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Machine Tool 4.0 as the Basis of Successful Digitization

By Rolf Kettemer Head Software Solution DM Pfronten, Deckel Maho Pfronten

Digitization of industry has become an established global trend. Despite all the enthusiasm of visionaries, the machine tool is, was and will remain the core element in production. DMG Mori is well aware of its responsibility in this respect, and together with customers and partners it is developing digital solutions for the machining of today for tomorrow. The aim is to actively shape the digital transformation with a high degree of customer orientation and individuality.

What is needed to achieve this is an in-depth analysis of the respective baseline situation and an evolution that is both targeted and consistent and that is also in line with the possibilities of each individual company.

DMG Mori is working to provide intelligence at the machine and in its environment that can be integrated “bottom-up” with high-level systems to generate added value for the customer: The firm’s Control Efficiency Lead Operation System (CELOS) has application functionality that promotes man-machine interaction while supporting the operator in optimizing workflows and machining processes.

An example: The CELOS Condition Analyzer app, in conjunction with an I4.0 sensor pack, provides the user with a suitable software tool for monitoring machine condition and machining process. Also, the data gathered by the sensors and locally conditioned can be forwarded to a cloud platform. Here, decisive knowledge for a reliable “predictive maintenance” solution can be derived using an algorithm-based long-term evaluation.

The “machine tool 4.0” innovation project, which DMG Mori initiated in conjunction with INA Schaeffler and other partners last year, shows how these digitization options can be specifically implemented in practice.

More than 60 additional sensors have been incorporated on critical components of a Deckel Maho Pfronten DMC 80 FD milling-turning center. The corresponding machine tool 4.0 prototype has been working since October 2015 in the precision soft machining of large, customer-specific roller bearing rings in Schaeffler’s Höchstadt plant. Since then, the machine has been continuously transmitting data on vibrations, forces and temperatures to the cloud.

The project focuses on the question of how productivity, quality, delivery reliability and user-friendliness can be increased by means of digitization in a factory of the future. Here, bearings and guideways in machine tools play a crucial role: They are essential for the functionality of the machine and the quality of the workpiece.

The basic expectations are focused on current studies. For example, based on the latest studies, the World Economic Forum and the consultancy Accenture assume that 12% of all planned repairs can be saved by predictive maintenance. The maintenance costs are expected to reduce by almost 30%. The study also predicts a decrease of up to 70% in unexpected downtimes.

Translated to the machine tool 4.0 innovation project, changes in the vibration behavior are to be determined by means of vibration sensors in the linear guides, thus enabling lubrication to be carried out as required. Based on the data, it will also be possible to determine the remaining life of components, to optimize machining processes depending on load, or to control them according to different priorities.

It is too early for a final summary. Big Data means mass data, and Big Data analytics, to which predictive maintenance methods also belong, needs this mass data over a longer period of time. Consequently, this is the only way that specific information can be derived, and targeted responses initiated with the help of successively adapted behavior patterns and correspondingly improved algorithms.Results so far are very promising.

The “machine tool 4.0” is an innovation project with long-term effect and extreme future potential. But above all, the “intelligent” DMC 80 FD duoBlock is a unique example of how qualitative and monetary added value for the customer can be implemented based on the symbiosis of mechanics, electronics and information technology.

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