Modern – more modern – retrofit with Sinumerik One

The whole purpose of a retrofit is to innovate but not sacrifice what has already been tried and tested. The jump to leading-edge technology is not a given – but certainly possible!

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Better than new

When RSV Service GmbH carries out a retrofit, the machine user gets a machine that is as good as new, but which retains the familiar hardware and proven attributes. This is what Eugen Forschner GmbH experienced as supplier to the automotive industry: RSV dismantled their Index G200, which had been in service for 18 years, down to the last screw. Everything that could be renewed was renewed – including new drives and Sinumerik One. With the digital twin, this latest CNC system from Siemens links the real and virtual worlds – both when it comes to machine tool engineering as well as in operation. It should therefore be of no surprise that Forschner always talks about their "new machine" – as if it were a brand new machine and not a retrofit. The 12-axis turning-milling center, equipped with two main spindles and two turrets, was recommissioned back in June 2021 at Forschner's Mahlstetten facility.

State-of-the-art technology in the old machine frame

"There are several reasons why we recently equipped our retrofit machines with Sinumerik One: firstly, our engineering department switched over to the TIA Portal," explained Dominic Rieker, Team Leader of RSV's electrical department. This platform seamlessly links hardware, software and services, therefore facilitating truly holistic engineering from the mechanical construction through the electrical design up to the automation. "Secondly, we have used the new Simotics 1FK2 motors, whose safety protocol requires Sinumerik One," continued Rieker. "And last but not least, we have completely revised our machine operating concept." Regarding the latter, when using Sinumerik Operate, the options and degree of flexibility available for HMI user interfaces are enormous. As a result of the lower workload during the Covid pandemic, we siezed the opportunity to take our ideas that had been incubating for some time and implemented our own operating concept. 

"With Sinumerik One, we have completely revised our machine operating concept."
Domenik Riecker, Team Leader Electrics at RSV

High degree of flexibility when filtering and displaying really important information 

"When one considers the wealth of information that is available, it is becoming increasingly important to filter out what is really relevant for the specific application and to provide this to users in a transparent fashion," explained Rieker. Using Sinumerik Integrate /Run MyScreens, the RSV team now has the possibility of collating all the information on a user-for-user basis and structuring it according to topics. This is then visually supported using graphics to create a customized solution. Information from IO-Link sensors, which RSV is increasingly using, can now also be transparently displayed. This smart data is output on a 24-inch touchscreen, which allows sufficient space for the monitor to be split into several display areas.

Highly utilized and productive machine

Forschner fabricates anchor guides on the Index G200 for a client from the automotive industry – in unit quantities that range from 20,000 up to 25,000 parts per week. These core elements of shock absorbers are quite complex, and are not simply turned from bar material. Instead, they are fabricated from blanks that are fed in and removed in a clocked workflow. The machine essentially runs continuously in three shift operation six days a week and fabricates up to 50 parts without any contact. For the retrofit, the opportunity was taken to implement special versions regarding the automation. 

RSV designed and mounted a feeder mechanism and redesigned the discharge belt so that the parts are subject to less wear as they are removed from the machine. 

Customizable user interfaces

The user interface is equipped with additional hotkeys and operating elements for the automation. This also includes a function, which at the press of a button, allows a part to be removed for measuring. The belt then automatically cycles forward, outputs the part and the process continues to run normally.

 

"With Sinumerik One and the new operating concept, we were able to coordinate the user interface in detail with the Forschner team," explained Rieker. Philipp Reichmann, Group Leader in Forschner for the anchor guide and short part turning confirmed: "Everything has been precisely adapted, and the hotkeys are assigned exactly as we want them to be."

Extensive experience gained over generations of CNCs

Presently, machines with various generations of Sinumerik are operational in Forschner's department responsible for precision turned parts: "We have the complete range, from the first C control system up to the current Sinumerik One. Knowing this, I was not surprised that all our machine operators felt really at home with the 'new' system," explained Philipp Reichmann. In large series production, which runs on the revamped Index C200, the focus is on good handling, reliability and a high degree of availability. "Since we are familiar with the different Sinumerik generations running on our machines, we are already looking forward to fully testing and leveraging the possibilities of Sinumerik One on an application where more has to be programmed at the machine," stated Reichmann.

Digitalizing step-by-step

As of August 2021, RSV has supplied a total of four machines equipped with Sinumerik One. "Up until now, we have mainly used Create MyVirtual Machine – the digital twin for engineering – to implement our new operating concept," summarized Rieker. "The work of our development team was simplified to some extent as we were able to see just how the user interfaces act and how they can be used. This gave us a real sense of what was to come in the next steps." 

The work of our development team was simplified to some extent as we were able to see just how the user interfaces act and how they can be used.
Domenik Riecker, Team Leader Electrics at RSV

In the future, the digital twin is to be used wherever significant changes are expected, for example, to test newly developed NC cycles at any virtual machine or to simulate PLC programming. As soon as Create MyVirtual Machine has fully established itself – then according to Rieker – the time will have come to implement Run MyVirtual Machine: "We will then also provide our machine users with the digital twin."

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