Monday, September 16, 2013

The digital factory is now a viable application

SPRING Technologies has been talking it up for so long that we have been entitled to wonder whether it would ever actually happen. However, the digital factory is now firmly within reach, crowning the joint efforts of SPRING, the software developer, Panasonic and Fanuc. Tomorrow’s factory operative / NC operators may yet end up looking like he walked straight out of “Minority Report".

A Fanuc Series 31i-Model B5 machine tool interacting with a Panasonic FZ-G1 touch tablet via a SPRING Technologies NC software solution: the trade show at Le Bourget provided the backdrop against which SPRING offered stunned audiences a foretaste of the potent combination.

Imagine the scenario: a single operator, tablet in hand, capable of controlling several machine-tools at once, fully aware of when, where and how to act… with nothing more than the full power of applied IT. An application that is on the verge of becoming a reality: operators on very large machines will soon see their daily lives made so much easier by the potential of this exciting new concept

“Real machining and simulation in synergy”

The trio’s technical achievement (SPRING, FANUC and Panasonic) is summed up by the slogan "What you see is what you cut"! The concept displays on a rugged tablet screen a true-to-life digital view of what is happening on the machine as the CNC program is being effectively executed in real time. The synergy between the on-screen simulation and the machining reality is such that both start and stop at the same time just as the machine starts and stops, whether the decisions are made automatically or manually, from the CNC or from the tablet. To put the icing on the cake, all data generated by the ongoing machining operation is automatically recorded in a single file. This is why the three partner companies have successfully managed to make their carefully selected products work together. Panasonic brings the FZ-G1 touch tablet, complete with state-of-the-art functionality: fully-rugged, running Windows 8 Pro, it has a sunlight-viewable IPS screen developed by Panasonic, with ten-point multi-touch technology, a digitizer and configurable ports. From Fanuc comes the CNC Series 31i-Model B5 with nanometer-precise resolution and high-speed machining, 100Mbit Ethernet communication and malware protection. Finally, SPRING Technologies supplies two modules, NC Simul Player 9 and NC Doc, which respectively deliver realistic 3D simulation, synchronized with the CNC machine, and a technical data editing and publishing capability.

The trio’s next goal is for the system to control a complete robotic cell. All three partners currently have the necessary technology in production. The first live demo on a working machine is scheduled for EMO: an "NCExperience" you will not want to miss!

For the complete story in French click here

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