The Swiss VPT (Vereinigung für angewandte Produktionstechnik) and the German VDW (Verein Deutscher Werkzeugmaschinenfabriken) will work together in the future to standardize the exchange of information with production machines. The two associations announced this in the run-up to the Industrialis trade fair. A corresponding declaration was signed on December 06, 2018.
“VPT unites machine manufacturers and operators in its ranks, both of whom have a great interest in a simply functioning exchange of information between the machines and higher-level IT systems,” says Dr. Jürg Krebser, President of VPT. They need the machine information to optimize their products and production processes. “Non-manufacturer-specific data formats should make access to this information more difficult,” Krebser continues.
VPT has taken this as an opportunity to launch the ProdNet program in 2016. As part of its activities, it aims to develop cross-industry solutions for using digitization opportunities and has already carried out preliminary conceptual work and created concrete foundations in a number of key areas.
To solve this task, the VDW has developed the umati interface (universal machine tool interface) together with eight machine tool manufacturers and presented a prototype in Stuttgart in September this year. Two Swiss companies are also involved in the project group. Andreas Rauch, Head of Digital Business at GF Machining Solutions says: “Thanks to the open cooperation, the topic-specific preliminary work of the ProdNet consortium can be transferred to the standardization project of the VDW. ProdNet also contributes its dense network of members, which can check the umati interface at an early stage and thus identify risks”.
Both initiatives enable a quick achievement of the common goals. With their contribution, the participating companies can not only help shape machine digitization, they also secure access to technological competence at the forefront.
Other associations under the umbrella of the VDMA (German Engineering Federation) are doing similar work in their respective sectors. Here, the VDW is involved in order to make umati usable for other mechanical engineering sectors as well.
“It is thanks to the initiatives in Germany and Switzerland that machine manufacturers are working together operationally with this intensity for the first time. This is a cultural change. The momentum from this is to be used to intensify cooperation across national borders and also to involve customers in shaping the new forms of cooperation,” adds Lorenz Zellweger, initiator and branch manager of VPT.
Authors: Lorenz Zellweger, VPT/ProdNet and Dr. Alexander Broos, VDW