International Manufacturing Technology Show update

Jon Lawson

First came smart phones, then intelligent cars and houses. Now, visitors to the Metal Cutting Pavilion at IMTS 2018 can experience the explosive productivity growth possible with smart, connected machining centres.

“The conversations at IMTS have changed from spindle speeds and traverse rates to how to deliver pertinent information so machine shops and manufacturers can better manage their assets,” said Marlow Knabach, Executive VP, National Engineering, DMG MORI USA. “To start the conversation, exhibitors in the Metal Cutting Pavilion at IMTS will demonstrate smart machines with the ability to monitor critical elements, such as spindle bearing temperature, spindle vibration, ball screw temperature, coolant level and tool wear to identify potential sources of downtime before they occur.”

Cutting Pavilion exhibitors will help them develop new strategies for more efficient part manufacturing,” says Peter R. Eelman, Vice President – Exhibitions & Business Development at AMT – The Association For Manufacturing Technology, which owns and produces IMTS.

In addition to connectivity, Eelman says that technology highlights from the exhibitors include more collaboration between CNC and automation providers, more process integration to create multi-tasking machines and more powerful software and user-friendly CNC controls.

Achieving overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) rates greater than 80% in machine shops is a greater challenge compared to higher volume manufacturing. Traditionally, machine shops could not take advantage of software-based systems for automation and process monitoring or Ethernet-based communication protocols because the cost and complexity were too prohibitive.

“Communication protocols and software-based systems process monitoring enable considerable cost and time reductions in total system operation,” said Paul Gray, Ph.D., Manager for Path Planning, Front-end Design and R&D at Hurco. “Smaller machine shops and those with high mix, low volume parts who attend IMTS 2018 will find that the benefits of intelligent machining and automation are within their reach.”

Knabach added that, “The return on investment for machine monitoring is so pronounced that I would challenge anyone if they could not obtain a return on investment within one year.” ROI happens quickly because monitoring usually reveals an OEE much lower than expected. “Understanding utilisation rates, causes of common alarms and premature tool wear and so much more are available with a connection, especially since the growth of devices compliant with the MTConnect standard.” 

Eelman noted that staying current with new metal cutting technology will have a much broader focus at IMTS 2018. “The CNC still forms the heart of machining, but users that want high utilisation rates will evaluate CNCs in the context of a digitally connected production cell that includes automation, CMMs, enterprise systems and other devices. With the Metal Cutting Pavilion and nine other technology pavilions at IMTS 2018, visitors have an unmatched opportunity to evaluate all these new technologies in one place.”

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