New Partnership Produces Seamless, Accurate Tool Setup and Management System

Shorter setup times and longer tool life for efficient lights out manufacturing are possible due to a collaborative effort between Fastems LLC (West Chester, Ohio) and ZOLLER Inc. (Ann Arbor, Michigan) that seamlessly transfers tool information from ZOLLER's presetting and measuring solutions to Fastems' MMS manufacturing management software for a fully automated tool management operation.

ZOLLER's idChip tool identification system allows tool data traditionally stored on costly RFID chips to be accessed via DataMatrix code when scanned by the company's zidCode 4.0 barcode reader. Once the tool data is captured, it is accessed by Fastems MMS software which manages the entire production process from planning to execution.

Tool information is taken directly from CAD/CAM files and measured reducing the opportunity for error from the outset resulting in shorter setup times, less scrap, and longer tool life, especially during batch runs.

The automated system is completely digital, allowing operators to prove out processes prior to running a job by using digital twins to simulate operations within the MMS software. Once an operation is proven out, a setup sheet is sent to the shop floor communicating all relevant data to the robot(s) to ensure proper tool placement in the right machine.

Additionally, the MMS monitors tool life, ensures tools are assembled correctly, provides warning limits, and stores and communicates information that is too cumbersome to punch in by hand. In the event a particular tool is not present in the MMS software already, a request is sent to the software on the ZOLLER presetting and measuring machine. An operator can then use this information to prepare that tool for production. The two systems work hand-in-hand to prepare the cutting tools for accurate machine tool placement.

"Our partnership with ZOLLER provides Fastems customers with a significantly less expensive and yet more accurate tool management solution for high-mix, low batch production," said Nathan Turner, Vice President Regional, Fastems LLC. "The ability to share thousands of tools that have been preset, measured and proven out prior to manufacturing reduces tool wear even when cutting difficult materials. The right tools are consistently delivered to the right machines at exactly the right time for optimum production in the shortest time possible."

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