Industry 4.0 is an important topic for Tornos SA in Moutier, Switzerland. The machine tool manufacturer now relies on the “stemys.io” software for real-time monitoring and control of networked equipment.
The transformation of the economy through the fourth industrial revolution is in full swing: Production methods, distribution paths, and access to production and services are already changing. The most important advantages of Industry 4.0 lie in flexibility and individualization – not just of products, but even of production processes. The Swiss company, Tornos, builds machine tools for the turning industry. They have dared to take the step from theory to practice, and have introduced a new strategic concept that heralds a far-reaching change. The manufacturer of automated turning machines, founded in 1914 in the heart of the Jura mountains, enjoys global acclaim for the precision and quality of their machine tools. Efficiency and innovations – two important aspects of Industry 4.0 – also define production at Tornos. Therefore, they brought in the Swiss technology firm, stemys Sàrl, to fine tune their automated lathes. “We still don’t have a centralized system; however, the need has become clearly noticeable,” explains Patrick Neuenschwander, the R&D Software & Electric Manager and Research Center Manager at Tornos.
Together with WAGO Contact SA, Sàrl, the start-up from Porrentruy, developed a complete solution for continuous monitoring of the physical values from machines and equipment. Their “stemys.io” platform enables recording of temperature data, vibrations and electrical variables (voltage, output, etc.) in real-time. “When a newly developed automated lathe is put into operation for the first time, there are always a few unpredictabilities. We can simulate the machines with finite elements, but there are always unknowns that we have to determine in the context of practical tests,” according to Neuenschwander. Thus, the desire for a fine adjustment of the factory settings of the machines, particularly those in current development. “Business keeps getting faster; we developed eleven new products in the last ten years,” states Brice Renggli, Marketing and Competitive Intelligence Manager at Tornos. “Therefore, we have to accelerate the release process for our machine tools. With stemys, we are ready for the future.”
The software developed by stemys not only accelerates machine development, but also opens up new perspectives for preventative maintenance. “Previously, interruptions and other faults were discovered rather late, which often entails delays and high costs,” according to Sébastien Etter, Technical Manager at stemys. “With our software, it is possible to make predictions, primarily with respect to wear and fault prevention, and to take proactive countermeasures in order to minimize production losses. In addition, “stemys.io” can also be used to automatically adjust production parameters to the results of control measurements taken in real-time.”
In the long term, this test system could be installed in end customers’ facilities, as part of quality assurance. Currently the data are collected during benchmarking, prior to delivery of the machine to the customer. At Tornos, the fine tuning of the systems can last from a few weeks (for tool holders) up to several months (in the case of fundamentally new machines). In order to be able to access the data from multiple locations, they are stored in the cloud. The comprehensive raw data are collected and archived in a single file. “We offer several solutions for data security and protection (VPN, SSL, firewalls, etc.),” assures Stéphane Rey, Product Manager at WAGO. The company also provides open messaging protocols, like MQTT or AMQP, with interfaces for an ERP system (enterprise resource planning), and integrates the whole using fieldbus couplers from the WAGO-I/O-SYSTEM 750. “This system, optimized for process-oriented communication, is distinguished by high processing and integration capacities,” opines Gérard Berset, Area Sales Manager at WAGO.
Integrated Analysis Functions
According to the variables selected, enormous amounts of data can be recorded. The density of these data and their analysis, based on algorithms, forms the foundation for innovations and improvements. “The contributions by customers – when they define their requirements and expectations – establish an important prerequisite for new insights and corresponding measures,” explains Sébastien Etter. However, the “stemys.io” platform does not merely offer powerful tools for detection, analysis, storage and visualization of information. Its great advantage is that it can quickly generate new agents in order to integrate objects of all types into the communication. Customers can configure their control panels with the help of widgets, and automate the remote control of networked objects based on rules established by the customers themselves. The intuitive and easy-to-operate software, which includes carefully constructed user interfaces, supports them during this process. “We determined that a good presentation of information is extremely important,” states the Technical Manager from stemys; he added a Web designer to his team for this very purpose.
Text: MICHAEL HAUENSTEIN, WAGO
Photo: TORNOS AG