Plan to attend The IMTS 2018 Conferences to expand your industry knowledge as you learn from the pros.
About the topic:
Automation is the future — not only for companies that need to become more efficient but also for the kinds of people those companies will be hiring. The manufacturing workforce is aging, and the industry will have to appeal to digital-native Millennials, who are used to navigating life with the help of an array of technologies. Those who choose jobs in the manufacturing industry will want to work with machines that exhibit a high level of intelligence and allow them to avoid reinventing the wheel on every part. The key to getting such workers into the industry will be to provide them with interesting, pragmatic, rational jobs that utilize smart technology. That requires machining processes to be automated and augmented by smart software tools to make work more efficient. The part programmer of the future will have to embrace all potential technologies, in order to perform his or her job.
There are essentially seven levels of automation in part programming (from lowest to highest):
Expressions are simple rules or repeatable instructions based on known input. Expressions are easy to use but require the user to have some knowledge of programming.
Stored technical pages capture and reuse a moderate amount of knowledge.
Product manufacturing information (PMI) is CAD-driven automation for specific manufacturing or machining processes — a CAD wizard for holes, for example. PMI can also be identified and acted upon in the CAM system by knowledge-based machining.
Knowledge-based machining (KBM) is a large and complex data storage for the application of machining processes, tooling, etc. KBM provides a level of automation anywhere between 20% and 75%. Because programming with KBM is predictable and consistent, programmers encounter fewer problems and produce less scrap. KBM is also useful in educating novice part programmers, allowing them to come up to speed more quickly by shortening the learning curve.
Automatic processes with some part programmer input allow the machine to take care of 80% to 85% of the work on its own.
Fully automatic programming takes the process from CAD to CAM to post processor to G-code to machine selection and queue up without human intervention. This can cover a spectrum of parts.
Digital twin technology wraps all these automation techniques into a viewable mistake-free environment.
Although there are many processes we can automate and many levels of automation, there are also multiple challenges to implementation, including people and politics, motivation, the ability to define ROI, a willingness (or lack thereof) to adapt to change, disruption, and the potential for job redefinition (refactoring).
Meet your presenter
Don Davies is the vice president for the Americas and vice president of applications engineering at DP Technology. He has worked at DP Technology for 32 years, previously holding the roles of national applications manager and director of sales for North and South America. Davies serves on the Global Marketing & Sales Committee and Strategic Direction Committee for the Association for Manufacturing Technology, and previously served for three years on the Okuma THINC Partner Council.