Jump to content

How to simplify manufacturing

We sat down with Magnus Malmström, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of Sandvik Manufacturing Solutions to talk about how we can simplify manufacturing.

How will digitalization help companies within the manufacturing industry?

Digitalization is transforming the manufacturing industry, but it's important to approach it with care. Digitalization projects can be expensive, and if they don't lead to clear business improvements, they can cause frustration and skepticism within a company.

Many manufacturing businesses have made progress in digitalizing their administrative operations, but there's still a lot of potential on the production floor itself. Instead of just talking about digitalization, it's more accurate to discuss the concept of the "smart factory” and “use software for process optimizing”. The term "digitalization" may not fully capture the current state of component manufacturing, where software is already prevalent but often not connected into cohesive digital processes.

Take, for example, CAD/CAM software, which is widely used in the industry. By enhancing this software with semi-automated digital processes that always simulate and optimize machine instructions or the path of an in-machine measurement probe before actual production, companies can allow for more time for human creativity but also a more reliable production planning.

One of the key trends in the industry is the wish for more automated workflows that bridge the gap between office management and the shop floor. These areas are often disconnected, but by integrating them through data, companies can significantly enhance efficiency.

At Sandvik, we see great potential for our customers to use Generative AI as a tool to support our customer’s workforce, taking over routine tasks and freeing up employees to focus on more creative endeavors. We envision functions similar to co-pilot to provide recommendations, reducing the number of manual interactions with software, and even offering alternative strategies to workers.

In conclusion, a seamless and adaptive user experience through interconnected systems and the strategic use of AI are set to be major driving forces in elevating factories to the level of smart factories. These advancements will not only improve efficiency but also enable a more creative and innovative manufacturing environment.

How are we supporting customers on their digital transformation journey?

We are actively supporting customers on their digital transformation journey by offering innovative software solutions tailored to their specific needs and challenges. Through collaborative partnerships and ongoing activities, Sandvik is committed to ensuring that customers can effectively leverage software to optimize their operations and drive sustainable growth.

It's critical to address the issue of data silos, and lack of modern interfaces, which currently lead to inefficiencies and limit the creative potential of our workforce.

For us, it's imperative that our products provide a seamless user experience, allowing our customers to benefit from smooth integration between different systems and unlocking innovative ways of working. Our commitment to an open ecosystem ensures that even key systems from third-party vendors can seamlessly interact with ours.

Achieving this level of integration requires key components: ensuring data interoperability so that different systems can communicate effectively; integrating data to provide a unified view; utilizing analytics to derive insights; maintaining robust data security; and fostering cross-functional collaboration.

We facilitate this collaboration through our established way of working and, specifically, through our collective intelligence community. This organizational platform allows us to harness and align our vast manufacturing knowledge and customer insights.

Ultimately, freeing up the flow of data is crucial for advancing the next generation of CNC automation and closed-loop manufacturing, setting the stage for seamless manufacturing flow.

What is Loop manufacturing and what are the benefits?

Closed-loop is like having a smart, self-correcting system for making things. Imagine you're baking cookies using an oven that checks how your cookies are doing and automatically adjusts the temperature or time to make sure they come out perfect every time, even if the dough or your oven is a little different each day.

In manufacturing, closed-loop means that machines make parts and then measure them to see if they're just right. If something is off, the system makes changes to the process to fix any issues for the next parts. Closed loop manufacturing gives a future state direction, and stepwise Sandvik will continuously enable loops where human repetitive tasks will be minimized.

We believe that seamless experience supports advancements in loop systems are the next phase, moving us toward semi-automated processes. Still humans are key to deciding and guiding on e.g. machining strategies and can by reducing repetitive task it will empower unleashing human creativity.

These loop processes would for instance use specialized metrology software and other connected hardware to adjust machining based on quality like in the oven example above. They might also utilize a 'digital twin'—a virtual model of the machine connected to the Internet of Things (IoT)—which can sense issues like unusual vibrations and stop the machine to prevent mistakes.

Step-by-step, loops with human assistance into closed-loop systems are expected to make our factories smarter and more efficient.

How is software beneficial for customer sustainability?

Software plays a crucial role in enhancing customer sustainability by enabling streamlined operations, efficient resource management, and data-driven decision-making.

Through software solutions, customers can optimize processes, reduce waste, and minimize their environmental footprint, ultimately contributing to long-term sustainability goals. Additionally, software facilitates better monitoring and analysis, empowering customers to track their progress towards sustainability targets and adapt strategies accordingly.

Digitalization provides several of the following benefits.

