Digital shop floor: Machine Motion and reliable process control innovations.

New developments and enhancement in Motion control measuring devices and CNC software to achieve higher accuracies during high speed machining applications, including machine calibration.
Apr 01, 2021

New developments and enhancement in Motion control measuring devices and CNC software to achieve higher accuracies during high speed machining applications, including machine calibration. New enhancements and research in process preparation and execution utilizing the digital twin, in process verification, applying new probing and inspection technology as well as monitoring the process and machine components. 



Transcript:

Stephen LaMarca:

Director of business development at Heidenhain.

Gisbert Ledvon:

So, I'm going to talk a little bit more about motion control and something Luke pointed out. You're going to see some things what are also relevant to machine monitoring and how we can provide some kind of solution in that aspect. So, we'll talk a little bit about what is new in motion control. And just to clarify it for everybody, motion control is something you would use on a mechanical machine tool when you drive was a CNC control, but there's much, much more to it because if the motion of the machine is not positioning correctly or moving fast enough or slow enough, I can have problems there. So, we're going to talk a little bit about that, how you can achieve these high speed in specific, in five-axis. And then I talk a little bit more about some research projects we're working on, a little bit about some new probing technology we implemented over the last year and two.

Gisbert Ledvon:

So, let's go right into it, because I have a lot of material to cover and I want to make sure we get to it all thought. So, I'm going to briefly give you a quick overview for the people who don't know why Heidenhain is, because Heidenhain is a very known name throughout the world, but for many different reasons in different industries. So, this is our headquarters in Germany, very nicely located near the Alps, an hour and a half of Munich, right on that Kiếm Lake there. And as you can see in the middle of the town, that's where Heidenhain is. So, the town actually grew around Heidenhain. So we very old established company and now running out of space, we've got to move outside to expand. We have a-

Stephen LaMarca:

My apologies. I don't mean to cut you off, but I don't think you're sharing our screen with us. We see you and that's great, don't get me wrong, but [crosstalk 00:02:02]-

Gisbert Ledvon:

Yeah. You're absolutely right.

Stephen LaMarca:

If you could just share the PowerPoint, then we could see.

Gisbert Ledvon:

Can you see it now?

Stephen LaMarca:

There we go. Got it. Thank you.

Gisbert Ledvon:

You see a building, right? Got to back up a little bit.

Stephen LaMarca:

Yup, there we go.

Gisbert Ledvon:

Okay. So, here we are. So we have about 4,000 people in Germany but that's probably not so relevant for you because we do most of the research and development there, but we also have locations in the United States to be close to our customers. And the location I'm calling you from, or talking to you from is here in Schaumburg, we're about a half an hour away from Chicago here. And that's where we have research and development and production mainly for accurate, but then we have service and support training Academy for Heidenhain control products and guideline components.

Gisbert Ledvon:

So, a lot of people don't notice, that's why I'm showing this quickly, this slide. So, you maybe heard of these names, but they're usually in completely different markets outside the machine tool industry. But everything what do you see here is some kind of a company or a product what has to do with motion control. Something that measures something, and that's what usually Heidenhain has within the family. The two products I'm talking about, or the two technology I'm talking about, [inaudible 00:03:44] is a brand name what is very known in the United States is made here, CNC controls for [inaudible 00:03:49]. But I want to focus a little bit more on the Heidenhain motion control systems. So we're going to focus on the machine tool side with the control side with monitoring software [inaudible 00:04:02]. But there's also components what I use underneath the sheet metal very often.

Gisbert Ledvon:

Rotary encoders, what you use in robots, in elevators, as you can see here. So you can imagine if an elevator doesn't position right in 200 floors, and you're missing only a couple of thousandths of an image, that could be a whole foot when you get to 400th floor, for example. So it also has to be measured. Another area where we measuring very accurately is within the medical diagnostics and in the semiconductor industry. Obviously you can imagine you have to position very, very accurately there, Heidenhain components are very well used there. So everything that goes down to high precision, very small miniature sized components, what is more and more critical now, Heidenhain is involved because we measuring very, very accurate and we're making sure that whatever machine tool you use, you can do that to produce accurate parts. So, the first thing I'm going to talk about is the motion control, a little bit about CNC technology, and how we calibrate a machine tool, and what are new methods to do that.

