Simulation Propels Machining Education
Why shouldn’t machinists train like pilots – with a simulator that eliminates real-world risk to people, machines and parts?
This is precisely the idea behind the Hexagon Machine Trainer (HMT) from Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence. The computerized HMT kiosk offers an ideal showcase for how the same technologies that drive production can also be employed for other, seemingly unrelated ends – in this case, education.
Complete with attached CNC panel, hand wheel, tower indicator and even coolant animation and machine noises, this multi-function training system emulates the real-world experience of anything from the latest multi-function machine tool to a simple three-axis mill. With an optional joystick and software addition, that experience also extends to CMMs. This is possible thanks to the “digital twinning” technology underlying the company’s NCSSIMUL software, which uses G-code and kinematic models of specific machine tools to ensure that metal-cutting (and measuring) simulations accurately predict reality.
Train the Next Generation
In this case, the software is employed not to prove out programs in virtual space before cutting metal, but to train the next generation of programmers and operators on a wide variety of equipment at minimal cost. Capable of running on 120V power, HMT is designed to be well-suited for non-industrial settings.
Schools, industrial training centers and other educational facilities benefit from capability to provide a modern, complete experience – including tool setup, G-code-program transfer, simulated alarm situations and more – on newer, more sophisticated equipment than might otherwise be available.
‘Hands-On’ Professional Training
At the recent IMTS exhibition Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence presented its new patented HxGN Machine Trainer. Taking the initiative from the training of professionals in other critical occupations, such as commercial pilots, Hexagon has created a ‘hands-on’ professional training solution for 3 and 5 axis machines, Mill-Turn and Coordinate Measuring Machines that is ‘hands-off’ the expensive physical equipment.
The HxGN Machine Trainer offers a new and unique operator programmer training method imagined and developed by Hexagon. Thought of like a flight simulator and certification tool, dedicated to CNC machining and CMM machines, the program is based on the new generation of NCSIMUL intelligent simulation software, which is a perfect combination of software and hardware, efficient, practical, and easy to learn.
Learning is Modernised With The CNC Simulator
The business motivation behind the HxGN Machine Trainer was to provide real-world training for the next generation of operators and programmers. The Machine Trainer can significantly benefit colleges and industrial training centers. In the post pandemic world, where skilled personal are increasingly difficult to recruit, training is now critical to ensuring a supply of qualified manufacturing personal. The HxGN Machine Trainer eliminates the risks of training on a physical machine, ensuring machines remains in production, while also reducing the risks of machine crashes as a result of inexperience. HxGN Machine Trainer will allow a faster progression for newly qualified talent in the manufacturing job market.
The HxGN Machine Trainer is positioned between classroom computer training used to teach theory and the real machine environment.
HxGN Machine Trainer provides the perfect illustration of Industry 4.0 digital thread application to the shop floor operation. As a standard, it includes machining instruction documents and G-code machining programs transfer, in order to define tool set-ups directly on the control panel and prepare for machining. After virtually machining various practical work scenarios, the student will control the part with the Metrology option. Machining and inspection reports, automatically generated, as well as OEE rates will be available for analysis as a part of the continuous improvement process.
The HxGN Machine Trainer offers a compact footprint and is scalable to allow training on a variety of machines. Supported CNC include HEIDENHAIN and SIEMENS control & panel emulator with simulation driven through the physical user interface. The Machine Trainer provides a real machine user experience with handwheel, control panels, tower indicator, coolant animation and machine acoustics.
Through the I++ Simulator software, the HxGN Machine Trainer hosts a wide selection of CMM digital twins, of different sizes and brands, to simulate their mechanical design. I++ Simulator, like a real CMM, will receive operating instructions from a 3D Metrology software, such as PCDMIS or QUINDOS. Through its communication protocol, respecting to the I++DME standard, I++ Simulator can also
collaborate with other solutions available on the market.
For more information: www.hexagonmi.com