New functions that increase the efficiency of manufacturing processes, improved ergonomics and greater ease of use are some of the advantages offered by the new intelligent interface developed by the machine tool manufacturer SORALUCE. This flexible working environment adapts to the user’s needs and means operation times can be reduced.

The new solution will be presented in Germany during the TECHNOLOGY DAYS event which runs from 12 to 16 November at BIMATEC SORALUCE, the manufacturer’s Centre of Excellence in the city of Limburg.

The interface, called SORALUCE Smart HMI, is presented on a 24-inch wide-format touch screen. The solution is based on a new display which is compatible with the Heidenhain TNC 640 control. The system allows additional information to be displayed in an area of the screen adjacent to the control panel, increasing the information available to the operator. The display of this adjacent area can be alternated with the full screen option, allowing a more detailed display.

In this new display area, SORALUCE has incorporated different applications aimed at making the machine operator’s task easier by having new functions accessible from a single working environment. These include applications for the display of plans, documentation relating to the machining process, calculation of working conditions, access to user manuals or display of the work area through fixed cameras operated by users themselves, all visible in parallel with the program in execution.

The main advantage of this development is that users can see the operations the machine is performing at the same time and in the same environment in which they consult, for example, 3D plan viewers, alarm management or the level of energy consumption”, says the specialist Jesús Álvarez, Head of the SORALUCE Digital Platform.

Thanks to this device - which is more intuitive, ergonomic and easy to use - job times are reduced, and the efficiency of the overall process is increased.

One of the most notable applications that SORALUCE has incorporated into its Smart HMI is the function of editing programs simultaneously with the manufacturing process. This application means that it is possible to execute a manufacturing program in the control area at the same time as editing another program in the new enlarged section. “Until now, the screen for editing programs alternated with the screen for displaying the process being executed. It was not possible to view both screens simultaneously, which restricted functionality for the user. This new feature provides users with a very significant benefit as it brings more agility and efficiency to the processes”, adds Álvarez.

A world of applications

The new interface - together with SORALUCE’s Data System platform, an analysis tool that extracts valuable information from the data generated by the machine and monitors its status to ensure the best possible performance of the machining processes - displays information in the user’s work environment regarding alarm management, machine usage, energy consumption or machine maintenance.

Within the Smart HMI, SORALUCE has also incorporated applications which it has developed itself. These include Indexmill software for calculating the work plane, useful for generating the machining program. Also included in the interface is the Interpolation post-processor, exclusive to SORALUCE, which calculates and generates the chuck trajectory interpolation program for multiple surfaces. Another of the applications offered is VSET which focuses on the alignment of parts being machined.

The new HMI also offers access to an external PC connected through Remote Desktop where, in addition to the applications offered, users can customise direct access to their applications.

SORALUCE has also developed new functionality on Heidenhain’s own CNC screen, using programmable keys such as custom diagnostic masks and help graphics for manufacturing cycles.

These utilities have been designed to simplify the most frequent operations, recover procedures after machine interruptions, facilitate diagnostic functions through customised masks and improve ergonomics”, adds the expert.

The new solution will be presented together with other digital developments during TECHNOLOGY DAYS, an event which is now in its eighth year and where SORALUCE will present their latest innovations aimed at increasing customers’ competitiveness by incorporating the latest advances in industrial digitalisation.

Held at BIMATEC SORALUCE, the Basque manufacturer’s Centre of Excellence in Germany, the event is a meeting point for the sector’s key specialists and manufacturers.