Gisbert Ledvon:

So, quickly, you heard about linear and rotary encoders, maybe. So we'll be talking about a linear exposed or enclosed scale. And usually in the machine tool, you will find this enclosed linear glass scale, what we call it in the industry. It's also called the linear encoder, and we're going to talk a little bit about that later on. Then you have rotary encoders or angle encoders. These are usually sitting directly under a rod axis, like an AB axis or C axis on the five-axis machine, for example. And then of course the control system, CNC or DRO, if you want to go simple. And then the grit encoders, and I'm going to talk a little bit more about that, plus touch probe technology. So, those are the four key pillars related to the machine to the world where we can talk about today.

Gisbert Ledvon:

So, one thing I want to go back to is the basics. And I think Luke came a little bit to that in his previous presentation there. One thing people forget that if I'm running a machine tool, no matter what, if I have a linear model, if I have a ball screw, any type of these components will heat up the more I'm moving the machine back and forth. So that means when I heat something up, obviously it's expanding. Therefore, it's always better to have a closed loop measuring device. And what is a closed loop versus the semi-closed loop? Semi-closed loop would basically, you would have an encoder on the back of your motor that counts your resolutions and relies on the accuracy of your ball screw up here to have the right pitch to move that table to the right position. But as you thought before, the ball screw will heat up, specifically if you machine back and forth, and now this accuracy is not given anymore.

Gisbert Ledvon:

So, that's why you would mount as close as possible to your work piece area in a linear scale, but then measures directly in this position where you actually are moving in, and where's your position of your machine tool. And that's very important specifically if you have multi axis five-axis applications, you need to make sure that all five-axis are similar tenuously at the same point where you want the control over the control one, once the mechanics to be at any given time. So the best way to do this is you have this closed loop measuring device implemented. So I'll give you an example here. I hope you can see the animation. So, we're machining this airplane bracket out of an aerospace application, and what I'm showing in the top screen here is the deviation on the ball screw, so the temperature change in Kelvin, and the more red or yellow it gets, the warmer the area is.

Gisbert Ledvon:

And you can see here, this is the size of the ball screw. And since we're machining a lot in the middle here where we have all these pockets, you can see that these areas are heating up much, much quicker. And on the bottom year, I show you how a semi-close loop would create a positioning error. And as you can see, as time goes on, in this case five minutes, you already have a deviation of 10 microns. So, you can imagine if I cut in a very accurate part and I running it for an hour you, a dimension is going to be way off. And what is not good specifically when it comes to high precision application. So, he's another evidence to make sure you have a closed loop mythology on your machine tool. The component, what is important is more and more rotary and direct drive motors are available now, and they utilize specifically in five-axis applications in the rotary table. And usually I'm going to use the model you have in England called a device to position this rotary access in conjunction, or in relation to your XYZ axis.

Gisbert Ledvon:

So you have to have a speed control, and you have to have a position control. So at [inaudible 00:09:53] what we did here now, we developed multiple devices. As you saw, we have different brands and different technologies and different methods, how to build or engineer an encoder. And the inexpensive solution usually called the non-optical angle encoder. What usually works was a magnetic field, and as you can see here, the line count is only two 2,600, but when I get to an optical device, what is similar to a linear encoder, what we just talked about for the closed loop feedback, and we dealing with 32,000, 33000 lines. And why is that important? You want to make sure that the noise level on your motor is as small as possible, because otherwise you're heating up the motor, you don't get the maximum torque and the maximum speed out of that motor. So, depending on what type of an encoder you're using, you will increase these noise levels, like you see here with this optical encoder. Then we'll have problems with the motor, problems with accuracy will also give you surfacing accuracy, and surface finish quality problems.

