Industry

Smart machines in smart factories

Smart machines in smart factories

The nature of manufacturing software systems and machines could soon change dramatically. At the speed of Industry 4.0, technological development advances so quickly that it can seem arrogant to confidently describe the machines of the future.

SwissCognitiveNevertheless, we can guess where the trends are going and which direction we feel we should take. Smart machines will begin to operate within a framework that will change how machine tool manufacturers design, manufacture, and implement their machines in their customers’ production plants.

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Thinking about the next five years frankly incites vertigo. Fabricators cannot look the other way and wait for the developments and innovations of others. The competition never stops, and anticipating innovations from different players in the industry’s digital transformation (machines, software, platforms, communications protocols) has become essential.

Given this scenario, what will the machines of the future be like? They will be equipped with sensors to compile data on any situation relevant to the machine. They will be connected like any other software system, and the information will flow, be shared, and stored on the cloud so it can be analyzed using and . All this will help people and systems make better decisions.

At the speed of Industry 4.0, technological development advances so quickly that it can seem arrogant to confidently describe the machines of the future. Nevertheless, we can guess where the trends are going and which direction we feel we should take. Smart machines will begin to operate within a framework that will change how machine tool manufacturers design, manufacture, and implement their machines in their customers’ production plants.

Defining the Smart Factory

The smart factory concept is still in its early stages, and the industry continues to define its components. These include the machines, the programming software, production planning software, business management software, and the mechanisms for integrating different business systems.

Throughout the past 40 years, the core work process in sheet metal has not evolved. Files are imported from CAD; the programming software generates instructions based on job parameters and the machine’s configuration; it then generates the numerical code for the industrial control. All of this is based on algorithms and functionality supported on software interfaces installed on a personal computer or, in multiuser environments, a server connected to a local network.

That said, the processing power and structure limit software’s current potential scope. Although further analysis is needed, environments other than a local computer could provide more processing power that could execute new, much more powerful algorithms.

CAM and Machine as One System

Since its creation, CAM has generated the program that runs the machine, and the machine and CAM have been separate. But integration is coming. In one sense, a machine will become a “software system” within a network of other interconnected, interoperable systems.

For this to occur, it is very likely that a significant part of what we now understand as an element belonging to the CAM software will be transferred to the “machine system.” […]

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