12 Jul, 2020
The use of industrial automated machines or robots has proven to be advantageous for both discrete and continuous manufacturers in diverse ways. These advantages include efficient production processes and increased productivity. Despite these benefits, their uses have been limited to machining smaller items. This is because industrial robots struggle with working on larger structures due to sensitivity to process loads and limited workspaces for SMEs. These challenges have led to the use of computer numerical control or CNC systems and other portable machine tools to enable machinists to efficiently work on larger projects.
This article will discuss:
The above-stated challenges highlight some of the disadvantages of using industrial automation systems which led to the introduction of CNC systems, but these aren’t the only reasons for its integration. Another important reason was to deal with the downtime of stationary equipment.
In the aviation industry, downtime caused by stationary machines has been responsible for the backlog in the production of aircraft. The slow rate of production led to a backlog of approximately 12,500 aircraft for both Boeing and Airbus, two powerhouses in the aviation industry. Thus, to optimize production efficiency, reduce downtime, increase machining accuracy, and automate machining processes, CNC systems were developed and are currently being used across diverse industrial niches.
CNC systems also double as edge computing devices as they are fitted or built with data-capturing, processing, and reporting features. The standard CNC mobile system consists of a mobile platform that allows the CNC robot machining arm to be moved from one location to another with ease. The system also integrates a CNC control which provides the platform for using software applications to control the movement and operations of the machine. This makes it possible to integrate these machines into shop floors with limited space and easily move them from one workstation to another to execute machining tasks.
Some of the major benefits of using a CNC mobile system have been outlined in the previous section. For a better understanding, we require an in-depth analysis of how these systems reduce downtime, optimize productivity, and automate traditional manufacturing processes.
With the increased use of CNC systems comes the need to control and monitor these machines remotely. The increased use of IIoT also created avenues to explore the use of mobile applications to manage and connect CNC systems with existing networks and systems. Today, these mobile applications exist.
CNC mobile applications are used to view the status of a mobile system, collect machine data, and send notifications concerning its performance to operators. The ability to achieve this makes automation easier and provides the data needed to drive Industrie 4.0 concepts such as data-driven plant performance optimization.
CNC systems or machines provide diverse use cases for manufacturing enterprises to explore. Automated CNC mobile machines also serve as edge computing devices which create other possibilities and use cases manufacturers can explore. These use cases include machining, repairs, installation, and maintenance activities. The benefits that come with the introduction of mobility onto the shop floor will enhance manufacturing efficiency and reduce operational costs, which is what every manufacturing plant hopes to achieve.
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