Next Steps in the Digitalization of Tooling Nick Jew Digital tools are already here in the form of DROs and one-way communications to mobile devices, but that’s only the beginning. Get ready for some exciting breakthroughs in automation that promise higher productivity, increased safety, greater throughput and less scrap.
The digital manufacturing revolution is in full swing. We all see it, taking shape in the form of cloud-connected machine controls, robotics, remote monitoring and automation, just to name a few. It’s fair to say tooling is behind other areas of metalworking equipment in terms of impact and high technology – analog is still widely the name of the tooling game – but there have been signs of digital progress in recent years. Breakthroughs are just over the horizon. And while tools are a physically small piece of the manufacturing chain, their digitalization provides major opportunities for production improvements. Boring heads, like our EWE product line, for instance, include digital readouts that, with the help of solid-state magnetic scales, display the actual diameter of the tool instead of hard-to-read Vernier
markings. These heads not only make adjustments in the machine much simpler but also clearly reveal any backlash at the adjustment screw. They can also pair with a mobile app via Bluetooth ® so that adjustments can be tracked and saved; reduction of human error, speedier adjustments, and readily available wear and setup histories are just a few of the benefits of this arrangement. A few short years ago, digital fine-boring tools like the EWE would be thought of as “pie in the sky,” but now they’re being applied every day. This is just the first step in the digitalization of tooling. The next phase is closing the automation loop. We are currently developing the EWA fine boring head. A motor built into the head moves the cutting edge to the proper diameter automatically via remote Bluetooth
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