CoroPlus will give manufacturers the chance to use big data for better accuracy in all steps.
Industry 4.0 is here, but not quite all the way. Although the automotive industry has employed connectivity, remote monitoring and intelligent use of data for years, the manufacturing industry has been waiting for something that can help it take the next step into the future. CoroPlus® has the potential to be that something.
CoroPlus is a combination of sensors, tools, connectivity, algorithms, the cloud and data analysis. The separate parts have been around for some time, but as with most innovations, it’s the combination that makes it unique.
“CoroPlus improves the manufacturing process, cuts costs and reduces waste – all factors that truly affect the bottom line,” says Mats Lindeblad, business development manager – digital machining, at Sandvik Coromant. “Simply stated, enterprises that use the new cyber-physical technology early will have an easier ride into the future, and many manufacturers are getting prepared.”
Lindeblad says that CoroPlus actually allows the manufacturer a greater understanding of the entire manufacturing process. CAM programmers gain access to both intelligence and accurate data when selecting tools, tool paths and cutting data; operators can monitor machines remotely and use data intelligence from the machining process to increase performance and avoid wear and breakage. This in turn results in higher quality, less scrap and faster throughput. In addition, cloud solutions allow for regular updates of functions and solutions without physical support. This speeds up the process and ensures that the customers always have the latest solution.
When Sandvik Coromant launched CoroPlus at the international manufacturing events IMTS, AMB and Bimo this fall, the interest was overwhelming.
“One of the intelligent tools we demonstrated at IMTS was a Silent Tools boring bar that had a length of 2.5 metres and a diameter of 120 millimetres,” says Åke Axner, global product manager – machine integration, at Sandvik Coromant. “Just imagine that beast in action, inside a component. You don’t see anything in there, such as a broken cutting edge. The sensors on the boring bar will tell you exactly what you need to know: centreline accuracy, vibration, when it’s time to change the insert and much more. Centre height adjustment is easily performed by a slight rotation of the bar.
“Many manufacturers have been waiting for connected tools that can help them utilize collected data and optimize their processes through intelligent machining, but we haven’t had the tools for it until now,” Axner continues. “We still don’t have it available for purchase, but our customers are truly interested. However, they will have to wait until the second half of 2017 before they can benefit from the whole CoroPlus concept.”
Silent Tools™ and CoroBore® are the first tool concepts with integrated CoroPlus intelligence. The Sandvik Coromant plant in Trondheim, Norway, has played a central role in the development of the new generation of Silent Tools. Sandvik Coromant has shown that intelligent features really work in these concepts and that CoroPlus delivers all the promised benefits. So why do the manufacturers have to wait until next year to purchase it? Axner explains that the complexity in this new concept requires so much more than just attaching sensors to a tool and extracting data from it. Sandvik Coromant is working on high-level agreements with a number of partners that must be made final before CoroPlus is launched.
“There are quite a few things that have to be in place before we can install CoroPlus for our customers,” says Axner. “Ensuring cyber security for our customers and straightening out any data ownership issues are two areas we’re working on.”