A Win-Win Situation: This machine tool builder uses the same CNC and remote monitoring on all of the turning, grinding and turn/grind machine tools it sells to a major agricultural equipment manufacturer, resulting in substantial savings for both the customer and the supplier.
EMAG LLC (Farmington Hills, MI) is the U.S. subsidiary of a major German machine tool builder who specializes in machine tools for the production of motorcycle, off-highway and earthmoving, agricultural, oilfield and automotive components, including the subsequent leading TIER1 suppliers. This machine builder has had a presence in the American market for over 20 years.
The equipment they manufacture ranges from basic round part turning centers to large workpiece, five-axis machining centers, gear hobbing machines and alternative machinery such as laser welding and electro-chemical machining centers.
This wide variety of machine tools requires an assortment of control technologies to power and manage the motion. For example, when one recent customer requirement for EMAG involved a major agricultural equipment builder that needed a variety of grinding, turning and turn-grind machines, the company looked to its longtime partner, Siemens Industry (Elk Grove Village, IL), for a standardized CNC solution.
Peter Loetzner, the chief executive officer of EMAG, puts it simply: “We needed to devise a single control solution that would satisfy all the needs of the various machines we were supplying to this demanding customer . . . a single control solution based upon a common platform that would enable easier design, integration, start-up, commissioning on-site and training for our customer’s operations and maintenance personnel.”
After reviewing the entire line of CNC offerings from various suppliers, the decision was made to use the Siemens Sinumerik 840D CNC for all of the grinding, turning and turn-grind machines to be supplied. Loetzner explains how collaboration was a key element here in the decision-making process. “The control we selected offered great flexibility in application, which was very important to both us and our customer. They were seeking a scenario that would allow considerable cross-training of their operators, who might run a turning center one day, then a grinding or turn-grind center the next.”
Loetzner further notes that the control chosen offered his machine designers and the customer’s production management team an enhanced remote monitoring feature so that changes could be made on the fly with very little downtime. As a result, over 20 machines of various sizes and styles can be monitored over a wireless network, enabling process engineers to see what the operator sees on each machine.
Furthermore, owing to the global capabilities of Siemens, Loetzner commented on the control’s ability to function in U.S., German and even Asian factories with seamless data integration. Regardless of the machine tool’s location, EMAG and its customer are able to monitor the performance of any particular machine and even report comparative production data from one continent to another.
Because it sells into every industrialized nation, EMAG “. . . works with its customers on every aspect of a job, from the order process to tooling usage, materials handling strategies to predictive maintenance,” explains Loetzner. “The cultural differences are sometimes substantial and the control must be programmed to adapt to such variations. We have been most satisfied with the worldwide help Siemens has provided to us in this area.”
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