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Tools are heading into the cloud

Networking was the central theme of the TDM User Day 2017

"Industrie 4.0 has failed!" With this provocation, Anders Lindh, president of the newly formed CODE business unit at Sandvik Machining Solutions, surprised us all. After all, CODE stands for the exact opposite: Center of Digital Excellence. What Lindh meant, however, endeared him to the crowd of more than 120 participants at this year's TDM User Day: "We don't want to overwhelm or overload our customers with multi-million dollar projects. We want to join the digitalized world in small, pragmatic and individual tailored steps and then gradually build on them – with tangible success on both sides."

It could be worth it: Lindh promises at least a 15 percent reduction in TCO, the Total Cost of Ownership – with the potential for far more. The software specialist for Tool Data Management from Tübingen, TDM Systems GmbH, plays a central role here. TDM Systems' managing director, Peter Schneck, was able to report that his company, as part of the Sandvik initiative, is being promoted to a Center of Excellence accompanied by considerable investments into manpower and resources.

The result: Entry-level tool management solutions are heading into the cloud. Vice PresidentSales Eugen Bollinger presented TDM Cloud Line as the third version of the TDM next generation product range. This will make the introduction to Tool Data Management easier for potential users, including small businesses, because the cloud stores not just data – that provided by TDM as well as your own – but also the complete program as a software-as-a-service-solution.

"That means that users will need nothing but a computer with an internet browser to get going," Bollinger promises. Transitioning to TDM 2017 or TDM Global Line is possible at any time without problems since the underlying technology is identical. All versions are further developed in parallel. Therefore the new version of TDM 2018 will be released in time for the AMB machine tool trade show in Stuttgart, Germany in September 2018 and it will include multiple new interfaces as Patrik Nellinger, head of CAM Integration at TDM Systems, has revealed.

Product manager Volker Schwegler also had news: This is how the TDM Shopfloor Manager and TDM Machine Process Control (MPC) modules for TDM Global Line bring maximum transparency to the production level: "Every user can arrange their own working environment for daily work with our apps. In future, we will manage workplaces via cost centers, thereby ensuring cost transparency."

TDM Systems is also investing heavily in its service provision. According to the head of the service department, Harald Kaiser, the national and international service network is permanently being expanded. More employees in China, Malaysia, Tübingen and the USA have been hired and trained. Another service center was opened in India. "We train our own employees intensively to gain more performance capacity from our own ranks; but we are especially investing in our remote and online services." Whole days of training are not in demand anymore anyway; instead, support is available exactly when it is needed. This is why TDM Systems is permanently producing, for example, new educational videos and webinars for the TDM Virtual Academy and offers "Know How on Demand" services.

The TDM User Day was a guest at the GROB-WERKE in Mindelheim, Germany. Our host and head of the universal machines sales department, Peter Hermanns, named some impressive figures describing the strong growth of GROB over the last few years. To continue to maintain this high level over the coming years, the company, which is firmly established in the automotive industry, has created a new division for e-mobility which is largely dedicated to assembling electric motors and batteries.

Digitalization is playing an increasingly important role at GROB as well. Emil Nigl from the GROB-NET4Industry department states that self-learning systems that have recently been publicized in the media are still quite some way away. The most important task is to put communication, i.e. networking, between all current and older generations of machines into practice, to change Industrie 4.0 from hype to reality. This is what Grob is intensely working towards on all levels.

The range of current possibilities was demonstrated by displaying the use of TDM 2017 at Test-Fuchs, manufacturer of testing equipment for airplane components, and Husky, manufacturer of machines for producing PET bottles and hot runner systems. While Dino Velagic reported on the introduction of TDM as part of building the new Test-Fuchs shopfloor, Manfred Grundheber had a production cell for hot runner systems on show, the tools of which are managed with TDM. Both of them mentioned that the on-time supply of tools to the machines had drastically improved and that costs had been reduced. Husky is already planning the next production cell with TDM software.

TDM User Day 2017
Over 120 tool data specialists took part in TDM Systems' User Day at the GROB-WERKE in Mindelheim and discovered how tool data and management are heading into the cloud.
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