IMTS 2002: GE Fanuc exhibits supervisory, CNC softwares, Six Sigma solutions

By Control Engineering Staff September 10, 2002

Chicago, IL— To help boost production equipment utilization and reduce machine downtime, GE Fanuc Automation (Charlottesville, VA) is exhibiting its new Cimplicity i Cell at IMTS 2002, Sept. 4-11, at McCormick Place.

Cimplicity i Cell is a Windows-based, supervisory software package that manages multiple CNC machine tools from a central location. It supports operations, such as parts machining, data collection, remote diagnostics and state-change monitoring, as well as enabling quick recovery in the event of a failure, which can increase machining productivity by reducing downtime and optimizing equipment performance. GE Fanuc’s exhibit is located at Booth D-4202.

Based on the Cimplicity HMI Plant Edition platform, i Cell software allows users to modify and create PC screens and functions to meet application-specific needs. The software also provides extensive machining support capabilities, such as real-time remote monitoring and diagnostics via any standard web browser. NC program management allows operators to quickly upload and download machining programs between a PC and each NC via Ethernet.

From a PC or Cimplicity operator interface, users can view CNC state display, operation and status, including indicators such as program number, current position, actual speed and modal information. By monitoring machine operation and state changes, and automatically collecting and reporting machining results, i Cell helps users understand the dynamics of the shop floor; determine the causes of machine idleness and downtime; and ensure that maintenance is completed at proper intervals. Cimplicity i Cell also offers file backup and restore capabilities to ensure quick recovery in the event of a failure.

Six Sigma solutions

In other news, GE Fanuc Automation is showcasing its Six Sigma Lean Manufacturing solutions for machine tool end-users at IMTS 2002.

“As GE has discovered in its own manufacturing facilities, incremental improvements to processes can add up quickly to a big bottom line impact for the business,” says Douglas Peterson, GE Fanuc’s CNC and laser business vp. “Our IMTS booth highlights some of the most effective ways that companies using CNCs can improve productivity with Six Sigma Lean Manufacturing.”

GE Fanuc’s Six Sigma Lean Manufacturing solutions include:

  • Reducing machine tool CNC setup time with GE Fanuc’s Manual Guide i software for programming in milling and lathe applications; using its Compound Machining control solution for multi-process machines; highlighting its tool management capabilities; and showing its inspection and tool-setting probes with Renishaw. Manual Guide i software provides a graphical instructions-based method of programming the company’s Series 16i, 18i and 21i open system CNCs.

  • Performing Total Productive Maintenance, or Reliability-Centered Maintenance, by using several CNC features to provide analysis data and increase a machine’s process capabilities in critical areas. These include new Servo Guide automatic servo tuning and built-in CNC maintenance features, such as ladder edit and maintenance, servo and spindle waveform display and remote diagnostics.

  • Building Single-Piece Flow Production Optimization into machine processes that minimize cycle times. GE Fanuc is showing five-axis compensation and high-speed machining features, along with demonstrations of the advantages of NURBS interpolation and ease of setup for high-speed machining applications.

  • Completing Value Stream Mapping and Analysis using real-time CNC data on a variety of metrics related to performance and throughput, which allows companies to accurately document current and future performance of processes. GE Fanuc is showing a variety of connectivity strategies and high-speed, flexible communication options that can be applied to the machine shop to collect required data.

  • Lean Manufacturing in Action, which features a simulated automotive plant that demonstrates how end-users can apply GE Fanuc solutions to achieve Six Sigma Lean Manufacturing. An adjacent communications area demonstrates GE Fanuc’s Ethernet connectivity capabilities, which are available for all new and legacy CNC products dating back to 1987.

In addition, GE Fanuc is exhibiting several control products, including Series 15i-MB CNC; Series 0i-Mate and Series 0i-B CNCs for commodity machine tools; and 18i-MB for five-axis machining. Also, three machines at the exhibit are demonstrating GE Fanuc’s latest advanced servo technology features.

Control Engineering Daily News Desk
Jim Montague, news editor