Germany – The basic principle of machine tools has changed very little over the years. Now, in times of “Industry 4.0”, actually only another term for “networking”, the machine tool must be opened up to go digital and communicate says Prof. Dr.-Ing. Christian Brecher from RWTH Aachen University.
Professor Brecher, how must the machine tool of the future change for Industry 4.0?
In our opinion, two aspects are crucial: digitalisation or virtualisation of machine tools and their networking. In the first case engineering will be substantially optimised both through meaningful models of mechanical – i.e. static, dynamic and thermal behaviour – and control technology behaviour (e.g. the drive train or control models). The objective here is to simulate the subsequent machine as far as the process and detect challenges at an early stage.
Networking will have more of an effect on the following operating phase. Future machine tools must contain semantic interfaces in order to provide, for example, process data in high resolution for more in-depth analyses, if possible in real time, or be functionally integrated in networked systems.