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Machine Tool IoT Test Bed (EC-IoTTB2017-1003)

Lab Platform Name

Machine Tool IoT Test Bed

Initiating Institute

Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd.


Fair Friend Group


Works Systems, Inc.

Overview and Objectives

The current machine tool industry is undergoing dramatic changes. Machine tool manufacturers find that selling only machine tools generates little profit (50% of machine tool manufacturers in China are making losses), and are in urgent need to find new profit growth points. Machine tool controller manufacturers have a closed architecture (the three largest controller manufacturers include Fanuc, Heidenhain, and Siemens), leading to high secondary development costs for end customers. The maintenance of machine tools is costly and inefficient, leading to low machine tool reliability. The Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF) of numerical control machine tools in China is less than 300 hours (the global average MTBF is 500 hours and the MTBF of excellent machine tools is as high as 1,200 hours). Riding the wave of Industry 4.0, machine tool control develops from stand-alone control to network-based collaborative control, supporting smart factory evolution.

Fair Friend Group partners with Huawei, Intel, Shenyang Institute of Automation, and Works Systems to build the machine tool predictive maintenance test bed based on edge computing. The test bed assists machine tool manufacturers in achieving digital transformation, transforming from device manufacturers to service providers, and creating new profit growth points. Remotely maintaining machine tools helps increase efficiency and reduce costs of maintenance, which further reduces end customers' OPEX.

The industry's machine tool predictive maintenance showcase site is established through the test bed. The test bed receives recognition from the industry, increases the number of incubated solutions from zero to one, and lays a foundation for subsequent large-scale replications. Additionally, machine tools are important elements of a factory. The devices around machine tools, such as manipulators and transmission units, are involved, promoting the development of the solution towards smart manufacturing and smart factory.

Application Scenario

Advanced sensing, network, computing, control, and intelligence technologies are used to detect the status of machine tools, achieving large-scale and large-capacity data exchanges between multiple systems. Whole-process control of each machine tool is implemented, achieving fault self-diagnosis and predictive maintenance.



Expected Outcome

The lab platform collects and analyzes running data of machine tools to achieve status awareness, real-time analysis, fault diagnosis, and predictive maintenance. This benefits both end customers and device manufacturers.

Benefits to End Customers

Predictive maintenance increases reliability of devices, reduces downtime, and improves production efficiency.

If an exception or a fault occurs during machine running, a real-time warning is generated and the fault information can be sent to customers' related personnel by web page or SMS, which can improve efficiency of after-sales service responses.

Benefits to Machine Tool Manufacturers

Sixty to seventy percent of machine tool problems are caused by improper operations or maintenance. Machine tool IoT achieves real-time detection of machine tools, and generates alarms in the case of misoperations and reminders for periodic maintenance. Such proactive services help reduce faults.

The platform is used for online remote programming of devices, program uploads and downloads, software updates, and other operations. This effectively reduces the number of maintenance callouts for after-sales personnel.

The platform collects information about exceptions and faults, and diagnoses and analyzes faults. It can remotely provide services for users and solve simple problems, reducing the number of callouts.

The platform can provide real-time core device parameters to the R&D department, facilitating the development of digitalized, integrated, modularized, and smart products to adapt to industry development trends.

The platform helps improve product differentiation, increase product competitiveness, and promote sales. It also assists machine tool manufacturers in transforming from device suppliers to service suppliers.

Business Benefits

In 2016, the global market size of machine tools was US$117.2 billion, with an increase of 11.2 percent from 2015. There are about 14 million machine tools in the world (1.4 million units in China), and about 1 million machine tools are produced each year (about 250,000 units produced in China).

The global market size of machine tool electronics is US$31.26 billion, and developed countries such as Japan, Germany, and the USA account for over 90 percent of the market share. Of the global market of machine tool electronics, the global numerical control systems account for 63.9 percent (US$19.98 billion), the servo systems account for 12.4 percent (US$3.88 billion), and the control apparatus account for 41.9 percent (US$1.34 billion). In the numerical control field, the top three manufacturers occupy 90 percent of the total market share.

China has held the position of the world's largest consumer of machine tools for 10 consecutive years. During its industrial transformation, China has a huge demand for high-end numerical control machine tools. The machine tool industry in China accounts for one-third of the machine tool industry worldwide, and is expected to reach US$150 billion by 2018. The potential of the machine tool industry market is immeasurable, and the equipment IoT system is the foundation of Industrial IoT. Building the machine tool IoT platform has enormous significance.

Social Benefits

The machine tool, being the "mother aircraft" for industrial production, is one of the core pieces of equipment for the real economy. However, in the context of the development of Industry 4.0, flexible manufacturing emerges, and new modes of production and management impose higher requirements on the machine tool industry. With the rapid emergence of Industry 4.0, the transformation and upgrade of the 'Made in China' brand are accelerating, the demographic dividend declines, and smart manufacturing and digital factory have become the mainstream. Machine tool IoT revitalizes machine tools by connecting them to the network, improves the reliability and service flexibility of machine tools, and promotes the machine control from stand-alone control to network-based collaborative control, supporting the evolution towards smart factory.

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To promote in-depth industry coordination, accelerate innovation, and boost the application of edge computing, six industry entities have joined together to establish the ECC. The ECC is dedicated to advancing cooperation among industry resources from government, vendor, academic, research, and customer sectors, and pushing forward the sustainable development of the edge computing industry.
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