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As early as 2014, GROB-WERKE has been intensively involved in the digitization and development of new solutions for production optimization and is a founding member of the industry initiative "Connectivity for Industry 4.0 on Machine Tools" launched by the Verein Deutscher Werkzeugmaschinenfabriken (VDW). Today this initiative has reached new dimensions in networked production under the name umati (universal machine tool interface).

Mindelheim/Hanover.An important milestone for GROB in achieving Industry 4.0 is the topic of "Connectivity" or "Internet of Things" (IoT), a collective term that describes a global infrastructure, which enables networking of physical and virtual objects, allowing them to collaborate through information and communication technologies. GROB-WERKE machines already communicate worldwide via such an infrastructure. It makes it possible to use collected data profitably and therefore improve production support, maintenance, and the entire production logistics. The GROB4Connect software application (manufacturing execution system) specially developed by GROB played a decisive role in the successful networking of all GROB production plant systems and machines.


GROB-NET4Industry expands its portfolio


The GROB-NET4Industry product range has been continuously expanded over the years. The applications allow the areas linked directly and indirectly to machining operations to be organized in a way that optimizes the capacity utilization of top-quality and high-precision machine tools. All areas of production are linked, from production planning, monitoring, and analysis, to visualizing processes during part machining, through to proactive service and maintenance. Some of the current highlights of the portfolio include the new functions and enhancements of the GROB4Pilot, GROB4Track, GROB4Analyze Advanced, and GROB4Line applications.


The interactive and multifunctional GROB4Pilot machine control system makes everyday operation intuitive and convenient for the user, and is available as standard with control systems from SIEMENS and HEIDENHAIN.


GROB4Track can be used to monitor ball screws, which are subject to particularly heavy loads. Components that take a long time to replace in the event of a defect, which results in a downtime of several hours for the machine or system. Thanks to the automated analysis function in GROB4Track, the machine status is known at all times and unscheduled downtimes can be avoided. This allows you to precisely plan preventive maintenance work and initiate spare part orders at the right time. Enhancements for monitoring the motorized spindle that detect tool wear during ongoing processes and enable appropriate quality control will be presented for the first time at this year's EMO; as a result, this control function can now also be used for other machine components.


The GROB4Analyze Advanced application – a tool for evaluating and displaying historical data for the continuous improvement process (CIP) – has been enhanced with the addition of many new functions. As well as the machine report for use on the shop floor, up to ten machines can now be compared in different views. Transparency in production has been redefined.


The functions of remote machine control and acknowledgment of simple error messages have been added to the GROB4Line module – an application for the live display of machine status and notification of downtimes on a smartphone. A gateway is used to secure the transmission of data and its regulation. For example, customers now can specify exactly which data should be transmitted and when, and which data should not be transmitted. This ensures maximum security and enables the use of cloud-based services for every industry.  


GROB – Core partner of umati


How the networking of different companies and machines can look like in practice and how umati machine data can be made usable, will be demonstrated at the EMO by GROB and approx. 50 other machine tool manufacturers, who will show the trade fair visitor live what benefits standardized interfaces can offer. GROB has been a core partner and founding member of umati for more than two years and was significantly involved in the development of its own language for machine tools in order to create the framework conditions together with control partners to make this language as easy to use as possible. Selected GROB machines at the EMO also will be connected to the umati dashboard to demonstrate how these data can be used to generate added value for the customer.