dieter König says. 

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A Remedy To Uncertain Times

A Remedy To Uncertain Times

Medical manufacturing company Straits Orthopaedic delivers on diverse medical applications with their flexible ANCA CNC grinding machines. Article by Duncan Thompson, ANCA.

If manufacturers have learned anything over the recent months, it is that you can take nothing for granted. Circumstances can change quickly and how you are set up to respond can be the difference between your business flourishing or folding. Recognising this, Straits Orthopaedic has been investing in ANCA machines as part of their strategy to be a flexible manufacturer in the medical tooling and component market. 

The events of COVID-19 this year are perhaps the most extreme example of rapid market change and resulting uncertainty. But, even after more normal circumstances return, manufacturers need to be constantly vigilant, watching and responding to changes in the market that provide new opportunities or necessitate a pivot in their business. 

ANCA CNC grinding machines have long been recognised in the industry for their flexibility. It is this kind of flexibility that allows ANCA users to produce parts for diverse applications, so they are not limited to just one customer or one application. Powerful software allows users to create programs for a broad range of cutting tools and components. While modular machine design means features can be easily configured to suit the varying needs of different applications. 

The medical industry offers exceptional and diverse opportunities for manufacturers, with ANCA grinding machines supporting international markets in the production of complex bone rasps, long rotary reamers and tiny dental drills and burrs, just to name a few. 

Straits Orthopaedics, based out of Malaysia, is a case-in-point of a company taking advantage of ANCA’s diverse capabilities. Already well established for contract manufacture of medical components, Straits Orthopaedics’ first tool grinder was an ANCA FX5.

Senior Process Development Engineer Vidyadhiraj Vidyadharan comments, “Custom made tools have become a significant part of our growth in the medical tool market. We need the ability to make special tools to varying customer requirements and to be able to do it quickly. ANCA’s FX5 with its flexible tool programming software has certainly allowed us to meet this need. Demand for our diverse range of medical drills, reamers and planers easily justified our second FX5.”

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When Grinding Receives An Unprecedented Dimension

When Grinding Receives An Unprecedented Dimension

Dressing technology enables completely new possibilities in grinding with metal bonded CBN and diamond wheels. Article by Fritz Studer AG.

Alfred Mair, Head of Grinding Technology at Fischer AG, faces a challenge. The company, a manufacturer of high-precision spindles, has reached its limits in the grinding of exotic materials such as titanium and hard-to-machine hard materials under the increasing quality demands from the customers. That, plus their need to increase productivity, can’t be solved by  conventional grinding machines. 

Then came Fritz Studer AG’s S41 CNC universal cylindrical grinding machine. Specifically designed for large workpieces, it has a length between centres of 1000/1600 mm and a centre height of 225/275 mm. It processes workpieces with high precision up to a maximum weight of 250 kg, just as effectively as small and medium-sized workpieces. But the key for Fischer is the fully integrated WireDress dressing system.

“We had high hopes that we could use metal-bonded grinding wheels for a measurable and reproducible highest quality, have a higher productivity, more universal machining options as well as reduced tool costs,” Mair explains his expectations.

Expectations Exceeded

STUDER configured the S41 with WireDress based on additional requirements from Fischer. Thus, the machine received a special high-speed external grinding motor spindle, an innovative proprietary product of Fischer, in which the axial growth is particularly small.

In addition, the spindle is tapered at the rear end, avoiding possible collision situations. This is a specific benefit for face/shoulder grinding with the spindle at an angle. The S41 is supplemented with a fully automatic workpiece magazine and handling system, which ensures fully automatic series production of the high-quality precision components in a stand-alone operation.

“I am blown away,” says Mair. “Three to five times faster than with conventional technology, with absolute reproducibility, ground in a tolerance range of less than 1μm! I have never seen anything like that! I am extremely impressed.”

The Secret Behind

But how does this dressing technology work? Michael Klotz, project manager for development at Studer, explains, “It is a well-known fact that metal-bonded grinding wheels are much more durable and dimensionally stable when machining difficult-to-machine materials and ultimately enable higher productivity. The problem with this is that metal bonds can only be dressed to a very limited extent using conventional methods in the grinding machine. In addition to this, there is a high dressing tool wear associated with a low cutting ability. This is neither an operator-friendly, nor a high quality and process consistent dressing method.”

