Finish-machining of mill rolls and other large-dimension parts has made Heinrich Georg Maschinenfabrik a familiar name to some forging operations, and a new simulation technology is making it possible for even more manufacturers to see what its machine tools and production lines are able to accomplish. Recently, as the pilot user of a new-generation CNC platform — the Siemens Sinumerik ONE —
H. Georg exhibited the digital twins of two of its machine tools.
A digital twin is a replica of actual (or potential) physical objects, processes, systems, places, etc., and can be used for process simulation, production planning, plant design or development, and so forth.
In the design and construction of complex machine tools, engineering and manufacturing have been two successive processes: First, prototypes were designed and constructed, then the software was programmed. Manufacturing processes and procedures could not be optimized and harmonized until the system commissioning phase. Digital twinning introduces a different approach.
The Sinumerik ONE program maps all development processes in a virtual setting. Before actual prototypes are available, real-world tasks are transferred into the virtual world. For example, during manufacturing of a machine the control software is written but also tested, virtually. Likewise, future machine operators can be trained on control pulpits that are identical to those to be available with the actual machines.
Digital twinning also offers considerable advantages for machine maintenance and service: H. Georg technicians will use it to trace a customer’s machining programs at their headquarters in Kreuztal, Germany, and provide insight to optimize the performance of a particular machine.
For machine operators, the digital twin helps to clarify and specify the features and functions under consideration, showing not only how it performs but how it can be configured and interact with other functions.
H. Georg implemented digital twins for two of its machine types: the H. Georg ultragrind SG2 grinding machine and ultramill H moving-column milling machine. On the strength of digital twinning results, two of the latter machines are being developed and assembled now, one for its own workshop and one for a customer.
H. Georg is going to equip more machine tools with the digitalization-oriented control system, including milling and turning machine centers as well as mill-roll grinding machines for steel and aluminum rolling mills. Building on the Sinumerik ONE capabilities, it has developed the proprietary Georg smartcontrol UG control software. The software’s intuitive HMI allows the digital twin to be operated for training and testing, either via the real operator pulpit or its virtual counterpart.
“The H. Georg Digital Twin is the key to the digital transformation of our machines. It makes it possible to simulate and test our customers’ operations in a completely virtual environment,” according to CTO Dr.-Ing. Wieland Klein. “From the integration of the virtual and the real machine along with H. Georg’s engineering know-how, … our customers will benefit in the form significant potential for productivity improvements.”