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ICT Powered Machining Software Suite

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - MC-SUITE (ICT Powered Machining Software Suite)

Reporting period: 2017-04-01 to 2018-09-30

The advances in the Information and Communication Technologies are revolutionizing our everyday life. However, the manufacturing industry does not yet take complete advantage of this huge potential. Using the latest ICT developments, MC-SUITE European project wants to boost the productivity of the manufacturing industry. “MC-SUITE project proposes a new generation of ICT enabled process simulation and optimization tools enhanced by physical measurements and monitoring that can increase the competence of the European manufacturing industry,” says project coordinator Jokin Muñoa from the Spanish research centre IK4-IDEKO. In the trend to industry 4.0 the Cyber-Physical Systems empowered by Cloud technologies allow having a digital twin of the real machine that operates in the cloud platform and to simulate the process with an integrated knowledge from both data-driven analytical algorithms as well as other available physical knowledge.
The MC-SUITE project complements science with innovation to propose new software frameworks which can collect information from multi-monitoring devices as turnkey technologies to improve the machining process. The participation of industrial partners, both SMEs and large companies from ICT and industrial sectors, ensures that the project directly impacts on a wide range of industries such as metal part manufacturing and machine tool industry. The MC-SUITE project has the opportunity to produce a new breakthrough in the productivity of the European manufacturing industry.
MC-SUITE is made of six modules:
- MC-Virtual that simulates the machining process
- MC-Optim that optimizes the machining process
- MC-CyPhy that implements Cyber-Physical System on the machine tools to reduce vibrations
- MC-Bridge that improves machine tools productivity in real-time
- MC-Monitor that collects machine and process data to upload them to the cloud
- MC-Analytics that provides advanced and interactive visual analytics dashboards for machine tool users
Depending on their needs, SMEs can select the most beneficial MC-SUITE module for their application. For example, MC-Monitor is sufficient to know the status of the workshop at any moment. If the user wants to go further, MC-Analytics provides interactive analysis production dashboards.
Depending on their needs, SMEs can select the most beneficial MC-SUITE module for their application. For example, MC-Monitor is sufficient to know the status of the workshop at any moment. If the user wants to go further, MC-Analytics provides interactive analysis production dashboards.
MC-Virtual allows simulating the physical milling process. This virtual counterpart includes a cutting force evaluation, stability prediction & surface finish visualization, and helps the process planner to guarantee a correct realization of the first workpiece. Using that simulation, MC-Optim proposes optimum cutting conditions to reduce the machining time while controlling the cutting forces.
Finally, MC-CyPhy introduces three Cyber-Physical Systems to increase the machine productivity. Two of them, Spindle Speed Variation algorithm and the active damping system are developed to improve the chatter stability. The Chip Breaking System reduces the chip length and allows uninterrupted production. MC-Bridge automatically detects high machining vibrations and tells the operator which Cyber-Physical System should be activated.
We are confident of the good impact that MC-SUITE can have in the European manufacturing industry and we hope that our solutions will soon contribute to help this sector to embrace the full opportunities of the digital revolution. Indeed, MC-SUITE technologies have been applied to four industrial demonstrators:
- For the sports car industry, MC-Virtual allowed simulating the machining process to ensure getting it right the first time. Thanks to this physics-based simulation, MC-Optim could increase the feedrate in the portion of the program where the cutting forces were low. With the optimized program, the tool is protected from high loads and the roughing time has been reduced by 8%. Then, during the milling operation, MC-Bridge could automatically detect chatter vibrations and propose better cutting conditions in real-time.
- For the heavy-duty machining industry, MC-Monitor collected the main production variables such as the program name, block number, tool, feedrate, spindle speed, machine overrides… With this information the production manager could know the production status at any moment. Then, MC-Analytics showed where were the possible productivity improvements based on the analysis of different executions of the machining programs. Thanks to this information, the production manager could increase the machine productivity by 10%.
- For the energy industry, the active damping system from MC-Cyphy doubled the material removal rate of a milling operation of difficult-to-cut stainless steel. By suppressing chatter vibrations and allowing higher depth of cuts, the active damping system increased the productivity by 14%. Apart from that, the analysis of tool breakages by MC-Monitor and MC-Analytics spotted specific zones where the tool path geometry had to be improved.
- For the internal boring operations with long boring bars, MC-SUITE addressed two major issues of the machinist with MC-CyPhy. First, the chip breaking system reduced the chip length to avoid chips jam and allow a continuous production. Second, an actively damped boring bar has been tested.

The MC-SUITE products have been presented to the machine tools customers in the international EMO machine tool fair of Hannover in September 2017 and in the BIEMH machine tool fair of Bilbao in June 2018. There was a high interest amongst the potential customers and several clients already bought the MC-SUITE technologies. MC-Monitor has been sold on more than 25 machines, 17 of which are also integrating MC-Analytics dashboards. MC-CyPhy is on 40 machines and 23 of them are adding the MC-Bridge functionalities. MC-SUITE is expecting to expend the exploitation even further in the coming years.