JIMTOF 2018 - A glimpse into the future of manufacturing

The world premiere of new robot systems, the implementation of artificial intelligence (AI) in CNC machining and state-of-the-art smart factory solutions were the highlights of Okuma’s booth at this year’s JIMTOF (Tokyo, 1-6 November). Okuma introduced the next generation robot systems ARMROID and STANDROID for highly automated manufacturing processes. The monitoring of production processes and maintenance reaches new levels with the use of AI. By connecting all machine tools at the trade fair stand via IoT, visitors could experience the many advantages of smart manufacturing first hand.

The Okuma stand at this year’s JIMTOF offered a large collection of innovations. Ranging from smart factory solutions and innovative software to new machine tools and advanced robotics, visitors could get an overview of Okuma’s extensive portfolio. A cornerstone of the booth was the newly released double column machining centre MCR-S (Super) which impressed visitors with its enormous proportions and high-end cutting performance.

Robotics for all plant sizes
For improved productivity in small and medium-sized businesses, ARMROID offers automation solutions where conventional robotics would be overly complex or too expensive. This is achieved by integrating an articulated robot into the machine tool making setups and configurations of added robot systems obsolete. With the use of a robot automated cell, the robot arm can load and unload workpieces allowing for automated mass production. Costly and time-consuming training of staff is unnecessary as the robot is operated via the regular CNC control of the machine tool. Operators can easily use the robot’s many functions improving and supporting the machining process. Dual blasting for avoiding chip entanglement with the workpiece and robot cleaning for preventing chip accumulation improve the machine’s chip management. The robot also enhances the machining process itself by supporting the workpiece to prevent chatter. ARMROID will be available in Europe in 2019.

Easy automation without special training
With the newly introduced the STANDROID system, Okuma presents an easy-to-install automation solution that can be added to machine tools. The installation is extremely simple as the robot comes in a space-saving automated cell which is placed next to the machine. Connecting it to the power supply and the network cable completes the installation in just one day. Due to its compact design, STANDROID takes up far less space than conventional robots. With a required floor space of about two pallets, the solution can be integrated into production sites providing little free space. Operators do not need special training for using STANDROID because operating the system is similar to operating a machine tool. For maximum safety, a 3D simulation constantly checks the robot’s movement in advance ensuring collision-free operations. The system will be available in Europe in 2019.

Artificial intelligence for next-level diagnostics
By adding artificial intelligence (AI) to the CNC control, Okuma revolutionises maintenance and diagnostics of machines and tools. With its deep learning capability and the analysis of vibration data, the AI is able to provide a precise diagnosis of the spindle’s bearing condition. Hence, manufacturers can replace bearings before spindle damages occur. The machine’s AI also monitors drilling conditions in real time reducing the number of defective workpieces due to broken drills. It also minimises tool costs by providing a visualisation of the drill wear conditions enabling operators to make full use of the tool’s entire lifespan instead of replacing it prematurely. Thus, the tool’s lifespan can be extended by 1.4 times. The AI applications will be launched in Europe in 2019.

A factory of the future
At the trade fair booth, Okuma connected all machine tools giving visitors an impression of data-optimised manufacturing and the potentials of industry 4.0 solutions. Connecting all machine tools, the smart factory solution Connect Plan allows for close monitoring of the entire plant. The collected data reveals the machine tools’ utilisation and enables manufacturers to visualise the operating status of the production facility on the Factory Monitor. This allows for a highly effective optimisation of the manufacturing process increasing productivity. It also enables operators to carry out predictive maintenance which means that parts are replaced right before disturbances or defects occur. The results are significantly reduced downtimes and lower maintenance expenses. With the smart factory solution NET BOX suite-C, manufacturers can even connect machines by other builders to the network.

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