Gisbert Ledvon:

In conjunction with just measuring the accuracy of these direct drive motors, what we're incorporating now is also a sensor technology to directly measure the temperature what is in your motor, and driving based on that the motion and making sure that that motor is not getting overheated. And we can basically combine that completely in this encoder technology now. So, that's brand new and it's in conjunction with an e-tail direct drive motor, what Heidenhain makes. So then we talked a little bit about the mechanics that are on the machines, and now let's look a little bit more about what's important when I want to be dynamic. If I want to make a machine to really go dynamic as fast as possible, but at the same time as accurate as possible. So you have to look at certain components on your machine to do that. And there's a couple of phenomenons, what we call active vibration.

Gisbert Ledvon:

And that's something if I look at a machine tool and you see the animation, if my machine tool is not bolted to the ground and I have high dynamics and the machine goes back and forth, you have these installations within the machine tool, and that drives all the way into your drive train and goes all the way to your bolts, could goes to your motor, can go into your spindle. And what you see down here in these two graphics, specifically if I changed directions or speeds and feeds, I create these type of vibrations. What then reflect vibrations in your work piece and in your cutting tool what is very difficult to measure, because you're not going to see that until you really going to see your finished part. So in Heidenhain we created something, what is an active vibration damping feature, what we basically put into the drive train, and then on the right hand side you can see this here, when we turn that on, you're eliminating completely these frequencies around this corner. So first of all, we have a very accurate position, but also we don't create any vibration from our drive system onto the machine.

Gisbert Ledvon:

So, he here's a little example on this. If I move very fast around it, and you can see here this is what happens to my cutting tool. It starts to swing, and then it swings back and forth until it stabilizes. And obviously that's going to leave a little marks and [inaudible 00:13:46] marks in your work piece. So, this is without the AVD and you see these red areas appear. Now, if you turn the AVD on, now we really slowing down and eliminating these frequencies so you don't deal with this type of surface problem, and you get [inaudible 00:14:09] quality with AVD as you can see here on the top now. Another mechanical situation, every machine tool builder has to deal with, is even if you use a closed loop design as we just talked about, let's say I have my glass scales mounted, or my linear scales mounted on the top of this machine tool, what's happening if I accelerate or decelerate, if you look at your cutting tool down here, what's happening, your y-axis in this case will swing back or forth, meaning that your tool is also lifting from the workpiece, or shifting into the work workpiece.

Gisbert Ledvon:

So, in order to prevent this or calibrate the machine, we developed something new what machine tool builders using when they calibrating or designing their machine tool with Heidenhain motion control. Just quickly, you can do this test on your own machine, if you would just circle a part two inches in diameter, and then you cut around that circle or the dome 50 millimeter square. If you have a problem with your crosstalk accuracy, you would shave off some material on that circle because it didn't really cut a round part. You cut an oval or an ellipse, whatever you want to call it. But with the CDC calibration on, you're really matching these two dimensions.

Gisbert Ledvon:

So, how do we compensate for these mechanical problems? And some of you heard about the ball bar test, what is out there? The problem with that is you do a really usually circular motion and that's all fine and dandy. You can also calibrate your machine with a laser, what goes over the entire area of your machine travel, but when it comes down to specific shapes and maybe problems you want to eliminate within your machine tool because you're only cutting in a certain area of your machine tool because you're cutting a certain component there, we're using this grid plate application. It's similar to what we talked about on the glass scale. You have basically a glass plate here, there is a grid pattern on there, and then you have a reader head. You can mount either way in these three axes of five-axis application. And then what you do is you just connect it... And this can be done with any controller, doesn't have to be a Heidenhain CNC, can be any type of control system on any type of machine. And now you program some kind of a shape.

