The first step to optimizing manufacturing and job shop efficiency starts with a visit to the Controls & CAD-CAM Pavilion at IMTS 2022, where exhibitors such as Autodesk, ESPRIT, Dassault Systemes, HEIDENHAIN, Mastercam, and more will showcase new digital twin and virtual solutions. Other new product launches include machine and enterprise-wide monitoring software to identify bottlenecks and increase OEE, ERP systems that can reduce setup time and increase employee productivity, cybersecurity preparedness solutions, and advanced estimating and quoting software that enables job shops to respond to RFQs in hours, not days.
“We have experienced a seismic shift in the democratization of digital manufacturing technologies designed for job shop use to increase CNC and 3D printer productivity,” says Peter R. Eelman, chief experience officer at AMT – The Association For Manufacturing Technology. AMT owns and produces IMTS, which runs Sept. 12-17 at Chicago’s McCormick Place. “These digital solutions come at a time when industry needs to harness every efficiency it can to combat labor issues and keep up with growing demand, as proven by the 30% year-over-year increase in U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders.”
Accurate Simulation, Asset Management
“Digital twins capture data and provide critical information needed to make decisions early in the process, long before they become expensive,” says Rob Walker, manager of technical marketing for manufacturing at Autodesk (booth #133310). “Digital twin technology is all-encompassing, from running simulated toolpaths with automatic collision avoidance, to checking if new capital equipment will efficiently fit within a facility.”
At IMTS 2022, the company will showcase a new machine simulation feature for Autodesk Fusion 360. Simulation-ready machines have fully defined solid model kinematics alongside a linked machine simulation-ready post-processor. Autodesk has been working with companies such as Haas (booth #338100), Hurco (booth #338319), and Mazak (booth #338300) to build out its machine library. The goal is to enable Fusion 360 users to import a digital twin of popular machines using Autodesk’s standard drop-down menus.
“Digital twin technology makes it easier to implement 5-axis CNCs and other more advanced machines on the shop floor,” says Chuck Matthews, product manager of production software, Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence (Hexagon acquired ESPRIT (booth #133210) last year). “With the state of the industry today, users no longer struggle to get a good post-processor in combination with a virtual machine. Digital twins help companies obtain the full productivity benefits of their advanced machine in weeks instead of months.”
At IMTS, ESPRIT/Hexagon will demonstrate how to improve OEE with connected software solutions as part of Hexagon’s cloud-based SFx Asset Management application, which now also records CNC machine tool operating data so that teams can analyze and mitigate downtime.
“You can’t run a business efficiently relying on raw emotions or gut instincts,” adds Gisbert Ledvon, director of business development – machine tool at HEIDENHAIN (booth #135716). “Data really opens people’s eyes. The before-and-after situation when installing a monitoring solution follows a familiar pattern. People think they’re running at 70% efficiency because the spindle is spinning, but data proves that the machine is cutting 40% of the time. When management can see the bottlenecks, it gives them confidence to execute changes.”
To help companies both large and small view and analyze machine data, HEIDENHAIN will premiere its PlantMonitor digital solution at IMTS 2022, as well as their new TNC7 control. This software umbrella, which connects machine tools where at least one is equipped with a TNC control and the company’s StateMonitor software combination, makes the entire production environment transparent to users.
“Advanced digital manufacturing technology is no longer the realm of engineers and IT departments,” says AMT’s Eelman. “Over the last four years, exhibitors have harnessed the increase in processing speed to create a better user experience. Powerful software is now as easy to implement as your preferred CAD-CAM program.”
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