The Digital Manufacturing Centre (DMC), an Additive Manufacturing facility based within the Silverstone Technology Cluster in the South East Midlands, UK, is reported to be the first business to officially adopt Renishaw Central, a new manufacturing connectivity and data platform from Renishaw, across its complete AM and subtractive manufacturing operations. The ongoing close collaboration between the two companies has evolved from Renishaw initially supplying the DMC with AM equipment, followed by several of its metrology solutions, and now the implementation of this digital platform.
“A key focus of the DMC is connectivity – bringing together data from across our processes to ensure customers receive the best possible solution,” stated Kieron Salter, CEO at the DMC. “From improving our efficiency to enhancing part design, our objectives rely on exceptional engineering and the meaningful interpretation of useful data.”
“Renishaw Central enables us to not only connect our Renishaw AM and metrology equipment, but also provides a platform via which we can connect other equipment – like machining systems – to achieve complete end-to-end capability. This plays an important part in helping us realise the potential of additive manufacturing, allowing for the creation of a true Digital Twin and the implementation of advanced algorithms to adapt processes and parts in real-time without human input.”
In hopes of helping to drive the future of AM by realising a fully-connected process chain, the DMC is leveraging actionable data to deliver a step-change in manufacturing capability. Renishaw Central will play a crucial role in this ambition and enable the DMC to embrace Industry 4.0 practices and principles; not only will the platform provide end-to-end manufacturing data capture, but it will also allow the DMC’s engineers to further refine part design and processes by effectively implementing capabilities including predictive analytics and artificial intelligence (AI).
Renishaw Central’s automated data collection brings together information from across the process chain, including AM systems, on-machine measurements, shopfloor gauging and co-ordinate measuring machines (CMMs). It uses process, metrology and device information to provide a single, intricate view of a manufacturing facility’s data, including visualisation and reporting – an invaluable resource for engineers.
This data can then be used in applications for process automation or via Renishaw Central’s new application programming interface (API) to inform product lifecycle management (PLM) and design optimisation, shopfloor monitoring systems and more advanced applications, like using algorithms to establish predictive analytics and the implementation of AI systems.
Through Renishaw Central, the DMC hopes to further improve its production intelligence by using data from all available sources to provide superior control of upstream processes. With end-to-end data collected across a number of operations, cells and time periods, it provides all the necessary information to allow for true continuous improvement. By characterising acceptable process trends and performance, the DMC will be able to predict, identify and correct errors and deviations as quickly as possible.
With shorter feedback loops, Renishaw Central will enable the DMC to react and adjust its processes to increase machine utilisation and reduce waste. Equipped with actionable metrology data from throughout the process chain, the DMC’s design and process engineers will also be able to enhance product design, process performance and resulting part quality.
“Most manufacturers already have access to a wealth of metrology data, but how often is it fully utilised?” asked Jonathan Archer, General Manager, Renishaw. “Renishaw Central helps to employ this data in a meaningful way, providing the right data at the right time to better understand production and facilitate improvements. The DMC has been an important collaborator in developing – and now deploying – Renishaw Central, helping us to address significant pain points within advanced manufacturing.”
“We believe that the DMC is best placed to exploit the platform’s full potential. The facility’s ambition is the practical implementation of connected technologies, AI and the realisation of Industry 4.0 – these rely on the collection and application of data, for which Renishaw Central will play a critical role.”