As more machinists and programmers start using brand-neutral tool selection software for easier workflows, providing digitised product catalogues becomes more vital.
There are so many trends in manufacturing, such as big data, the digital thread, smart manufacturing and Industry 4.0 just to name a few. Keeping track of the latest developments can be a daunting task, but for our users and partners who are programmers and machinists, they simply want easier workflows and more efficient use of their time. What manufacturers really need is basic digitisation.
Digitising Tool Catalogues
Cutting tool vendors tend to struggle with converting all of their real world products and services into a standard digital format that is simple for end users to access and leverage. This is because digitising cutting tool catalogues is a serious undertaking. Companies such as MachiningCloud convert cutting tool vendors’ native data into ISO 13399 and GTC compliant catalogues so that tooling data can be accessed by end users on the shop floor.
Machinists and programmers are not very concerned with how data is made accessible and transferable, but what they do care about is whether information is available and easy to use. Open industry standards make cutting tool data a cinch to use.
Cutting tool data standards emerged so that catalogues and tools can be exchanged freely between applications, databases, and whatever else programmers find useful. An example of such a tool catalogue is ISOPlus, coined for digital tooling catalogues that is compliant with several industry standards, such as:
- ISO 13399
- GTC (Generic Tool Catalog)
This includes product and usage data such as the depth of cut and cutting speeds and feeds needed for CAD/CAM programming and CNC operations. Cutting tool vendors who adopt this can increase their interoperability with commonly used shop floor applications, such as:
- Computer-aided design (CAD)
- Computer-aided manufacturing (CAM)
- Computer-aided engineering
- Tool management software
- Product data management
- Manufacturing resource planning
- Enterprise resource planning
- Other computer-aided technologies and systems
When programmers and machinists use digital tooling catalogues, they can lower the cost of managing cutting tool information and use manufacturing resources more efficiently.
“Customers are expecting easy access for their products in this new age of manufacturing. For cutting tool vendors looking for an edge, the inclusion of their products to digital tooling catalogues is an advantage.”
Cutting on the Cloud
By using a cloud cutting tool application, programmers and machinists can find the product data they need and without using printed catalogues, making telephone calls or checking multiple websites to find appropriate tooling. Digital tool catalogues represents a major shift in the manufacturing industry.
End users report that digital tool catalogues help them:
- Find cutting tools faster
- Make smarter CNC cutting tool selections
- Easily select the right cutting tools
- Quickly create cutting tool assemblies
- Improve cutting tools job management and reporting
- Simplify CNC cutting tool workflow
Compared to traditional methods of cutting tool selection, users can save anywhere from 25 percent up to 75 percent of their time.
Beyond end user benefits, cutting tool vendors that embrace digital catalogues report:
- Improved customer data: Users can transmit communicate with suppliers digitally in the app, thus resulting in better recommendations and product refinements.
- More efficiency: Once a digital catalogue is created, maintaining up-to-date information is much easier.
- More customers: Third-party integration increases reach and exposure since they are present within end-users tool searches.
For cutting tool vendors looking for an edge, the inclusion of their catalogues is an advantage to converting to digital sooner rather than later, as more CAD/CAM programmers continue to use brand-neutral tool selection software.
Customers have begun to expect easy access for their products in this new age of manufacturing. The first step for the digital revolution on the shop floor is for tools brands to start digitising their product data.
Barriers to Easy Data Exchange
Customers should not have to check several apps to figure out whether a cutting tool is out of stock or over budget. Global and local pricing and stock availability data is in-built, but not every cutting tool vendor is available, yet. A universal app for every tool catalogue hinges upon data flowing freely between vendors and a brand neutral platform.
A collaborative approach to digitising tooling catalogues for vendors helps make the free flow of data a standard operating procedure. Leading cutting tool brands such as the Kennametal Group, the IMC Group (Ingersoll, Iscar, TaeguTec) and Mitsubishi, amongst many others, have made their digital catalogues available on brand-neutral, universal platforms such as MachiningCloud, open to the international machining community.
People on the plant floor should adopt solutions that expand their choices and access to any brand’s catalogue data. Users should be able to find whatever tools they need from any brand, whenever they need it.