Gisbert Ledvon:

So for example up here, I programmed the shape and I want to see what my machine really does. How does the machine really behave? And as you can see on this tip of this component the y-axis completely overshoots when it does in the reversal motion. And I can really zoom into this. And this tool now allows me to optimize my acceleration and deceleration on my machine tool to compensate for these type of problems so that I really get as close as possible to the program shape to achieve the maximum accuracy. Now, this mechanically, now let's talk about the cutting tool. What is another arrow you can introduce into your cutting process? The cutting tool guys doing a very nice job specifically when it comes to carbide cutting tools, how they grind them and how accurate they're grinding. And they're within a couple of microns sometimes, sometimes better, sometimes not depending on the quality. But regardless, even if you get the top of the line cutting tool, there's always some kind of a deviation. There's always a tolerance somewhere.

Gisbert Ledvon:

So in this case, we have a radius deviation on the top here of two microns, one micron, minus eight microns, and then plus another three down here. So this is not the perfect radius, right? But now I want to cut the perfect 3D surface like we see here on this medical part. So I need to know when my cutting tool is engaging, at what surface, in what angle in, and at what normal point to my surface, in order to have this information in my tool table. So the machine can react to it. So, that's what we call the 3D tool compensation. And we can feed that data into the tool table, what then allows the program or when he programs a part like this, this is a lens application where I really need a perfect solution for my surface finish and my accuracy, and he was showing you the results if you're applying this type of technology.

Gisbert Ledvon:

So, this bright green shows you if you just use a normal 3D tool compensation what you get on an average machine sometimes. But when we applying the new technology I just explained to you in conjunction with a new measuring cycle, we can bring this down to a maximum deviation of five microns versus what we see here, we're looking at about 10 microns positive and 10 microns negative, so 20 microns total deviation, what is not acceptable for this type of application. So with this technology you can optimize and create better motion control. Now, we talked about accuracy, now let's talk about speed and CAD CAM influence on our programs and our machine behavior. So, let's say for instance I have to spline interpolation, so I have these four points, and usually my CAM system puts the splines through that, and I get this contour.

Gisbert Ledvon:

However, let's say your CAM system spits out another point for whatever reason, now you're forcing the machine to reach this point. So you're slowing the machine down, then you're accelerating again, and doing this you introducing vibration, you introducing surface quality problems. And so you want to eliminate that, and the way we doing this with the motion control is what we allow the machine to, is creating a tolerance band. And the tolerance band is basically defined by the operator on the control. You can say, "You know I'm doing a rough cut right now, and I have a lot of material left, but I want to go as fast as possible." So, what I'm going to show you here, here's a shape we're going to cut and picture a racetrack, a formula race track. [inaudible 00:21:03] we always go left. But with a track where you going around curves and corners, what is very normal in a five-axis application, right? So you want to go as fast as possible. So we're allowing the machine to move within our racetrack without going over the bumps and the curves.

Gisbert Ledvon:

So, as you can see, the machine is not slowing down. The Heidenhain motion control allows the machine to go as close as possible to the tolerance band we're allowing it to, let's say 20 microns, and it will go as fast as possible. And as you can see, when we come to this corner here, now, we're getting as close as possible to the corner without losing a lot of speed. That means we're gaining and maintaining speed. What also then maintains the chip load. So you're cutting too life is much, much better, your surface quality is better, and certainly your accuracy when you tighten the tolerance later for the finish cut will improve significantly. So, that's what we call Cycle 32. Now, we're allow the machine to do these type of behaviors, but let's say your CAD CAM system throws you another curve ball, and this curve ball could be if you don't know much about your post processor, could be a point distribution like we see here on this part.

Gisbert Ledvon:

So, you have a lot of points and these points are not necessarily important for your CNC control to read. So the Heidenhain control will look at this and say, "Well, out of these points, I need only three. I need this one, I need the one on the top, and then I need the one back here. Everything else I'm going to eliminate." And why is that important? If you can see it on the part down here, I'm machining this part back and forth. I'm going from left to right, from right to left, back and forth. And since I'm always forcing the machine to look at these different points, because my CAM system wants me to, I'm creating these gouging problems on my part. And you can see that on the finished part, when you apply advanced dynamic prediction technology, you see how nicely that part looks like you don't even have that problem.

