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Omative Systems Is Making Standard Machines 'Smarter'

What if a machine could respond to its environment and adjust production accordingly, without the need for manual intervention?

A suite of hardware and software solutions from Omative Systems is proving that it’s possible to increase productivity and extend cutting-tool life by making machines “intelligent.” A demonstration showed the company’s technology dramatically reduced cycle time on standard cutting equipment—the type of machines used by small and medium-sized manufacturers across the country.

Omative’s solutions enable a machine to adapt to changing conditions on its own—reacting to misloaded or new material, and responding to pressure to speed up or slow down its cutting to prevent tool breakage. The steel-cutting demo, completed on the Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (DMDII) manufacturing floor at UI LABS, showed the impact of Omative’s adaptive control monitoring solutions when applied to a Bulova three-axis standard CNC machine.

Using pressure and vibration monitoring, Omative’s hardware allows machines to operate at peak efficiency, speeding the time to make a part, and enabling more part production in a shorter period of time. The demonstration at UI LABS showed a 20 percent reduction in production time, a figure with positive financial implications for manufacturers.

Importantly, this time savings was accomplished without the need for an engineer to manually manipulate the machine’s G-code—the instructions that tell a machine how to operate. When he or she changes those commands, it adds time to the process and can introduce errors.

A typical machine would continue to operate at a steady rate until its cutting tools break from overuse. In contrast, an intelligent machine can respond to pressure—which goes up as tools wear down—to adjust its speed to prolong tool life, saving manufacturers money in replacement tool parts. It can also adapt to misloaded or changed material that could otherwise lead to tool fracture.

While the UI LABS demonstration involved Bulova equipment, Omative’s technology can be applied to virtually any type of machine. Factories across the country stand to benefit from making existing machinery smarter, without the need to replace equipment they already own.



Completing the Circuit: Towards an Integrated Electronics Manufacturing Process at Chicago’s Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute