Intelligent tool and NC program management

If you reflect on how much time you waste searching for the right tool or that an estimated 15% of tools are floating somewhere around the company undocumented, then transparent and intelligent management of these valuable production resources has a high relevance when it comes to optimizing strategies. The same essentially applies when correctly providing and managing NC programs. Do you want to learn more about how you can optimally manage resources in your production environment? 

Application examples

How can manufacturing resources be intelligently and easily managed?

Based on six examples from everyday tasks, you can identify typical sources of error and delays in your workflow. The good news is that these can all be avoided. Smart manufacturing resource management in job planning, tools and NC programs can be smoothly assigned to one another. Workflows in machining environments are optimized, tool circulation and tool inventory are efficiently organized.

Are certain tools scarce? Are there too many expensive, special tools in the tool inventory? Is it unclear where and which tool adapters and tools are located? Are tool data inconsistent or not available at every location in the tool circulation?

 

Tools and tool components are resources where it is crucial to have a complete overview in job planning. To plan resources, consistent data over the tool lifecycle are required so that you always know how many duplicates of a specific tool type there are, their location and their condition. A central overview helps to keep track of stock inventories to avoid overstocking as well as understocking. This reduces tool costs. Digital master data of components and complete tools form the basis of a tool management system that helps reduce equipping times.

Do machine operators first have to search for the required tools? Is this why an inventory of tools is kept directly at the machines? When determining the tool requirement for a specific job it is unclear which tools are presently at which machine? Are tool buffers maintained in order to ensure that the required tools are provided on time?

 

Tool management software supports efficient planning of tool requirements. The generated tool plan determines which tools are already in the production environment. By directly accessing machine data, tool requirements can be simply and precisely determined. Tools that are still required can be prepared in time – and not just when it is first identified that they are missing at the machine. Comprehensive planning of the tool requirements cuts down on work steps and walking distances for the machine operators. Stress and non-productive times are reduced.

Does tool preparation take longer? Do the required components first have to be located? Does tool data first have to be manually transferred between various systems? Do errors occur when entering tool compensation data?

 

Digital tool management supports job planning as all the information required for tool assembly is available. After measuring the tools on a tool presetting device, tool compensation data can be saved to the software. The data are automatically transferred to the machine control system as soon as the assembled tool is assigned a CNC machining center. Tool compensation data and the tool are firmly linked, which eliminates the need for manual entries and avoids errors and quality issues.

Does it take a long time to equip machines, especially if several tools have to be loaded or unloaded? Does tool data have to be manually entered into the machine control system? Does this result in errors?

 

Using a transfer list, all tools to be loaded can be simultaneously selected at the user interface and then loaded. A transfer list can also save a considerable amount of time when unloading. Actual tool locations are automatically refreshed in the application. Compensation data linked with the tool are automatically transferred to the machine. As a consequence, the risk of manually entering incorrect data is avoided – which in the worst case scenario can result in quality issues.

Do NC programs generated in CAM systems still have to be manually "brought" to the machine using data media? Does the production environment still depend on a paper trail? Is there no overview of the existing NC programs? Do workpiece variants represent a challenge when managing different NC codes? Is it unknown in job planning which programs are available on which machines – and what program modifications were made?

 

NC code should be seen as a valuable resource. A lot of know-how goes into designing a product until it is ready for production. The optimization that CAM programmers and machining experts undertake represents a real value added. This valuable production resource can be transparently managed using program management software – including revision monitoring. A bidirectional connection is created between the control system and the IT environment. This not only ensures secure and efficient transfer of NC programs, but also feedback about any changes made. Further, using APIs, NC program packages can be linked with a PLM system for example to ensure seamless data consistency.

Is it uncertain just how long tools can still be used on a machine? Once a tool is worn, is a search first required for a suitable replacement? Are replacement tools not available on time, which in turn disrupts production? Are the assumptions regarding tool lifetimes correct? What is the ratio between machining and non-productive times? How do which tools behave with which machining strategies?

 

With production in full swing, it must be ensured that tools are changed on time. Otherwise, in the worst case scenario, machines can grind to a halt – incurring high costs and jeopardizing delivery dates. Tool monitoring based on real data from the control system means that machine operators always have an overview of the condition of all their tools in the production landscape. If tools have to be replaced, this can be quickly and efficiently done using the user dialog integrated in the control system and the automatic data transfer functionality.

Further, a tool management system integrated in machine control systems means that data for each tool is automatically captured. This includes when this tool was transferred to the machine, when it was loaded into the spindle, which active NC program was used and how much machining and non-productive times are involved when machining. Tool management makes tool usage transparent and understandable, know-how about the behavior of certain tools increases – an optimization loop can start. The more know-how that a company captures about its tools used, the better these can be utilized.

Our solution

Our central resource management system Manage MyResources helps to boost efficiency in production and smartly prepare production orders. Transparently managing all tools and NC programs based on a seamless database is an important step when it comes to optimizing processes. The solution can be perfectly integrated into evolving digitalization concepts as it is deeply integrated in the control system and can be flexibly integrated in existing IT system landscapes.

Additional information about Manage MyResources

You can find video webinars on how to install, configure and use Manage MyResources apps as well as the associated SINUMERIK Integrate server in the CNC4YOU Portal. Subscribe to the CNC4you Newsletter to always keep up-to-date.

Download

Read the technical article on resource management

After identifying the challenges when it comes to resource management would you like to read about this in an in-depth technical article? Register here and receive a free-of-charge digital special print in English "Cutting stress in production environments – with digital solutions from Siemens which optimize manufacturing resource management" which was published in the German periodical NC FERTIGUNG Edition 1-2/2022.

What are the advantages of intelligent tool and program management?

Factory wide tool and NC program management allows you to network your production resources and to benefit from a centralized management of your processes and production data. Efficiency of equipping processes can be significantly increased and smooth production workflows ensured with an optimized tool and program management that leverages real data from the machine tool.

Any questions?

Your individual topic

Do you have a specific topic or issue that you cannot be addressed through our website? We will be happy to answer your individual questions.