Gisbert Ledvon:

And if I look on the telescope analysis here, you can see on the left without this advanced dynamic prediction I'm running at 1800 millimeters per minute feed rate. And as you can see here, the machine is slowing down in these areas, what then causes these surface deviations. Versus on the right, it's all running at maximum speed, and then obviously a perfect finish at the end of the day, and that's the part you want to sell. So, if I look at another example here, this is a fan blade mold where you're changing a lot of directions, not only in the X and Y, but also in Z and C. So, as you can see here with these patterns of color, I'm not really maximizing my potential of my machine to going really, really fast. And here on the right, you can really see we're really maximizing our maximum possibility on the mechanics and positioning accuracy of this machine. So I can go up to almost 14% faster by utilizing this. And you can see this also in the surface quality. With a 42,000 RPM spindle speed, 8,000 millimeters a minute feed rate, we can really eliminate a lot of time, but maintaining a good accuracy and our race track tolerance was set to eight microns. So you can see we get really nice results here by maintaining these high cuttings speeds.

Gisbert Ledvon:

So now we talked about the machine, the mechanics, the fundamentals. Now I want to talk a little bit about... everybody talks about the digital twin. And you can get the digital twin, on the CAM system these days. So you can simulate a machine tool on your CAM system. The problem with that is the CAM system doesn't really know how the mechanics of your individual machine tool behaves, because like what I explained before with the motion control, you really controlling every mechanical component from C-axis, to an AB axis, to XYZ to your spindle, you're controlling all that, and you need to have the data to really accurately make any type of accurate time estimates, look at what your tool path is really going to look about.

Gisbert Ledvon:

So on the Heidenhain side we have a different approach. We basically going to the end user, the end customer can come to us and say, "Hey, I have XYZ machine. I'll give you the 3D data. Create for me an actual digital twin." And that's how we do it. We look at all the components, we look at the PLC, how it's written, what speeds and feeds that machine can handle. And what type of measuring systems it's using and based on that rebuilding a really accurate digital twin. Within that, you can also on the machine then have a collision monitor so you don't damage your machine. We'll also simulate that for you before you run the parts, so let's say you have all of a sudden there's a laser tool measure in the way, maybe it's not in your digital twin, the control system will see that also, so you don't have any conditions.

Gisbert Ledvon:

Another new component we have is now what is basically the face recognition for machine tool. You all know from an iPhone these days, so you hold your phone against your face and it recognizes you and off it goes. We have something like that for a setup now. So you have a camera system, it's mounted next to the spindle or in your new pallet changer. You take a picture of the perfect setup, and each picture is stored in a CNC control. Now, when the next pallet comes into the work zone, the control will automatically start the camera, look at the exact position again, and compares that picture to the perfect setup. So in this case down here, you can see somebody left the wrench in this setup. So, the control will tell you, "Hey, there's something wrong. What do you want me to do? Stop the process, or put in another pallet so I can continue with my production?"

Gisbert Ledvon:

So it's very helpful to apply this type of technology to prevent any type of accidents and to ensure a perfect setup. Now, the next component is when I talk perfect setup, I also want to talk about automation. And what is critical by automation, I want to be flexible. Specifically for the smaller jobs, you want to say job number one is more important than job number three, or job number seven is now more important because I have a customer who needs this part right now. So, what we developed is what we call the batch process manager. And it's really cool. Let's say you decide as a shop foreman or an operator that your part number four is more important than pallet number two. So you basically just drag this pallet number two in the front of the line, and you say, I want a machine this next.

Gisbert Ledvon:

What the control will do now, it will look to all the tool tablets, it looks for all the programs and will look to all the datum setups and make sure everything is there for you to run this job. And if it's not, like you see here, you get these notifications. So, maybe the tool line is not long enough anymore, or you're missing a program. So, the machine also calculates them for you. You have about six minutes and 46 seconds before this job is done to have a manual intervention to load your programs up there, to put a new sister tool in. So, you basically have enough time to make sure that this next job runs without the machine stopping at all.