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One Measuring Software For All Applications

One Measuring Software for All Applications

Measurement service provider Lometec upgraded the measuring software for its tactile Wenzel coordinate measuring machines from Metrosoft CM to WM | Quartis. CEO Jörg Werkmeister and Technical Director Marc Lange report on their practical experience using the example of a dimensional inspection of a turbine blade testing device.

The Metrosoft QUARTIS workspace. The inner ring of the turbine blade testing device is seen on the LH 108 coordinate measuring machine. (Source: Lometec)

Lometec GmbH & Co. KG is an accredited metrology lab according to DIN EN ISO / IEC 17025: 2005. The company provides a fully air-conditioned 220-square-meter measurement room according to VDI / VDE 2627 Bl.1 with state-of-the-art optical and tactile measuring machines. Lometec’s customers are mainly from the automotive and aerospace industry, medical technology, and mechanical engineering.

 

Measuring of the CNC Manufactured Rings of a Turbine Blade Testing Device

All tactile measurement systems at Lometec are exclusively powerful coordinate measuring machines (CMMs) from Wenzel Group.

“The Wenzel CMMs offer a holistic concept of high-quality engineering, intelligent software and accessory options,” says Jörg Werkmeister, Chief Executive Officer of Lometec. He is very satisfied with the decision to upgrade from Metrosoft CM to WM | Quartis.

Lometec was faced with a very sophisticated measurement task. A CNC manufactured inner and outer rings of a turbine blade testing device needed to be checked for dimensional accuracy for a customer. It was a very time-critical measurement task and the metrologists from Lometec used two LH 108 Wenzel coordinate measuring machines in parallel.

Clearly Designed Workspace for More Efficiency in Daily Use

Technical Director Marc Lange explains, “Due to the clearly designed workspace WM | Quartis works more effectively than was possible with Metrosoft CM.”

In the WM | Quartis user interface, the traditional menus and toolbars have been replaced by the Ribbon—a device that presents commands organized into a set of tabs.

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The Future Of Manufacturing: Impactful Tech On The Horizon

The Future of Manufacturing: Impactful Tech on the Horizon

The future of manufacturing is brimming with opportunity—it is full of new technologies designed to reduce waste and maximise process efficiency and flexibility through software and hardware capabilities. Article by Rahav Madvil, Simulation Product Manager for Siemens Digital Industries Software, and Noam Ribon, Senior Business Consultant at Siemens Digital Industries Software.

Industrial manufacturing as a sector has been an early adopter of robotics and other forms of technological improvements for decades. Robotics have been one of the best options to increase production efficiency for large and often highly repetitive manufacturing processes. But the era of producing large quantities of just a few products with low mix is coming to an end, giving way to increased product personalisation requiring a more flexible production process with less waste than ever before.

Fortunately, the future of manufacturing is brimming with opportunity. It is full of new technologies designed to reduce waste and maximise process efficiency and flexibility through software and hardware capabilities. Almost all of this promise is built upon a foundation of digital transformation – and the digital twin. Everything from raw material tracking to process optimisations to hardware selection stem from insights gained from the digital twin and a closed-loop optimisation of entire facilities.

The most difficult aspect of any change to operation are the inevitable changes to process—they are expensive twice over, because nothing is being produced and resources are still being consumed. An autonomous transport initiative squarely addresses this, relying on a few, key technologies to make it happen.

The Power of Virtual Commissioning

Creating a comprehensive digital twin of your production process can greatly reduce downtime for new machines, new processes and new products.  Let’s say you need to install a new CNC station. What if the processes for this new machine could be validated before it ever arrived on the production floor by using the digital twin of the production line? Less time could be spent integrating the new component into the overall production lines through line integration as a part of virtual commissioning.  Available today, virtual commissioning is the critical underpinning to an efficient production environment enabling a closed-loop iterative optimisation of the entire facility.

Virtual commissioning is vital, not only for testing software controls, but for adding insight to the efficiency of the controls strategy. It is also essential for embarking on the advanced robotics journey, laying the groundwork for implementing greater process automation and flexibility needed to efficiently implement tomorrow’s manufacturing technologies today.

Simulate Everything Upfront

One of the best options to minimise risk when updating an existing process or making a new one is to simulate the new operations. It nearly eliminates upfront investment in machinery before knowing whether the new process will operate as expected on the shop floor. For new digitalisation efforts, this is where a digital twin should be established for the process. Without a comprehensive study of the actions within a plant new equipment could be under-utilised leading to lost investment.

