Real-time machine tool data collection isn’t just about helping manufacturers improve productivity and profitability, although that’s certainly a promised outcome.
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Automatic parallel parking, lane-keeping assistance, sensor-enabled maintenance, infotainment equipment and other advanced electronics are helping many automotive manufacturers differentiate their vehicles in a fiercely competitive, global marketplace.
To stay ahead in the game, manufacturers constantly seek an edge over the competition. With today’s CAD/CAM software, the builders of aircraft, automobiles and other complicated systems get the innovative programming tools needed to coax the most performance from complex, expensive machine tools.
Q&A with Chad Stoecker, leader at Managed Services GE Digital, IPRC in Lisle, Illinois.
Moldmaking is making a comeback, with more reshoring to North America of mold-and-die manufacturing that left for the Far East and other low-cost manufacturing centers. With faster metalcutting through high-speed machining (HSM) and improved EDM techniques, mold-and-die shops are finding innovative ways to compete with manufacturing operations in traditionally low-cost labor markets.
Smarter factory systems connected via the cloud are the grand vision offered for the future factories that will fully leverage the best available tools from automation, software and machine tool builders.
There have been many process improvement trends in manufacturing over the decades, and none have had more significant ROI than machine monitoring. The increase in machine monitoring is owed in large part to the rise in popularity of the open and royalty-free interconnectivity standard MTConnect.
Speeding up programming tasks on CAD/CAM software ranks at the top of machine shops’ requirements when faced with making quality parts on a deadline. The more efficient a shop’s toolpaths are, the less chance that any programming problems result in wasting very expensive machine time on the shop floor.
An early pioneer in the fields of NC and CAD/CAM software, Patrick J. Hanratty, PhD, discovered his passion for computing and programming almost by accident, answering a newspaper ad seeking programmers in his hometown of San Diego after returning from service in the Air Force during the Korean War.
Highly realistic 3-D simulation software can greatly improve manufacturing processes, lending sophisticated visualization tools that help increase manufacturing productivity and product quality.