Gisbert Ledvon:

Now, let's say you're running the job and we just stated in the previous presentation, it's important to know what's actually happened with your cutting tool. And we want to make sure we want to know this before we engage in the cutting tool, not when we collect the data of the machine tool to see, okay, now we have a higher spindle load, we better change the tool then by that point you could already destroy your part. So we developed a new vision system for tool inspection. And you can have the system right in your machine tool where we then inspect the cutting edge, the front, the side, and we can also zoom into this and we can do that for every cutting tool and store that information with the tool table. So, we can either lock a tool, or we can say this tool can run another five, 10 minutes before it goes to the other tool, because we know exactly how the cutting-edge looks like, and we can put this information right into our program in the tool table so that we have a flawless run of our productions job without any issues with cutting tools or broken tools.

Gisbert Ledvon:

You can also use this for insert tools. What is sometimes very difficult to inspect? So you can look at the front, you can look at the site, and maybe you just replace one insert and you can inspect if they're mounted correctly, so you don't have any deviation there. So, all these things can be inspected with the system. Now, we talk about the tool, we machined the part, now it comes down to a pre-inspection or inspection before you send that finished part to your quality control. And what we did on the Heidenhain side, we developed a new touch probe technology, what comes down again to accuracy. The first thing is, a lot of people are a little bit afraid when it comes to five-axis machining, when it comes to multi-axis moving around, but you still want to use a touch probe maybe to inspect the part or set up a part.

Gisbert Ledvon:

So, we have a mechanical collision protection, a little bit like your airbag almost. So if you hit something, you don't damage this expensive touch probe, it just swings back, it's spring-loaded, it goes back, you do a recalibration, and you're good to go. And refeeding that information back to the controller so we can monitor that if the touch probe ever had a collision. The other thing we do when we want to talk about accuracy, we want to make sure that we don't transfer any heat from the spindle into the touch probe. So, through this collision protection, we're also eliminating that. Next one we're eliminating is a mechanical switch because the mechanical switch eventually will wear out, and your trigger points are going to be inconsistent. So we're using, again, an optical sensor to do that instead of a mechanical switch, which allows us with a much, much more accurate trigger of the touch probe.

Gisbert Ledvon:

We're also cleaning the workpiece before we measuring, so we included two holes into the touch probe now, so we can blow air or water through there, so you clean your measure where you want to finish. So, you have a fairly good accuracy measurement. And then a couple of other things, a smart standby, so we want to reduce battery life, you want to make sure that the battery is still intact before I leave on the weekends with a click of a button I can check that my battery life is good enough for running over the weekend. The other component we do, it's similar, we just drew it in the previous presentation, we're also offering a monitoring system. So, we combining all the technology from the scales, from the spindle load measurements, running the machine, running the programs, we can extract all that data through the Heidenhain B and C option, or we can use other protocols, MTConnect for example, to collect data. So, it doesn't have to be a Heidenhain control, we can collect that information and put that into analytics. And of course you can do that on a wireless device.

Gisbert Ledvon:

Another function we're including now within the control itself, in the Heidenhain TNC control, some of our OEMs are using this now. They're utilizing the encoder technology and the mechanics they know about their machine to analyze any type of behavior or premature failure of any type of the components they might have, like a bearing, a ball screw, or what have you, a spindle. And we can feed this into an analytics within the control, and then the OEM who makes the machine can set certain parameters before the machine will raise an alarm or send out an error message that you have an overload on your spindle, for example. One thing I want to close up with is something brand new, and I throw this in because this was really developed for bridges and wind turbines, so hear me out. So, this is a digital strain sensor. So, it basically measures the tension of a bridge, and that bridge is overloaded or is getting old. You have these vibrations, all of a sudden it stretches, and with this device you could basically measure this type of stretch and send out an alarm if somebody needs to go and repair the bridge or should at least inspect it.

