Siemens Pushes Digital Twins in CNC Manufacturing
Chris Fox posted on October 28, 2020 |
Siemens releases its SINUMERIK CNC system, which includes digital twin technology.
(Image courtesy of Siemens.)
Siemens' SINUMERIK One. (Image courtesy of Siemens.)

Siemens recently announced its new SINUMERIK CNC control system. While Siemens has long been a hallmark of CNC controllers, this new system takes its cue from other parts of the company’s repertoire.

According to Siemens, “The new controller works with software to create the machine controller and the associated digital twin from one engineering system and thus contributes to the seamless integration of hardware and software.”

Massive Industrial Ideas for Machine Shops

The idea of a digital twin isn’t new for Siemens. The company used the concept across its organization to help companies do everything from preventative maintenance to production growth strategies.

These digital twins are replicas of real-world machine tools and facilities. While a digital twin is valuable for simulation and calculation, its real value comes from the fact that it is more than just a digital model. Instead, it leverages (and constantly updates) the data that a machine encounters and adjusts the model to fit what is happening in the real world.

These digital twins are finding increasing value in the world of operations—whether we’re talking about a machine shop or a massive energy enterprise.

More Than Just a Controller

SINUMERIK ONE gives machine tool builders the ability to virtually map their development process, which in theory could reduce product development and time to market for new machines.

Siemens said in a release, “The virtual preparation of machine commissioning can also reduce the duration of actual commissioning considerably.”

This not only helps machine tool builders prepare for and adapt to varying build environments, but it also provides an accurate digital twin.

But It’s Still a Controller

Having a digital twin provides operators and users with the ability to not just simulate programs, but to simulate those programs in a parallel, digital environment. Rarely are machine tools in perfect condition—a digital twin allows users to simulate their processes with consideration for what is happening on the actual machine. 

According to Siemens, “Realistic simulation provided by SINUMERIK ONE enables CNC machine users to simulate the programming of workpieces and the setup and operation of machine tools completely on the PC. Even training can be carried out using the digital twin instead of training on the actual machine.”

Digital Twins Future-Proof Your Machine Tools

The value of digital twins can be seen from both a design and operational standpoint. While there are a number of ways to create a digital twin, Siemens seems to be providing a seamless interaction between the virtual and the real world. 

Siemens says that “the SINUMERIK ONE Dynamics packages are available in three different variants: ONE Dynamics Operate, ONE Dynamics 3-axis milling and ONE Dynamics 5-axis milling. The software functions contained in each technology package support users from machine-oriented programming in the job shop to high-performance machining of CAD-CAM-programmed workpieces with high surface quality.”

It’s well known that Siemens has a strong foothold in the world of CNC control, but providing this new digital avenue creates stronger bridges between the worlds of design, maintenance and operation. And those bridges could help companies save lots of money as the world of manufacturing and production push into the future. 

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