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Digitalisation In Practice

Digitalisation In Practice

Digital platforms are being developed on the basis of which users can apply their tools more efficiently, cut back on waste, and minimise tasks that were previously carried out manually. By Walter 

The digitalisation of the manufacturing industry is beginning to take shape. The main objective has already been defined: The continuous digitalisation and networking of all production processes, or “digital manufacturing” for short. In recent months, experts at Walter have come significantly closer to achieving this objective.

Potential for Optimisation

“Of course, digital manufacturing is not an end in itself,” explained Holger Langhans, director of Walter Multiply. “In the discussions that we held with our customers, it always came down to the question of how digitalisation can help them to optimise manufacturing processes (and the processes associated with those), increase productivity and reduce costs.”

Since then, Mr Langhans and his team have implemented some of these opportunities in the form of software modules or applications.

To thoroughly test them and develop them further to ensure they are fit for everyday use, Walter set up two test segments: In Walter’s manufacturing environment, practical tests are running on ten machines, while a further five machines in the Technology Centre have been equipped with the new digital applications.

Sorting It Out

Florian Böpple, expert in digital manufacturing at Walter: “As things stand today, we have more than a dozen apps undergoing continuous testing. Previous results have shown that we are on the right path here: In a very practical way, they are helping to detect and unlock the potential for optimisation in the process chain, to make the processes significantly more transparent, and to visualise the potential.”

The solutions involved here address topics that, in practice, affect the everyday work of every manufacturing operation: “We are working on reducing waste when it comes to materials and tools. We are optimising interfaces in the process chain, minimising the manual tasks, and improving the interaction between machines — the machine-to-machine connection.”

Optimising Loading

One of these applications, which is already running, is used to optimise loading. The principle is simple: The user first selects the program that they want to run next on the machine. The “Loading Optimisation” app automatically compares the tools that are called up in the manufacturing program with those that are already available on the machine.

The benefits are obvious: The user can see, at a glance, which tools they should set up and which they shouldn’t; this reduces their average manual effort. And, if there is sufficient space on the machine, they can set up all of the tools that are required for the planned orders.

Reducing Costs

The “Tool Cost Drivers” app should interest production managers and controllers in particular. They are informed, at a glance, about what tools create which tool costs. This is made possible by the link between real tool usage data from the machine and the purchase prices for the tools.

The data can then be used to determine which tool has created the highest costs based on its actual usage, and therefore should be top of the priority list when it comes to optimisation. “So, in a very simple way, we are helping to ensure that the average costs per tool are kept transparent,” Mr Böpple said.

Another app called the “Batch-By-Batch Optimisation” has also been in use at Walter for some time now. It analyses the tool that is currently being used and defines any potential for optimisation by using a sophisticated algorithm.

As a result, the application displays a table with the areas that have potential for optimisation, which are possible depending on the batch and the tool. In addition, the entire potential for savings is displayed as a percentage. This information means that users are well-placed to specifically intervene and to unlock the potential for optimisation.

Many Fields Of Application

More than a dozen of these apps have been developed and used by Walter’s experts since the start of the project (at least a year ago). They are all currently being used in the pilot phase in Walter’s manufacturing.

“Our objective is to establish an application platform that covers the most important topics in the manufacturing environment,” added Mr Langhans. “We are already well on our way to achieving this objective”.

The software modules are so basic in their design that their universal benefits can be delivered to many sectors – far beyond metal cutting. According to Mr Langhans, “Manufacturing companies often have similar areas where “the screws can be tightened”, which they can use to optimise their processes and structures. Our project is therefore generating a lot of interest from many business partners.”

In the near future, several pilot customers will begin using the applications and testing them in practice. Their experiences should help the experts at Walter to further develop the software modules based on the customer-specific requirements. And, in the end, this should deliver the required results under as wide a range of conditions as possible.

Open, Modular Approach

The application platform follows an open and modular approach and, as a result, can be flexibly adapted to meet forthcoming requirements. In future, users themselves should be able to add their own applications to the platform. Not insignificant: The data that is collected and generated from this sits on the customer’s servers and not in the cloud. “The company stays in control and decides for themselves who receives what data,” added Mr Böpple.

“Generally speaking, we give our customers an extremely powerful instrument — one which is extremely easy to install and which is simple to operate via the web-based interface.” All applications are based on real-time data, which means that the source of errors, along with optimisation potential, can be very quickly identified. “Our knowledge has been incomparable when it comes to other solutions on the market.”

Walter’s new technology centre in Tübingen, Germany is where the application platform is being operated continuously, thoroughly tested and subsequently enhanced. Customers can also try out all of the applications and the platform for themselves.

Walter: M4000 Milling System

Walter: M4000 Milling System

Walter’s M4000 milling system has expanded to include the machining of non-ferrous metals such as aluminium.

It is available in three insert sizes—SD06, SD09 and SD12—and offers flexibility in terms of feed rates, depth of cut and speeds. With the new G88 geometry variant, the inserts can be used in different cutter types, which make handling easier, and reduces procurement and storage costs.