Gisbert Ledvon:

So it works pretty simple. We're using a rotary encoder in here. We don't have any heat issues because 360 degrees is 360 degrees. We mounting one portion here and the other portion is basically flexible. And then we measuring what's happening if there is tilting or an expansion going on. And then we can measure that. So, what that do for us in the machine tool? Here's an example where we looked at vibration for a machine tool what a pick and place machine. So, we mounted this device on the machine tool, and we also mounted our device on the floor where the machine tool sits on. And as you can see, the floor is divided here, it sits on a separate part. So, you're running the machine, and as you can see here, we are running frequencies of 16,000 Hertz. And if you're looking at this little area here, you can see the behavior when the pick and place machine moves at a certain speed, it will also send these frequencies into the floor, or the floor absorbs it after a certain time period.

Gisbert Ledvon:

So, you can predict how to maybe slow down the machine to avoid any type of vibration, what you might have and then creating accuracies on the cutting tool machine, for example. Here's another example. That's the last example I have. So, here's a customer who makes these mass storage devices where you have very many stories to bring components back and forth, loading, unloading of these shelves, and the problem was he wants to do it more efficiently, he wants to be more competitive. As you can imagine, if I'm picking and placing a couple thousand parts out of the shelves on a given time, every second counts. So what he did, he basically used this type of technology to mount it on this lift, if you want to call it, to see what type of vibration he has. So, if you look at this graph here, we have the dark one, that's the conventional behavior of this lift or this crane, if you want to call it.

Gisbert Ledvon:

So it goes up, it goes to the shelf. Now, as you can see here, it vibrates for eight seconds. So you have to stop the process to be safe before you do another motion, otherwise the thing could fall over or bend over whatever it is. So, by utilizing this technology this ESR 325, now he was able to change the design so that after three seconds or two and a half seconds, the vibration is completely eliminated. So, this allows him now to save six seconds per load and unload on this crane innovative device to load and unload these shelves faster. So, you can imagine something like this, you could use this in the big machine tool. The bridge type machine, you could analyze certain behaviors and optimize the design of the machine tool itself. There's many other applications besides this.

Gisbert Ledvon:

So, that's pretty much it from my side. I just want to finish up to summarize quickly. We talked about motion control, we talked about measuring systems, we talked about the control itself, you want to make sure you have a reliable process in your entire motion control of the machine, so you make good parts even if it's down to lot size one. So you want to have a powerful control, what is reliable reads ahead, make sure you're eliminating any type of disturbances to hold your machine back to get good surface finishes by high speed applications, you want to have capabilities to monitor your machining process, maybe do predictive maintenance. You want to be flexible in the automation, utilizing this batch process manager technology to look ahead what programs are available, and what tools are available for the job. And then we're using fiber optic technology was our new drive technology, so we can feed information very, very high frequency back to the control.

Gisbert Ledvon:

And then certainly you want to measure your part, maybe pre-measure it before you take it off the machine to give it to your quality control system. And then if you do trochoidal milling, you want to make sure you optimize your motion with that as well. So, that summarizes it. So, everything that has to do with motion control comes from Heidenhain, and a little of high-end five-axis machine utilizing this technology now. Some of the three-axis don't need it because they don't need the high accuracy and that high speed, but when you go into high speed and high accuracy, so we'll find Heidenhain controlling motion systems on those products. So, that's for my side. So if you have any questions, feel free to email me or contact me and I can help you out, or you can talk to our applications team here as well.

Stephen LaMarca:

Gisbert, thank you so much for that, and I would just like to tack onto what you were saying. Heidenhain encoders, they're almost the standard when it comes to rotary encoders and accuracy sensors in general for not just machine tools, and you even touched on elevators, lifts, and your use case with wind turbines. But I just want to throw in there and do a little flexing for you that Heidenhain rotary encoders are also used on not just one, but in literally all of the world's most powerful space telescopes. When it comes to making sure that those very expensive and massive telescopes that are trying to reach the end of our universe are looking in the right direction, they're relying on Heidenhain encoders. Just wanted to throw that out there. We do have at least one question, let me minimize this.

Gisbert Ledvon:

Oh, that's easy.

