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Closed-Loop Automation Delivers Process Control

As the EMO Exhibition approaches one machine tool manufacture, Index-Werke GmbH Esslingen, Germany. known for its high-performance turning and milling machine tools and increasingly also for its automation solutions has announced that it will be showcasing an automated process control solution – based on closed loops.

For Index, the automation system includes the producing, handling, measuring/testing and compensating elements. As an example: The user manufactures a series of components on an Index automatic production turning machine. The connected Index robot cell takes care of the parts handling. A robot inserts the blank from the pallet into the machine, removes it after processing, passes it to the inspection/measuring system installed in the robotic cell, and then returns the measured part to the pallet.

“The inspection device records the relevant dimensions for the component, which are read in real time by the intelligent process control (IPC) unit. This communicates with the machine control via our closed loop interface. The interface allows the transmitted measurement characteristics to be matched to the relevant tools and appropriate corrections to be made,” explains Global Marketing Manager Rainer Gondek.

The measurement strategy software is simple to use: Users can specify the required measurement processes (including up to 100 percent measurement) for each component, as well as define tolerance ranges and correction characteristic values. The tool corrections are updated based on this, allowing continuous automated process control without the need for operator intervention. This allows typical causes of process instability – such as tool wear and thermal influences – to be compensated for. It also provides users a clear picture of the current trends at all times.

“We are looking forward to EMO Hannover where we will be able to present our innovative solutions in detail to all interested parties,” announces Rainer Gondek.

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