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CNC machine tools networking solution for intelligent production management



After several decades of development, the related technologies of Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machine tools have gradually matured, resulting in the increasingly fierce competition among machinery suppliers. If they want to break free from the vicious cycle of price competition, product differentiation is the best way to give them a better competitive advantage over their competitors and to earn profits higher than the industry average.
However, conventional CNC machine tools mostly use the closed control systems, which only provide fixed user interfaces and prohibit users to add or change any of the functions. Consequently, machinery suppliers are difficult to enhance equipment functionality and carry out product differentiation through the secondary development. Additionally, Industry 4.0 is changing the production patterns. Manufacturers are all hoping to transform their stand-alone automation equipment into the intelligent factory production. Since CNC machine tools are regard as the important production equipments, machinery suppliers face a major issue in providing network monitoring capabilities for their products.
Advantech’s industrial IoT solutions of CNC machine tools provide a variety of data acquisition modules and industrial-grade panel computers for equipment suppliers to develop production management, intelligent monitoring, cutting tool management and other kinds of applications to optimize machining efficiency, while enabling CNC machine tools to be the networking equipments through Ethernet. By offering WebAccess/CNC software to gather information of various machines to the Cloud platform, managers can not only immediately grasp the device status, but also can analyze the large amounts of collected data in depth to improve the production process and to achieve the goal of intelligent production management.

System Requirement

A Taiwanese professional equipment manufacturer is specialized in manufacturing CNC milling machines and machining centers, and has a reputation inaerospace, wind energy, automotive, electronics, panel and many industries. Although its high-quality machines are favored by international manufacturers, it still feels tremendous pressure and threat from the rise of the red supply chain. The company has always been actively involved in innovative research and development, and recently intended to increase the functionality of their products so as to continuously create better sales results in a highly competitive market. In order to accelerate the completion of the spindle monitoring development project of milling machining center, the company decided to use PC-based operating platform, and to collect accelerometer and thermometer of information by adding computers and data acquisition modules, thereby controlling cutting vibration and spindle temperature to enhance the machining accuracy of the workpieces.
In the early stages of planning, the company had once wanted to adopt business computer as the Human Machine Interface (HMI) but considered that the use of CNC machine tools factory is more demanding environment and is filled with steam and oil vapors, plus the business computer has faster upgrade cycle and can not provide long-term supply guarantees. If taking it as standard part of the new milling machining center might frequently vulnerable to malfunction in the future and can not find the relevant parts to replace or other difficult maintenance problems. Based on a variety of considerations, the company eventually decided to choose industrial grade touch panel computer. Besides, the size and appearance of the new computer must be consistent with the existing scale and character of the machine design so as to incorporate into the CNC milling machine without any incongruity. Since this CNC milling machine will export overseas, complying with international safety regulations and offering global warranty are necessary too.
In addition to upgrading the machine’s functions, the company also wanted to provide complete Turnkey services for customers by Internet of Machines platform. Therefore, it required full-featured online monitoring software to upload the front-end device information to the back-end management system in real time, making users be more efficient to manage machinery and equipment in workshop.

System Description

According to the project requirements, Advantech's CNC machine tools networking solution provided the related hardware and software products for single machine data collection and for network-enabled equipment in the factory. For the spindle monitoring part, Advantech offered an open platform to conveniently develop applicationsand collect equipment information through integrating industrial-grade touch computer PPC-3100 with multifunction data acquisition module USB-4716 and multi-channel isolated thermocouple module ADAM-6018. As for Internet of Machines, Advantech's WebAccess/CNC software allowed machine developers to significantly reduce project development time and easily integrate a variety of device data to create an informational, visualized and intelligent production management system.
Apart from using USB-4716 and ADAM-6018 to acquire accelerometer data and spindle temperature, the PPC-3100, as a HMI, has many excellent features to meet the machining center developers' needs such as providing convenient and user-friendly touch input method to replace the traditional keyboard and mouse, fanless design to avoid inhalation of oil and water vapors to damage computer, having excellent dustproof and waterproof protection through IP65-rating, 10.4 inch size with textured gray-black enclosure to directly embed in the machining center and perfectly match the original machine design, compliant with CB/CCC/BSMI/UL international certifications to meet safety regulations in different countries and thus successfully selling all over the world.

Featuring with browser-based SCADA software and networking equipment platform, Advantech’s WebAccess/CNC provides the real-time monitoring ability for CNC machine tools. It not only has a wealth of CNC software management functions (including: instant machine status, machining program management, equipment utilization analysis, parameter setting compensation, maintenance information, etc.), but also supports a number of major CNC network-type controllers and various communication protocols, enabling the CNC machine tools, HMI computers, I/O modules, Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC) and other underlying devices to all include in this remote monitoring platform for unified management.

Project Implementation

  • PPC-3100: 10.4" Fanless Panel PC with Intel® Atom™ D2550 Processor
  • USB-4716: 200 kS/s, 16-bit, 16-ch Multifunction USB Module
  • ADAM-6018: 8-ch Isolated Thermocouple Input Modbus TCP Module with 8-ch DO
  • WebAccess/CNC: CNC machine networking platform with web-based HMI/SCADA software


A closed system does not have cross-platform versatility. Although it can focus on performing the designated functions without external influences, it can also stifle the cutting edge research and innovation opportunities. Fortunately, Advantech has rich hardware and software products to provide one stop shopping integrated solutions for the underlying data collection or upper management platform, helping CNC machine tools manufacturers to conduct machinery product differentiation design. Our customized services are able to meet customers’ special requirements. The local branches and global warranty make developers timely get professional technical support and manufacturers confidently sell their innovative products to many countries and areas.

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