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Taking a Virtual Factory Approach in New Tooling Management Systems for the IIoT

Pat Waurzyniak
By Patrick Waurzyniak Contributing Editor, SME Media
Daniel Speidel
Director of Sales, North America
TDM Systems Inc. (Schaumburg, IL)

Manufacturing Engineering: What’s new with your company’s tool management software?

Daniel Speidel: 2017 will be an historic time for TDM Systems. We have released our next generation of products that includes two product areas of our software portfolio—standard server/client TDM with TDM 2017 and a new flagship cloud-based software, Global Line. These products will be developed in parallel so whatever developments are made in Global Line will also be available in TDM 2017. This was our strategy to support our existing customer base, and give ground-breaking technology advances to new customers. These product lines will be developed in parallel for some time. We have enhanced our standard TDM 2017 server/client software with a new look and feel, along with many internal advances. TDM has developed an advanced mapping engine [AME] for CAM systems. AME provides the CAM system with program-ready tooling graphics in the specific orientation and format of that particular CAM system, along with tool definition parameters and speed and feed data.

Our totally new software platform is called Global Line, which is a multitier cloud-based application. Its first release will include standard TDM functionality regarding component, tool assemblies, a list of tools for an NC program and graphical information, as well as completely new modules for commodity management with TDM Flex Crib. TDM Flex Crib creates a virtual factory that allows you to manage the inventory in the toolcrib, and to see where your inventory is being used in the plant or at a specific machine. TDM Global Line will also include what we call MPC [Machine Process Control], a machine tool dashboard showing all of the connected machines and what job and tools are currently at the machine. A connection to the machine also indicates what tools are currently in use and tracks the tool life of tools. There is a red, yellow, and green indicator for graphical feedback on what tool life is remaining on the tool. This will allow for replenishment orders to be sent to the crib to assemble and, where possible, preset the tooling to ensure precision replacements. The idea is to keep production running and increase your total Overall Equipment Effectiveness [OEE].

New cloud-based TDM Global Line software offers users easy access via the cloud to critical tooling and manufacturing data for improving machining processes. (Image courtesy TDM Systems)

ME: How has manufacturing’s move toward Industry 4.0/Smart Manufacturing affected tool management?

Speidel: TDM Systems has been working towards this for a long time. TDM has always tried to convert our customers and prospects about the digital movement and its benefits. Now it has become a mainstream concept to handle tooling data digitally. We have seen an increase in companies researching what technology is on the market to help them become a smart factory. TDM has been a leader in this movement for about 27 years and renewing our software solutions as technology advances. Tool management now is about transparency, not only in tooling stock, but more about capturing process data. This is why our strategy was to address the ‘Tool Lifecycle Management’ concept. TDM Systems brought Tool Lifecycle Management to a new level. Internet of Things [IoT], Smart Factory and Industry 4.0 demand data exchange throughout the whole company from planning all the way through the manufacturing processes.
TDM’s next-generation solution addresses the fact that there are still many systems that need to be connected, or at least to share data. TDM offers direct connection and interfaces to ERP, MES, CAM, tool presetters, vertical storage systems, and machine tools, and ensures that communication and data exchange pathways are not broken, but are harmonized.

ME: How critical is using advanced manufacturing tooling techniques for managing tooling today?

Speidel: It is very critical. Manufacturing processes are the company’s intellectual property. The problem typically was where do they store that information? We have seen it in many systems, and as ‘tribal knowledge’ that is not digitally stored, or shared anywhere. We see that today, it is not what tool you are using but how you adopt the new programming processes, and new tooling geometry or cutting advantages. With TDM, you can capture all of the digital process intent from programming and can monitor and advance the processes in production. This helps companies identify the best tool and process for a specific application, and be able to share that knowledge [IP] with the whole company. This is very important when you consider international companies that in the past have ‘re-invented the wheel’ every time. TDM software is the vehicle needed to capture and share these new techniques.

ME: What are some advantages with linking tooling management systems with CAD/CAM, ERP and PLM?

Speidel: Today system integrations are more important than ever before. In the past and unfortunately still today, these systems are their own silo of information. Consider that with TDM, you can have one central data point that all of these systems can either have a direct connection to or an online interface to the same information. This provides data integrity, reduction of efforts and total transparency. Direct access to tool data and graphics supports the tool selection in NC programming. Tools also can be selected in TDM by tool class/group or machining process in TDM and be sent via the AME to the NC program. Users also have access to geometry data, 2D and 3D graphics of assemblies, feeds and speeds and collision data. When the NC program is completed, the tooling used in the program is saved in TDM. This allows the crib to assemble, preset and deliver the tooling to the machine as the programmers intended.

ME: How is the industry progressing toward adopting the latest tooling standards like the ISO 13399?

Speidel: Regarding tooling manufacturers, a standard like this is something that is up to each of them to decide to adopt. We have seen more customer demand for it, and as more customers demand information in a standard format the more tooling vendors adopt. We can see that this movement has been adopted by many companies, and have populated data on the machining cloud, or offer information in that format from their web site or digital catalogs. TDM supports this effort, and are TAG [Technical Advisory Group] members of the MTConnect committee that develops this standard. TDM can integrate catalogs from tool manufacturers according to ISO 13399 and GTC structure. The tool data from these catalogs can be managed in TDM.

ME: How much progress has there been on tooling standardization efforts, like those of MachiningCloud, and NTB’s work with Siemens, Sandvik, Iscar and Kennametal on the Generic Tool Catalog [GTC]?

Speidel: We see efforts in the digital space. TDM Systems is following the definitions regarding GTC, as these companies are advancing.


Networking equipment giant Cisco Systems Inc. (San Jose, CA) announced its intention to acquire AppDynamics Inc. (San Francisco), a privately held application intelligence software developer, for a purchase price of approximately $3.7 billion in cash and assumed equity awards. AppDynamics’ cloud application and business monitoring platform helps companies improve application and business performance.

“Applications have become the lifeblood of a company’s success. Keeping those apps running and performing well has never been more important. Unfortunately, that job has only gotten harder, as IT departments and developers struggle with a tangled web of disconnected, complex data that’s hard to understand,” said Rowan Trollope, Cisco senior vice president and general manager of Cisco’s Internet of Things and Applications Business Group. AppDynamics will be led by its CEO David Wadhwani as a new software business unit in Cisco’s IoT and Applications business, reporting to Trollope.

New Releases

The new Parsec TrakSys OEE Performance Management solution puts real-time OEE data at manufacturers’ fingertips, helping to improve factory operational efficiencies.
(Photo courtesy Parsec Automation)

Manufacturing operations software developer Parsec Automation Corp. (Anaheim, CA) has launched its new real-time Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) Performance Management solution. Built on the company’s modular manufacturing management software platform, TrakSYS, the new OEE solution gives manufacturers the ability to monitor, measure and improve factory-floor operations.

TrakSYS is an integrated platform that contains all of the functionality of a full manufacturing execution system (MES) in one package. The modular nature of the software brings complete flexibility to deploy only the functions that are required, without a major software upgrade. Its business solutions include OEE, SPC, e-records, maintenance, traceability, workflow, batch processing, sustainability, labor, and more.

Software Update is edited by Senior Editor Patrick Waurzyniak.

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