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Siemens Advances Digital Twin Technology for Machining

Bruce Morey
By Bruce Morey Senior Technical Editor, SME Media
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The Siemens SINUMERIK ONE control system has built-in digitalization from the very start, giving machine manufacturers and operators the option of developing their own products in a purely virtual environment. (Provided by Siemens)

On October 15, 2020, in its virtual Siemens Machine Tool Days 2020 event the company proved in many ways the power of what it calls ‘digitalization’ in the emerging life of manufacturing. It used the event to reinforce its commitment to providing tools for manufacturers via its Sinumerik One controller platform to create digital twins.

Creating a tool chain for a more complete digital twin has been the goal for Siemens in recent years. Starting with its acquisition of the UGS NX PLM platform, the predecessor to the current Siemens Digital Industries Software division, it added through acquisition electronics simulation with Mentor Graphics and ease of use with the low-code developer Mendix. The new additional capability builds on Siemens Sinumerik One platform, which provides the tools for digital twinning CNC machinery and manufacturing processes.

With the release of its software version NCU-SW 6.14, Siemens is launching three technology packages exclusively for the CNC Sinumerik One: One Dynamics Operate, One Dynamics 3-axis milling and One Dynamics 5-axis milling. The new software functions contained in the technology packages support users from machine-oriented programming in the jobshop to high-performance machining of CAD-CAM-programmed workpieces with high surface quality, according to Siemens.

The company noted that with a few exceptions, the functions of Sinumerik One Dynamics do not require any commissioning effort on the part of the machine builder. Once activated, they are available to the operator for immediate use on the machine. Since they are software functions of the CNC control, no intervention in the machine or machine mechanics is required. For users who have particularly challenging requirements in terms of machining quality and speed, the machine builder can add further optional CNC functions of Sinumerik that go beyond the Sinumerik One Dynamics packages. These additional functions must then be activated and parameterized by the machine builder for the operator's individual machine and adapted to the machine statics and dynamics.

Siemens also announced new features for its Sinumerik Edge application. The Analyze MyMachine /Condition is now extended with a corresponding Mindsphere application and demonstrating how edge computing and cloud computing can be combined. The Sinumerik Edge Application Analyze MyMachine /Condition, which the company presented last year at the EMO, uses high-frequency CNC data to create the mechanical fingerprint of a machine tool. In the application, users can capture and evaluate various parameters such as stiffness, friction, and backlash in the individual axes with the help of flexibly configurable measurement series. The measurement results can then be visualized and compared with reference data.

The new complementary Mindsphere application to Analyze MyMachine /Condition now allows cross-machine comparisons and evaluations. Warning and service thresholds can be visualized individually for each asset and the states of several machines can be monitored and visualized over a longer period of time. This allows users to detect deviations over a longer period of time.

Both of these functions extends the ability of the Siemens Sinumerik One platform to create digital twins, especially while still in the concept stage. By building a virtual machine ahead of time, programmers can start to build routines for parts well before the physical machine is available. In the CNC world, machines are expensive and risk is high, so buyers and sellers evaluating a virtual machine prior to start of build reduces that risk for both. “Digital twin converts what was once a sequential process into a parallel path process, and can reduce commissioning time by 50%,” said Brian McMinn Machine Tool Systems - Business Segment Manager for Siemens in the online event.

For further information regarding Siemens Machine Tool Days 2020, please see usa.siemens.com/smtd-pr 

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