Simplifying the exchange of information

The umati (universal machine tool interface) network was launched with the aim of driving digital networking forward by means of universal, standardised interfaces. Lenord + Bauer's contribution to the project is intelligent encoder kits that allow process data to be transferred in a uniform language. This delivers new approaches to condition monitoring.

The umati project partners from the machine tool industry are united by one vision: to enable the machines and automation solutions of the future to communicate with each other across the world using a common language. This reduces the expense of connecting machines to customer IT infrastructures.

Lenord + Bauer is adding its sensor technology expertise to the project. Intelligent encoder kits will offer flexible digital communication protocols and transfer process data in real time. The new MiniCODER generation is a logical extension of the Oberhausen company's i3SAAC product strategy. It features integrated, intelligent and interactive sensors as well as autonomous actuators and controllers that in future will not only deliver measured values or execute movements, but also supply added value by combining internal, filtered and optimised data. Lenord + Bauer is enhancing information density with Edge AI computing: "sensors are beginning to think." The higher-level instance, such as a central control system, receives the required information from the "edge of the network" as targeted data.

The intelligent sensors digitalise the measured values from the drive and enable them to be linked with various points in the CNC, e.g. on the frequency converter. Lenord + Bauer has developed a sensor solution by the name of MC Observer for just this purpose. The data is either transferred directly into the CNC or pre-processed by means of an OPC server. Alternatively, the data can be transferred fully processed directly into the umati language. The signal path of the motor feedback system remains unaffected and the safety requirements are met.

This means that measured values are turned into information that can be used for process optimisation or linked with further signals (e.g. temperature, vibration, radial and axial shaft displacement). That in turn enables comprehensive statements to be made about predictive maintenance.

About umati
Leading machine and control system manufacturers have formed a network with the German Machine Tool Builders’ Association (VDW). Umati was created as an open, freely available standard based on OPC UA (Open Platform Communications Unified Architecture), a collection of specifications for communication and data exchange in the industrial automation sector. The aim is to develop an OPC UA information model as a universal communication interface between machine tools and information systems.

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