Industry 4.0: Intelligent manufacturing and process control in CNC machining industries


‘Industry 4.0’, ‘the industrial internet
of things’, ‘IIOT’ and ‘connectivity’ are widely used buzzwords throughout manufacturing.
Now, they’ve been around for a few years, nobody really knew what they meant – we’re
now starting to focus more directly on what they mean in a CNC manufacturing environment,
and it’s all about connectivity of your machines, talking to each other… it’s
all about smart factories, it’s about intelligent processes and providing data to allow manufacturers
to improve their productivity. At Renishaw, we recognise the importance of
making measurements throughout the manufacturing process chain. It’s not enough simply to
measure the output of all your machining processes (as in tailgate inspection). You need to be
making measurements before you start machining, to understand the performance of the machine..
as you’re setting up the machine, and during the machining process to capture all the sources
of variation. So, tailgate measurement is often too late
and insufficient to address all those sources of variation and making these measurement
steps all the way through are absolutely key to keeping processes on track. And, in the
future it means you’ve got full traceability and history of a part as it’s gone through
the factory. Industry 4.0, IIOT, predictive analytics,
all these buzzwords that you hear about, they’re all reliant on one fundamental building block
and that’s data. So, getting the data on the shop floor is going to be absolutely critical
going forward. Renishaw devices have always produced data – but, we’ve tended to use
that data on the machine, near the machine, or on the CMM.
Our new system that we have developed ‘Renishaw Central’, is a new software ecosystem and
architecture that allows our customers to gather data from Renishaw devices, whether
that’s our Equator™ gauging systems or CMM probing systems, data coming back from
our machine tool probing systems, so we can now get all the data from the whole manufacturing
process chain in one place to allow our customers to easily analyse what’s going on in the
factory. Renishaw offer a unique breadth of technologies
that can be applied throughout the manufacturing process chain. So, we offer systems for machine
calibration and machine assessment. We offer on-machine probing systems to assist in machine
set-up, part set-up, tool set-up. And, on machine probing systems are then used throughout
the day to cope with variation that occurs in real life such as tool wear, part deflection,
cutter deflection and thermal drift to make sure processes stay on track without the need
for significant amounts of manual intervention. We also offer near machine gauging systems
that are used near CNC machining processes for validation of a process, so all the machining
steps have been completed correctly, but also for process control; automatically talking
back to the CNC controllers and keeping the process on track.
Then finally our CMM probing systems are used for final part verification which is mandatory
in many industries; offer unprecedented speed, and multi-sensor capabilities to allow measurements
to be made on a single platform. So, Renishaw has been supporting automation
and process control within the CNC manufacturing industry for over 45 years, and we’ve actually
been using those products in our own factories and supporting key customers globally, over
that period of time. So, if you’re interested in improving your manufacturing operations
through the integration of Renishaw technology; subscribe to our channel, visit our website,
or contact one of your local offices where we have experts in manufacturing and process
control will be happy to help.

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