Introduction

Machine Tools – Smart Manufacturing, Unmanned Cells

 

Taiwan’s machine tool industry has adapted to Industry 4.0 with intelligent functions and automated production lines.

 

  • Client

    Taiwan International Machine Tool Show (TMTS)

  • Services

    Taiwan has shed the tag of low cost manufacturer of mid-range machines with reasonable accuracies catering to job shops and tier manufacturers.

  • Technologies

    Industrial Automation

  • Dates

    04/01/2019

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Description

At the Taiwan International Machine Tool Show (TMTS) 2018 held in November 2018 at Taichung, what was on display was not just Taiwan’s machine tool strength. That is a given as the country is the world’s 7th largest machine tool manufacturer and the 5th largest exporter. The real attraction was machines with intelligent functions and automated production lines on display in several booths. Taiwan has shed the tag of low cost manufacturer of mid-range machines with reasonable accuracies catering to job shops and tier manufacturers. Instead its high accuracy high precision machines are not only competing with major brands of Europe, but some manufacturers are also OEMs for reputed European and Japanese marques. Companies like the FFG Group, the world’s 3rd largest machine tools group, and volume manufacturers like the Tongtai, Victor Taichung and YCM groups, among others, have a global footprint with strong market presence.

 

While Germany rolled out its vision of Industry 4.0 and USA harped on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) over the last few years, machine tool manufacturers in Taiwan with active support of the government and leading research institutes got into the act without much ado, developing complete and diversified industrial solutions compliant with the new trends. Intelligent functions such as temperature rise compensation, collision avoidance, and real-time monitoring of key components have been introduced.

 

All leading domestic large-scale manufacturers of Taiwan had on display processing machines such as multifunctional composite processing machines, 5-axis machining centres, automated production lines, etc., and key components equipped with remote monitoring functions to monitor the production site and improve production efficiency.

 

Victor Taichung’s unmanned cells

Established in 1954, Victor Taichung Machinery Works Co Ltd started with conventional lathes but at TMTS 2018 had on display 8 unmanned cells. All cells are monitored with SCADA system online, illustrating the application of Industry 4.0 in action.

 

Of the 8 cells, 5 were combinations of a single machine for turning and milling operations with robot for parts of different sizes. The compact lathe Vturn-NP16 with scara robot EWR-03 built inside forms a compact cell at floor space 2.5 m x 2.2 m only. Part changeover time is only 7 seconds minimises idle time for highest productivity ideal for small part less than 3 kg. For larger or heavier parts, gantry robot mounted at the top of lathes plays a better role than scara robot at less floor space. The new turning centre Vturn-NP20CM with 8” chuck and turning length 400mm equipped with a gantry robot made its debut at TMTS for unmanned operation. Another cell had co-opted a Universal cobot to replace the human operator for part loading/unloading, so that just one machine operator can take care of several cells in workshop without intensive training.

 

Another category was turning and milling by two machines in one cell with one articulated robot between them. But it was the third category with 2 cobots in one cell, offered association with

Fanuc Automation that offered a glimpse of the metal working trends in the future.

 

LNC’s smart machine box (SMB) & intelligent sensors

LNC, a manufacturer of high precision controllers for machine tools, exhibited the SMB (smart machine box) with smart sensors and cloud platform (Webaccess) at TMTS 2018. With focus on high-quality and high precision controllers for years, recently LNC has dedicated itself to developing EtherCAT servo motors, inverters, expansion IO modules and related EtherCAT accessories, promoting intelligent machines and intelligent manufacturing.

 

Unlike the general SMB solutions in the market that focus on networking and data acquiring, the LNC SMB supports Fanuc, Mitsubishi, and Siemens control systems and offers several powerful functions including: axis control (ex: rotary table), EtherCAT communication interface and for internal/external accessories connection, and also supports robot control, RFID, spindle monitoring, vision system connection, smart sensor and many other intelligent functions.

 

Also on display were LNC’s newly introduced vibration sensors (SVI-1000 and SVI- 2000) and thermal control modules to fix the impact caused by the key factors in manufacturing processing: vibration and temperature. In addition, the LNC cloud platform is also ready for remote monitoring and central management, which provides standard function pages that include: utilisation rate, machine information, maintenance scheduling and management, processing program management, alarm report, and report exporting, with more functions under development.

 

While the LNC Smart Machine Box (SMB) won the Taiwan Excellence Award last year and the smart sensors also bagged it this year.

 

YCM focusing on Smart Manufacturing

Yeong Chin Machinery Industries Co Ltd, also founded in 1954, presented a wide range of products for smart factory at TMTS 2018.

 

The YCM NFX380A high performance 5-axis vertical machining centre with robot and storage system offers an ultimate automation solution to meet small-volume, large variety production requirements. Designed especially for small, complex high-quality parts, it is used mainly for aerospace, automotive, medical, job shop and die & mould applications.

 

The YCM NH500A high production and accuracy horizontal machining centre is well-suited for industries with large-scale manufacturing requirements. Equipped with a powerful IDD spindle, and 37 kW (49.6 HP) motor with 244 Nm torque, it is possible to reach a high speed of up to 15,000 rpm.

 

YCM also launched had a world premiere of the ultra high performance vertical machining centre – YCM NSV 106A – especially tailor-made to suit high-speed machining requirements, featuring a unique IDD Plus spindle. Its cutting capability and robust construction, large delta machine column and wide base, enable highest stability even at high speed.

 

YCM’s latest IoT solution – i-Direct – provides an easy way to connect all equipment, including CNC controller, machine types and manually operated equipment. Its real-time analysis of live data from the production environment enables plants manager and owners to manage the shop with ease. With i-Direct, one can easily track production status, manage factory utilisation and monitor Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE).

 

Delta Smart CNC Machine Solutions

The efforts of machine tool manufacturers are ably supported by industrial automation solution providers and the Automation Division of Delta, a Taiwanese multinational, is right there at the top. Cooperating with major manufacturers like FFG, Equiptop and ECOCA, Delta presented a series of high-end automation and smart solutions for CNC machines and factories at TMTS 2018. Among its exhibits was the brand-new “2 machine tools + 1 robot workstation” demo to simulate automated machine tool processing and robot pick-and-place. Two machine tool units implement Delta’s CNC solutions, and the robot workstation adopts Delta’s articulated robots along with the latest Delta Robotic Simulation Platform DRASimuCAD, for workstation design and construction. With the built-in CAD and robot simulation functions, the DRASimuCAD allows users to easily build moulds and generate work paths for automated robotic work. For smart machines and IIoT, Delta’s equipment IoT solution connects machines, a Manufacturing Execution System (MES) system, and management visualisation to achieve a completely digitalised smart production chain.

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