Zoller Inc. (Ann Arbor, MI) held its’ first Oktoberfest Technology Day at the company’s North American headquarters on Thursday, Oct. 18. The event included a live demonstration of Zoller’s networked solutions, from programming and tool management to presetting, data transfer and production, along with an introduction and demo of Zoller’s range of smart storage solutions.
Mike Colyer, regional sales manager for Zoller, demonstrated the company’s Venturion unit, designed to meet specific needs of production processes.
“At the heart of this machine is the all-clamping (AC) elements spindle—this makes for easy change over for tool posts, making it a dedicated spindle,” he said. “The clamping spindle gives a higher level of accuracy than a gravity fed spindle. The tool presetter is in the center and everything runs through it. Also, we are using pilot 3.0 software, which is the same control system of the machines, the Tool Management Solutions (TMS) software and the Smart Cabinets, so there is integration throughout the entire process—from work prep all the way through.”
Colyer recommends spindle automation in every single machine since this gives all users independence—users can measure the same tool and will get the same measurement.
“We are measuring each tool tip and taking a live picture of the insert, so we can we can see the insert, record the information, and verify the tool is correct,” Colyer said. “We can get tool measurements and adjust tool life based on findings.”
Michael Thiessen, regional sales manager for Tebis America Inc. (Troy, MI), explained how Zoller’s TMS software interfaces with Tebis. Since technical and logistical data must be accounted for and various departments informed, the online interface between Tebis and Zoller TMS simplifies processes.
“Tebis is focusing on quality, safety and efficiency,” said Thiessen. “With Tebis and Zoller TMS, you are protected all the way through. You get high quality parts in a safer process.” Companies that use Zoller’s TMS manage all their tool data in this database, and Tebis provides a solution that allows all users in NC programming and manufacturing to access the data. A Tebis tool management server uses a web service to call up all the current tool data in the Zoller TMS.
The individual Tebis workplaces in NC programming and manufacturing use the Tebis tool management server as a client, giving them access to the latest information in the tool library. All drilling and milling tools with their cutting data stored in Zoller TMS are available for NC programming. When NC programming is complete, a setup sheet with a list of required tools is returned to Zoller TMS, so the tools are available.
This solution provides several benefits. All tool data—both logistical and technical information—are stored in a central database. Tool presetting devices can be integrated into the process.
Employees in NC programming and manufacturing have permanent access to the latest status of the tools and can see what is available. Because the Tebis tool management server buffers the data from Zoller TMS, the latest data status is available at Tebis workstations.
Heterogeneous system landscapes can also be supported by managing tool information outside of the CAM system. Because the tool contours are also transferred, special tool geometries such as drum cutters and other HPC cutters can be used. Tebis can check each tool use with the actual contour of the complete tool to ensure collision-free operation.
“This is automation going towards Industry 4.0,” Thiessen said. “With this system you tie everything together between a virtual tool crib and users. You have exact geometry, feeds, speeds, RPMs and technology data too. It communicates all of this directly to the Tebis system.”
With Zoller’s TMS software in conjunction with Zoller Smart Cabinets, each tool storage cabinet can be designed and graphically displayed in the software. Single components, tool assemblies and accessories can be tracked down to the individual compartment of the specific drawer and cabinet in which it’s stored. Time spent looking for tools is eliminated, as Smart Cabinets provide total tooling control.
“Regarding inventory, it’s important to keep in mind that tooling is expensive, especially if you don’t have it when you need it,” said Michael Meyer, senior global program manager for Zoller. “The advantage of our system is you have a graphic display. With the graphic display you know the location of the tools, and you can find them easily.”
Zoller Smart Cabinets deliver time and cost savings by recording, measuring, managing, storing and inspecting all company’s tools, components, materials and consumables throughout their entire lifecycle.