Machine Tools in the Cloud with Siemens’ MindApps

By Stefan Miksch

Industry Trends

​​Machine tools manufacturers today are faced with a changing world.  They have to face the fact that cloud platforms will play an important role and they have to decide which cloud platforms they want to offer and use with their equipment.  One of the challenges is that there are already numerous cloud offerings on the market from automation suppliers as well as from some machine tool builders themselves.  Machine tools manufacturers are traditionally very conservative when it comes to technical trends as they mostly think of themselves as engineers and not as software experts.  So, the convergence of operation and information technologies (OT and IT) is something they often are not prepared for.  They have to rely on solutions that are available on the market today.  With this many cloud platforms already on offer, machine tools OEMs need to look at solutions that do not tie them to one single supplier, but prefer an open platform architecture, allowing them to integrate solutions and applications from various vendors.

Siemens MindApps

Siemens now offers MindApps for machine tools and motion control systems to be used on MindSphere, the open IoT operating system from Siemens.  The app Analyze MyDrives is designed for drive systems in the field of Motion Control and the app Manage MyMachines/Remote is a plug-in to upgrade the company’s Manage MyMachines MindApp for machine tools with the addition of a smart remote feature.  Digitalizing drive systems or machine tools enables the analysis and utilization of the extensive data generated by the drive or machine.  By connecting to MindSphere, this process can be carried out by the machine manufacturer or user, improving the efficiency of drive systems and machines and boosting productivity across the production network.  This enables innovative digital services such as predictive maintenance, energy data management or resource optimization.  On the upcoming Hannover Messe (23.-27. April 2018), users will be able to experience the apps and gain further insights.

Siemens MindSphere for Machine Tools

Open platforms

Siemens Manage MyMachines directly addresses the needs of machine tools manufacturers to offer their customers new services for remote and predictive maintenance, remote analysis, machine condition and production performance as well as to visualize all necessary information.  Machine tools manufacturers need to consider using such solutions and add to their portfolio if they want to stay competitive in a fast-moving market with a large potential for after-sales services.  Without the need or possibility to become a software expert company, machine tools OEMs have to make use of such IoT platforms, which add to their value proposition.  They should best focus on open platforms to not make themselves and their clients dependent on a single proprietary solution

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