Stephen LaMarca:

No, we've got two now. Nice. So, Jason Jones wants to ask you, "Do you think that CAM solutions should take responsibility to optimize tool path to help distribute the temperature along the ball screws more evenly?"

Gisbert Ledvon:

It's going to be difficult because the CAM system, you would almost optimize every behavior of every machine tool, and load that into your CAM system. If you want to program machine A and B and the different lengths of ball screws, you're going to have different heat behaviors in distributing the heat faster one way or the other. I think you're much better off utilizing linear glass scales because glass doesn't expand as we know, almost nothing. So if you have a glass scale and you mount that on your machine tool, you don't really influence the heat or behavior of the machine. The only thing you're really measuring now, how your machine actually positions. And that feeds it back into the control, so that's a much better way to do it. But I think what is important to touch on the CAD CAM system, what I encourage everybody is talk to your CAD CAM people, and make sure you have the latest post process, because like I just showed you, a lot of new enhancements on the Heidenhain TNC motion control CNC system, there's a lot of new functions.

Gisbert Ledvon:

And I always get across customers who're using a 10 year old post processor, but it still works with the Heidenhain control because we're still using the same language, but you don't get all the new benefits. So, to get back to the CAD CAM systems, make sure you work closely with them to update your post on a regular basis, because otherwise you're missing out on an $800,000 machine tool you just bought, and you're only getting half of what it could do.

Stephen LaMarca:

All right. Well, I actually misspoke earlier, that was our one question. Kyle, do you have anything you'd like to add on? [crosstalk 00:43:57]-

Kyle Saleeby:

Yeah, I was really impressed by some of this technology. That's awesome to see the applications that you have developed. One of the things I was curious in, is how far back can you go with your probing software and your probing technologies, what machines do they work on? How do you guys support older legacy machines and other older systems?

Gisbert Ledvon:

So, what is interesting is we have a lot of people who do retrofits. Let's say you have these old big bridge type machines, and then maybe you have a 30 year old fan control or something else on their, mission control, whatever it is, but the mechanics are still pretty good somehow. And then it's so expensive to remove this machine or even buy a quality machine like this, so people are going and they're hiring our partners to put retrofits in there. They're putting scales on there, they're putting drives on there, they put in the new Heidenhain control on there.

Gisbert Ledvon:

So, as long as the mechanics are good, you can upgrade your machine to 2021 standards. But what we also can do is on the control side, the language we use, and we can't use G-code language, but we're using conversational language in our controls. And these languages go back to the seventies. So when we describe a line on the G01, we say line, and we put XYZ in there and what the feed rate is supposed to be, for example. So, those languages can actually go back to people who ran a machine 20 years ago. They can jump on Heidenhain today to run it on 2021.

Kyle Saleeby:

Okay. That's really interesting. There's clear advantages there for a lot of machine shops that exist in the world with these types of systems.

Stephen LaMarca:

I also really [crosstalk 00:45:45].

Gisbert Ledvon:

Also, for new ones I think that's what is always puzzling to me, that people don't ask necessarily looking at a machine, but they don't ask these specific things. What is underneath the covers? How you're measuring the accuracy, and I think we have to educate the engineers a little bit again, because there's so much buzz around it. "Hey, you can laser compensate a machine." "Yeah, you can, we'll do that." But in the reality what's going to happen when that machine is compensated but now it's in an environment where it's changing dynamically, your compensation is out the window because you don't know exactly what's happening.

Stephen LaMarca:

Yeah.

Gisbert Ledvon:

So, I'll ask that question. I always encourage you there's a lot of machines out there who don't have Heidenhain controls on them, but I know that there's a lot of including Japanese machines when it comes to the high-end products, they're using scales underneath the sheet metal from Heidenhain, because that's how they get the accuracy. So, don't underestimate the mechanical accuracy you need. Don't just look at the outside all the time.

Stephen LaMarca:

Right. Gisbert, thank you so much. That was really awesome.

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Author
Gisbert Ledvon
Director Business Development Machine Tool
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