The flank faces on system’s four cutting edges are provided with a wave profile, which displays the geometry of the indexable insert. The system indexable inserts have a positive basic shape with a clearance angle of 15 degrees, which results in less power required for milling.

Digitalisation In Practice

Digitalisation In Practice

Digital platforms are being developed on the basis of which users can apply their tools more efficiently, cut back on waste, and minimise tasks that were previously carried out manually. By Walter 

The digitalisation of the manufacturing industry is beginning to take shape. The main objective has already been defined: The continuous digitalisation and networking of all production processes, or “digital manufacturing” for short. In recent months, experts at Walter have come significantly closer to achieving this objective.

Potential for Optimisation

“Of course, digital manufacturing is not an end in itself,” explained Holger Langhans, director of Walter Multiply. “In the discussions that we held with our customers, it always came down to the question of how digitalisation can help them to optimise manufacturing processes (and the processes associated with those), increase productivity and reduce costs.”

Since then, Mr Langhans and his team have implemented some of these opportunities in the form of software modules or applications.

To thoroughly test them and develop them further to ensure they are fit for everyday use, Walter set up two test segments: In Walter’s manufacturing environment, practical tests are running on ten machines, while a further five machines in the Technology Centre have been equipped with the new digital applications.

Sorting It Out

Florian Böpple, expert in digital manufacturing at Walter: “As things stand today, we have more than a dozen apps undergoing continuous testing. Previous results have shown that we are on the right path here: In a very practical way, they are helping to detect and unlock the potential for optimisation in the process chain, to make the processes significantly more transparent, and to visualise the potential.”

The solutions involved here address topics that, in practice, affect the everyday work of every manufacturing operation: “We are working on reducing waste when it comes to materials and tools. We are optimising interfaces in the process chain, minimising the manual tasks, and improving the interaction between machines — the machine-to-machine connection.”

Optimising Loading

One of these applications, which is already running, is used to optimise loading. The principle is simple: The user first selects the program that they want to run next on the machine. The “Loading Optimisation” app automatically compares the tools that are called up in the manufacturing program with those that are already available on the machine.

The benefits are obvious: The user can see, at a glance, which tools they should set up and which they shouldn’t; this reduces their average manual effort. And, if there is sufficient space on the machine, they can set up all of the tools that are required for the planned orders.

Reducing Costs

The “Tool Cost Drivers” app should interest production managers and controllers in particular. They are informed, at a glance, about what tools create which tool costs. This is made possible by the link between real tool usage data from the machine and the purchase prices for the tools.

The data can then be used to determine which tool has created the highest costs based on its actual usage, and therefore should be top of the priority list when it comes to optimisation. “So, in a very simple way, we are helping to ensure that the average costs per tool are kept transparent,” Mr Böpple said.

Another app called the “Batch-By-Batch Optimisation” has also been in use at Walter for some time now. It analyses the tool that is currently being used and defines any potential for optimisation by using a sophisticated algorithm.

As a result, the application displays a table with the areas that have potential for optimisation, which are possible depending on the batch and the tool. In addition, the entire potential for savings is displayed as a percentage. This information means that users are well-placed to specifically intervene and to unlock the potential for optimisation.

Many Fields Of Application

More than a dozen of these apps have been developed and used by Walter’s experts since the start of the project (at least a year ago). They are all currently being used in the pilot phase in Walter’s manufacturing.

“Our objective is to establish an application platform that covers the most important topics in the manufacturing environment,” added Mr Langhans. “We are already well on our way to achieving this objective”.

The software modules are so basic in their design that their universal benefits can be delivered to many sectors – far beyond metal cutting. According to Mr Langhans, “Manufacturing companies often have similar areas where “the screws can be tightened”, which they can use to optimise their processes and structures. Our project is therefore generating a lot of interest from many business partners.”

In the near future, several pilot customers will begin using the applications and testing them in practice. Their experiences should help the experts at Walter to further develop the software modules based on the customer-specific requirements. And, in the end, this should deliver the required results under as wide a range of conditions as possible.

Open, Modular Approach

The application platform follows an open and modular approach and, as a result, can be flexibly adapted to meet forthcoming requirements. In future, users themselves should be able to add their own applications to the platform. Not insignificant: The data that is collected and generated from this sits on the customer’s servers and not in the cloud. “The company stays in control and decides for themselves who receives what data,” added Mr Böpple.

“Generally speaking, we give our customers an extremely powerful instrument — one which is extremely easy to install and which is simple to operate via the web-based interface.” All applications are based on real-time data, which means that the source of errors, along with optimisation potential, can be very quickly identified. “Our knowledge has been incomparable when it comes to other solutions on the market.”

Walter’s new technology centre in Tübingen, Germany is where the application platform is being operated continuously, thoroughly tested and subsequently enhanced. Customers can also try out all of the applications and the platform for themselves.

Process Knowledge Makes Machining More Efficient

Process Knowledge Makes Machining More Efficient

Complete machining solutions at component level are improving cost-efficiency for the aerospace industry. By Lim Gan Shu, Southeast Asia marketing manager, Walter AG

Although the topic is not new, it appears as a new item on the agenda on a daily basis: The demands made on manufacturers in the aviation and aerospace industry are becoming increasingly more demanding and complex. And what applies to production businesses, also applies to the machining industry that provides them with the tools they require.

