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New control solution to simplify development of laser machines

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A new integrated control solution jointly produced by Siemens and Scanlab is set to decrease the engineering effort required by machine builders and system integrators when developing laser-based manufacturing systems.

The new solution, which will also increase the performance and processing quality of such systems, will be applicable to cutting, welding, marking, drilling, additive manufacturing and micromachining applications

A demonstrator of the control solution will be exhibited at Siemens’ booth at Formnext 2019 in Frankfurt, Germany, next week.

When building complex laser systems, machine builders and system integrators often have to work with a wide range of OEM components and interfaces. Therefore, when component suppliers such as Siemens and Scanlab work together, the integration effort and number of interfaces required to build such laser systems is reduced.

The new integrated control solution, which according to Scanlab delivers a ‘new approach to controlling laser processing machines’, features Siemens’ Simatic IPC427E Industrial PC, with Scanlab’s RTC6 scan system control board integrated into the hardware platform via APIs, providing a direct connection to the Siemens’ Simatic S7-1500 Software Controller.

‘The PLC software’s functional components make ICE61131-3 conformant programming easy for machine builders,’ said Scanlab in its announcement of the new solution. ‘The common platform gathers all automation tasks onto one device, thus enabling faster queries thanks to fewer interfaces and a joint diagnostics concept. That makes the overall engineering effort more efficient.’

According to the two firms, the demonstrator being shown at Formnext next week will be of interest to machine builders and system integrators looking to use a comprehensive automation approach for their systems.

While a commercial release date of the new solution has not yet been announced, Scanlab told Laser Systems Europe that the two firms are currently looking for additional pilot customers to setup individual machine concepts.

Future development steps for the new solution, according to Scanlab, include the integration of virtual machine concepts for engineering, programming and virtual commissioning, in order to enable preliminary testing assisted by a digital twin.

After Formnext, the demonstrator will be permanently moved to the Siemens Additive Manufacturing Center (AMEC) in Erlangen, Germany.

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