PLM This Week: When Products Face Their Toughest Tests – Siemens NX CAD and CAM at Tooltec

Manufacturers need powerful IT systems to meet the growing demand for quality and reliability.

Siemens NX CAD and CAM at Tooltec

Products face their toughest tests when used in extremely hostile environments such as outer space or the inside of a gas turbine.

To address the growing demand for quality and reliability in these contexts, and to stay competitive, today’s manufacturers need powerful IT system support.

But what should such a system look like?

Sweden-based Tooltec has its own answer. The company is a specialist firm producing advanced components for multiple industries. These include parts for the European aeronautical industry, production tools for Volvo Trucks and large combustion chamber components for Siemens turbines. They produce these components through milling, turning, grinding, sparking, and drilling complex materials.

In this context, PLM tools such as CAD and CAM play a critical role, and we invested in Siemens PLM’s CAD-CAM software NX as our primary solution,” said Tooltec’s vice president Kristian Lindahl in today’s TV-report.’s PLM TV News team visited Tooltec to find out more.

Tooltec is at the forefront of IT tools and highly advanced processes as, “The result of an early decision to bet on simultaneous 5-axis machining capabilities,” claimed Lindahl. This was a wise decision, as it turned out; today the 5-axis machine is the heart of the company’s business.

“We saw a trend in the industry that you needed five-axis simultaneous machining to be competitive. We were looking for a system that could cover these requirements and it turned out that Siemens NX could deliver a complete solution adapted to our needs,” said Lindahl, and added, “In retrospect I can say that we made a good choice. Many of our customers have even followed us in our choice of CAD-CAM systems, and this is something that we are very proud of.”

State of the Art Machinery

The preparation work at Tooltec typically begins with a customer request, which usually has a very detailed description of all the customer’s requirements.

“We then try to solve this in the best way possible, creating effective production tools which are prepared with state of the art machinery,” explained Lindahl, adding that,  “The preparation process continues with dividing the parts into the various stages of operation.”

Tooltec uses NX to describe each step of the operation with their own 3D models, which they create based on their customer models. “We then use these models to prepare our NC paths. This is also done in NX and includes both turning modules and cutting modules, including simultaneous five-axis machining.”

Furthermore, the Tooltec VP concluded that great and advanced machines are fine, but combined with the right software this fleet of machines can make a quantum leap forward when it comes to competitiveness.

So it’s no surprise that Lindahl points toward the value of a seamless CAD-CAM system: “A complete system, such as NX, brings many benefits to the table. As an example, we use a component variant environment to create a wide variety of rings with similar geometry. In this environment we can also be sure that the NC programs are working correctly, and that the engineers can create drawings with the correct tolerances, without doing much manual work.”

Responsiveness to Customer Demands

An important aspect of production at Tooltec revolves around proper measurement.

This is a guarantee that ensures customers such as SKF, Volvo, ESA and Siemens are getting exactly the quality that they want. Customer demand for precision reflects the growing importance of quality.

Achieving dimensions in the neighbourhood of a hundredth of a millimeter is common, in order to ensure that customer requirements are met.

In addition, the 3D model has an important function in the quality assurance process because the physically produced part is measured in comparison to the customer’s 3D model.

This means that being responsive to customer requirements is a fundamental tenet of Tooltec’s business, and an important part of being able to do this is constantly looking forward.

So what is the next step?

“Next is to introduce tool management with a module called MRL Connect, which aims to reduce the number of tools used in production, to simplify the process and to create integral tools that also can also be used for simulation and collision detection,” said Lindahl. 

The installation of Siemens PLM Software’s solutions at Tooltec is being done by its Nordic partner Summ Systems.

Summ Systems’ CEO Dick Nyström concluded that:  “Clients such as Tooltec are operating in industries that really put our systems to the test. The seamless processes offered by solutions like NX CAD-CAM are important cogs in the machinery. This allows us to succeed in the competitive industries that we operate in.”

PTC Launches ThingWorx 7

PTC announced the release of ThingWorx 7, which is the latest version of its Internet of Things (IoT) platform.

New features in this version include an enhanced set of tools for managing connected products, powerful new analytics capabilities, support of public clouds and simplified platform components. 

These features will make it easier for developers to use their preferred tools to experiment with, prototype and develop new IoT solutions.

When PTC acquired ThingWorx back in 2013, the platform was already powerful with a large user community. With the financial backing of PTC, the development of ThingWorx has only accelerated.

The basic idea is a platform that enables users to rapidly develop and deploy smart, connected solutions for the Internet of Things. The platform contains a complete set of integrated IoT-specific development tools and capabilities, and much effort has been put into simplifying and speeding up the development process of these IoT apps. 

New Management Tools

One of the new features of version 7 is the reworked ThingWorx Utilities (previously called ThingWorx Converge). Utilities now offers a number of specialized tools to help companies manage, monitor and extract data from their products.

  • Connected Device Management Capabilities: Companies can efficiently define and provision the unique attributes of new intelligent devices as they are created, and build custom dashboards to visualize the status and performance of their connected products.
  •  Alert Management: A customizable interface offering visibility to alerts for all connected products, making it easier for companies to identify when a product isn’t functioning as expected.
  •  Remote Access and Control: Users can remotely monitor and manage connected devices, and perform actions such as troubleshooting problems, providing operator assistance, performing training and supporting other IoT product use cases.
  •  Software Content Management: Enables simple, secure and reliable mass distribution of digital content to connected devices, such as operating system updates, application upgrades and software patches.

Integrated Analytics

The Internet of Things is in many ways a data revolution, but getting that data out of the products is only the first step. The next step is being able to turn all this data into actionable intelligence, and the quicker this can be done the better.

PTC considered this. In the new version, ThingWorx Analytics is now directly integrated into the Thing Model, making it easier and faster to build advanced analytics, predictions and recommendations within ThingWorx-powered solutions.

PTC has also made sure that developers can use their preferred tools when working in the ThingWorx environment, such as adding support for popular open source development tools like Eclipse, and source code management tools like Git.

New Cloud Partnerships

In a press release, PTC also mentioned that it will be partnering up with a number of public cloud vendors to provide an open IoT platform for all customers, partners and vendors.

Right now Amazon Web Services (AWS) IoT is available, but PTC states that it will keep expanding the number of cloud partners to make sure that customers can choose the right provider for their needs.

If you’re interested in learning more about ThingWorx, and you’re not going to the global LiveWorx event held in Boston on June 6, 2016, be sure to check out our coverage of that event posted around that time.