Just as important is the implementation of IoT devices, that serve to close the loop between the digital twin and the physical processes once the new processes have been initiated. Although these devices are often embedded in new production equipment, but it is important to consider how to best maximise the voluminous data they generate to gain crucial insight into the production process.

Next Generation Programming

Another route to maximising production time even when supporting a high product mix is to expedite the reprogramming of the robotics in use on the factory floor. Without integrated robotic control, updating a robotic arm for a new task can be incredibly time-consuming. It needs to be taken offline, reprogrammed, validated and restarted, for each robot that will handle the new processes.

In a partnership between AtriMinds and B/S/H/, Siemens Digital Industries Software helped bring flexibility to robotic arms by enabling automation for flexible products.

Siemens Digital Industries Software bring flexibility to robotic arms by enabling automation for flexible products.

All that changes by integrating the programmable logic controllers for these robots into the comprehensive digital twin. Much of this process can be streamlined. Does a bolt spacing on a phone need to be shifted slightly to accommodate the latest 5G wireless antenna? If the entire fleet of robots working on that production line could understand the change, that would save many hours across multiple engineering and production teams. Engineers simply need to let the robots know of the change and any differences in manufacturing tolerances can be accounted for with closed loop sensing through visual or force feedback. With force feedback within the robotic arm, any force exerted over a defined threshold can initiate a pause to the robotic arm’s actions and readjust positioning to address the perceived problem.  Instead of shutting them down for reprogramming, all the robots working on the project can adjust independently to subtle changes.

Although this might sound like some futuristic scenario, task-based programming has already been tested in the real world. In a partnership between AtriMinds and B/S/H/, Siemens Digital Industries Software helped bring flexibility to robotic arms by enabling automation for flexible products. Previously, one of the largest hurdles to automating assembly was how to work with flexible components. Traditional robotics rigidly follow predefined movements, so if something were to inadvertently shift, the whole assembly could be destroyed. But by implementing force sensing on the robotic arms, there is an almost intuitive understanding of the parts and how the robot is interacting with the workpiece at its station. If a hole is slightly out of place on a panel, the input from force sensors can help the robot redirect its movement and thread a screw through without complex, preprogrammed instructions for misalignment scenarios.

Optimising Production with Autonomous Robotics

Simulation, virtual commissioning and advanced robotics programming lay the foundation for a fully flexible production floor, but automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) weave it all together and bring it to life. Historically, conveyor belts acted as the material flow paths on a shop floor. They efficiently move product from point A to point B but require semi-static positioning. Even mobile conveyor systems, common in logistics work, take time to move and to ensure a safe path for product.

Heatmap from simulating AGV and AMR activity on a manufacturing floor.

In contrast, AGVs and AMRs can change their path during transit. This saves time that would have been spent readjusting existing features, this is critical for a flexible production environment. Imagine a production floor, making two distinct version of a product. For version one, the bolts need to be added before the secondary assembly is added, while in version two bolts cannot be added until after the sub-assembly has been mounted. In a static conveyor facility, this could be completed given enough conveyor length and a sorting mechanism. Beyond a couple variations to the production sequence the factory would fill up with conveyor loops that only transport a few products at a time, defeating one of the  main goals of the technology But with a fleet of AGVs or AMRs moving materials and work pieces throughout the facility, products can be rerouted and the sequence reordered to another machine. Or, in the case of highly customised consumer products, components could be routed to the best machine for the task. It can account for how much time is required to switch over to the new process, how many units can it produce compared to other machines, and even the impact of a re-route on other processes on the shop floor.

Reaping the Benefits of Tomorrow’s Robotics Today

Achieving all this requires a highly integrated production process. To guarantee a product is still made correctly during an automated process change, it needs to be simulated beforehand using a digital twin. To certify the product can be made in the new location, the production machine needs to be validated for the task using virtual commissioning. And to ensure the slightly different parts don’t produce errors in the process, the machines themselves need to be flexible to adapt to in real time to changing conditions with AGVs and AMRs.

Properly managing all these variables can have an incredibly positive effect on process performance, in fact it can produce up to a 40 percent improvement in labour productivity, according to a 2020 McKinsey study. Understanding the shop floor is an invaluable proposition and will continue to net savings and improvements through the life of the facility, even making it last longer by reducing maintenance overhead and costs with the improved condition monitoring of extensive IoT and the comprehensive digital twin.

Learn more of how Tecnomatix brings the tools of tomorrow’s factories to the factories of today with Siemens’ Xcelerator portfolio with free trials for the Process Simulate and Plant Simulate tools.

 

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