Lesson 28 Reaching For a Smarter Factory

发布日期:[09-04-21 19:30:15] 浏览人次:[]

Machine tools not only think but readily communicate(沟通). Those are the ambitious(有雄心的,野心勃勃的) goals of research initiatives(初衷) that not only promise a smarter factory, but are already delivering(交付,给与) smart maintenance.

Sept. 1, 2007 -- "Intelligent" and "smart" are words that machine tool makers increasingly use at product introduction time. These days, builders also seem to refer to(提到,谈及) "smart" features as routinely(例行公事) as their traditional claims(主张) of machine tool speed, accuracy and productivity.

So has the age of smart machines truly arrived? "Not yet," says John Kohls, executive vice president of Cincinnati''s TechSolve Inc., and one of the driving forces behind the industry consortium(社团,联盟) known as the Smart Machine Platform Initiative (SMPI). Instead he describes the industry''s piecemeal(粉碎) progress, smart characteristic by smart characteristic, towards that goal. As SMPI director his mission is to help coordinate(调整) and accelerate the evolution toward a new generation of machine tools. "While individual characteristics of the smart machine tool of the future are here now, the goal is to put the pieces together into equipment that can think," he says.

Kohls'' definition of machine thinking is more complex than simple sensor reaction to a machine condition. He adheres to(坚持) the original parameters outlined by the National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST), an early SMPI program participant.

In NIST''s vision, a smart machine:

·Knows its capabilities and condition with the ability to be interrogated(询问),

·Knows how to machine a part in an optimal manner,

·Makes the first part (and every subsequent part) right,

·Monitors, diagnoses and optimizes itself,

·Knows the quality of its work, and

·Learns and improves over time.

Now in the second year of government funding, SMPI grew out of a series of workshops by NIST and the National Science Foundation -- a smart machine workshop in 2000 and a first-part-correct workshop in 2002. The targets: gains in productivity(生产力), declines(下降) in inventory(存货,财产清单) requirements and manufacturing-related product improvements impacting(影响) price, quality and energy efficiency.

In outlining(轮廓) the SMPI''s goals, NIST reports that annual U.S. expenses(开支) on machining operations total more than $200 billion, about 2% of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP). NIST''s vision is for smart systems to complement and enhance the skills of machine operators, process planners and design engineers. By eliminating trial and error-based prototype(原型) development and reducing time to market, NIST sees U.S. builds a competitive(竞争的) proficiency(精通) in mass customization(专用华).

Kohls says total funding for the four-year program is $12.5 million. The funding source: U.S. Army Research Laboratory with its Benét L

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