  • Enhanced Transparency: It offers complete supply chain visibility, helping companies monitor the environmental and social impacts of their products.
  • Design for Sustainability: Digital tools enable the development of products with sustainability in mind from the start, supporting practices like recycling and reducing waste.
  • Loop Processes: These processes keep resources in use for longer, minimizing environmental footprints by conserving materials and reducing waste.
  • Process Optimization: Digital tools like our VERCUT software optimize production by reducing cycle time, leading to energy savings and less resource use, benefiting both the environment and the bottom line.

Overall, digital manufacturing leads to more transparent, efficient, and resource-conserving production practices, contributing to a greener industry.How Sandvik helps companies simplify manufacturing with digital solutions.

By leveraging digital technologies, companies can implement feedback loops or closed-loop systems to enable remanufacturing, refurbishing, or recycling products, which can extend their useful life, reduce waste, and improve overall sustainability performance.

How is data connected to the different parts of manufacturing?

Overall, data connectivity and interoperability are critical enablers to establish digital thread and steps wise bring innovations into loop manufacturing that will allow different parts of the process to interconnect, monitor, verify-outcome and optimize.

It is essential for our products to plug in well into our customer eco-system and architecture through data interoperability enabled by emerging capabilities such QIF, PMI and Model-Based Definition. This will allow our customers to create a digital thread with the positive effect of becoming even more competitive. A seamless flow of data empowers the use of Generative AI or Digital Twin concepts.

Sandvik is therefore building knowledge-products to support transitioning from data-products gradually. We plan by mid 2024 to release pioneering AI technology to empower our customers to use our products to improve operational efficiency and generate creative solutions.

How are you working to integrate Sandvik’s different offerings to simplify for customers?

Sandvik is at the forefront of merging the digital and physical realms within the manufacturing industry by trending towards a digital twin of a cutting tool, insert, holder and its assembly. This innovative approach allows Sandvik to provide its customers with trusted machining recommendations.

One key aspect of digital tool recommendation is to help in the selection of tools and methods.

This digital assistance leads to a reduction in costs and waste, an improvement in product quality, and a decrease in energy consumption. Making informed decisions about which tools to use—and in what sequence—can significantly impact the manufacturing process. The right choices minimize machine wear and conserve materials, which is beneficial for both the environment and the bottom line.

Given that Sandvik Coromant alone offers approximately 60,000 different tools, each with multiple potential applications, digital guidance is especially valuable. It is particularly helpful for machine operators who may have less experience. Digital tools can simplify the process of choosing and using the correct tool for a specific job.

Additionally, Sandvik's CAD/CAM software brands, which include Mastercam, Cimatron, and GibbsCAM, as well as the simulation and optimization brand CGTech, are all interconnected through a digital interface. This interface provides easy access to a 'digital shadow'—a virtual representation of the physical tools. With just a click, operators can access all the information they need about a tool, For example,

What is the future of manufacturing?

The evolving economics of manufacturing and distribution, coupled with changes in what consumers want and the rise of intelligent products, are prompting manufacturers to investigate innovative approaches to generating and retaining value.

The pace of technology adaptation to manufacturing isn't as rapid as one might expect due to several factors:

  • Legacy Constraints: Many manufacturing companies operate with outdated systems, machinery, and processes that are not easily adaptable to new technologies.
  • Skill Shortage: There is a notable lack of skilled professionals who can manage and implement the new digital technologies effectively.
  • Vendor Limitations: Some vendors do not provide solutions that are ready to use or lack data interoperability, making it difficult for companies to integrate new digital tools.
  • Patience: Reliable manufacturing processes is not just clicking a button. It requires sometimes a failed start, but through continuous improvements and optimizing to necessary adjustments to enhance efficiency and productivity.

Despite these challenges, there is clear progress in the digitalization of administrative functions within manufacturing companies. There's also a growing demand for increased digitalization and automation on the shop floor, as companies begin to recognize the benefits.

Technological advancements in automation, heightened awareness, and industry-wide collaboration are likely to accelerate this trend. In addition, we will be faced with the potential of spatial computing (Apple Vision Pro/Meta) and the new form of robotic bots, such humanoid bots, which is anticipated to be used in stepwise and by 2030 Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) standards is becoming increasingly important.

In summary, thanks to automation we unleash human creativity when our engineers are able to go into less monotonous activities and innovation in the industry means that profitability and quality will go up.

We would like your consent

Sandvik and our vendors use cookies (and similar technologies) to collect and process personal data (such as device identifiers, IP addresses, and website interactions) for essential site functions, analyzing site performance, personalizing content, and delivering targeted ads. Some cookies are necessary and can’t be turned off, while others are used only if you consent. The consent-based cookies help us support Sandvik and individualize your website experience. You may accept or reject all such cookies by clicking the appropriate button below. You can also consent to cookies based on their purposes via the manage cookies link below. Visit our cookie privacy policy for more details on how we use cookies.