In order to be more cost-efficient, manufacturers need to not only use tools that perform with a long tool life, but also continuously optimise their machining solutions and processes. In this area in particular, Walter provides support for its aerospace customers.

Creating Complete Solutions

The goal is to create complete solutions that address the complexity of the task and help to increase productivity and cost-efficiency.

“Today, customers expect their tool supplier to have a high level of expertise in all key operations that are carried out using its tools. This reduces the increasing cost pressure and compensates for the loss of expertise which arises as a result of outsourcing a large number of tasks.”, explained Thomas Schaarschmidt, director business and application development at Walter.

This means that, in addition to the tools required for the relevant machining solutions and the associated comprehensive service, suppliers also have a recycling and reconditioning program.

Technical support is provided, and simple order processing is integrated into the customer’s workflows. The supplier programs the machining systems (or helps the user’s staff to do so) and trains the customer’s employees, among other requirements that are neded.

Crucial Beneficial Effects

In addition, the tool specialist develops complete machining concepts, including all process steps which arise during the production of a component. These concepts are individually tailored to the customer’s needs and contain detailed recommendations regarding which tools are used in which step.

Mr Schaarschmidt said, “We have taken our customers’ list of requirements and developed it further. In other words, we have been systematically building on the comprehensive expertise that our customers need to take on the problems and challenges associated with the production of their components. We make this expertise and the discoveries which result for the production process available to our customers. We are thereby actively helping them to use our tools as efficiently, and as cost-effectively, as possible.”

First, Mr Schaarschmidt’s team defined specific components that are frequently used in the aerospace industry: Structural parts made from titanium aluminium alloys, for example, or engine and landing gear components. Complete machining solutions for these components are then developed in close collaboration with technology partners from the sector: Key customers, machinery and software manufacturers, suppliers, universities and research institutes.

Practical Development

“For every component for which we develop a machining solution together with the customer, we analyse the features and look at which and how many variations exist for each component. Then we map the entire process chain as it is implemented at the customer, in-house or at technology partners. This means that we know every detail that is relevant for machining the customer component,” said Mr Schaarschmidt.

In the next step, a roadmap is created that defines which steps are to be taken to the finished solution. The specialists identify what they can do where, which processes they have already mastered, where there is need for development and how this should be covered most effectively and in the quickest way possible.

The creation of machining concepts involves tool specialists who bring their expertise in machining turning, drilling, threading or milling using a wide range of different materials. The process also involves component experts who know which challenges associated with the manufacture of specific components need to be overcome.

To enable them to tailor their solutions as closely as possible to the specific requirements of the user, the company’s component managers visit their customers on a regular basis.

“Our component managers are deeply involved in the topic; they speak the language of our customers and know exactly where the problem areas lie,” explains Mr Schaarschmidt.

Their task is to keep up to date with what the users of the cutting tools are currently doing, and what optimisation measures or open topics they are looking at. They also gather feedback on recommended machining solutions.

A Competitive Advantage

The solutions that Mr Schaarschmidt’s team develops with customers have the purpose of creating competitive advantages for customers. It is therefore not uncommon for one machining concept to include hundreds of pieces of detailed information, machining steps or more. This includes numerous variant-specific machining solutions for every component.

Mr Schaarschmidt stated that his team’s goal is to offer a complete solution for 80 percent of the different variants of a component—all documented, partly standardised and accessible to specialists at all times.

The result: recommendations of which tools, machining parameters and processes can be used to produce a certain component with costs. This information is passed on to their customers via technology days together with technology partners, via roadshows, using training videos or animations on YouTube and, in the future—to deal with the trend in digitalisation—via the company’s homepage and augmented reality.

Knowledge about future products and requirements also flows into the development processes.Mr Schaarschmidt explains the benefits for customers:

“Forward-looking planning and development enables us to offer our customers a completely new type of machining solution, often right at the start of production of a new product, which is precisely tailored to them.

He adds that his team is able to support their customers with new component-specific cutting material solutions with immediately. Along with reduced start-up costs, the time between development and series production (time-to-market) is considerably accelerated and that this has a positive impact on cost-effectiveness.

Porcupine milling cutter for roughing titanium alloys

Porcupine milling cutter for roughing titanium alloys

Landing gear mounts are complex structural components that are situated horizontally in the wing structure above the landing gear. These elements connect the wing and the landing gear and act as a shock absorber in conjunction with the main cylinder of the landing gear

Landing gear mounts are complex structural components that are situated horizontally in the wing structure above the landing gear. These elements connect the wing and the landing gear and act as a shock absorber in conjunction with the main cylinder of the landing gear.

Wing ribs are structural components inside the wing. Together with the longerons, they form the frame for the wing skin. Wing ribs are predominantly manufactured from aluminium wrought alloys. These are light, have a high load-bearing capacity and are extremely robust

Wing ribs are structural components inside the wing. Together with the longerons, they form the frame for the wing skin. Wing ribs are predominantly manufactured from aluminium wrought alloys. These are light, have a high load-bearing capacity and are extremely robust.

 

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