Fastems Manufacturing Management Software (MMS) Now Masters Advanced Workpiece Handling

During AMB, Fastems will introduce a new version of its Manufacturing Management Software (MMS) which, in addition to pallet handling in machining automation processes, now includes new features for advanced workpiece handling.

Fastems’ MMS is a powerful solution for planning, forecasting, controlling, visualizing and monitoring automated manufacturing. The software plans the production in real time based on production orders which can be read in directly from an ERP or PPS system and forecasts its completion based on the current order and production situation and availability of resources like materials, NC programs or tools.

So far, MMS has been available exclusively for pallet-based manufacturing and scheduling the work queues of standalone machinery, but Fastems has now introduced a new software version during AMB and IMTS that provides groundbreaking features for highly efficient part handling. The MMS can be used, for example, for robot cells for loading and unloading single or double-spindle lathes or horizontal and vertical milling centers. In addition to this, with the new version of the MMS, a wide variety of downstream processes for parts handling, such as washing, deburring, engraving, etc., can be planned, controlled and monitored.

Proven features for part handling too

Users of MMS can fall back on the well-known and proven features such as NC program library, tool management, planning and detailed planning of production as well as comprehensive reporting functions, which are now available for part handling applications as well. In addition, the latest version of MMS includes several dedicated software capabilities to meet the demanding requirements of automated manufacturing in this area.

Material management in 3 dimensions

The main innovations include a coordinate-based material management for part handling with a robot. The MMS material management provides freely definable material grids to transfer the exact coordinates of the workpiece positions on a material pallet to a robot controller. The new material management also allows the definition of three-dimensional material grids and thus further increases the flexibility in part handling, since the workpieces to be handled can also be stored in stacks of several levels.

Efficient planning using predefined batch sizes

Another special feature within the new MMS is so-called batch scheduling. Unlike in pallet based systems such as FMS, where the order of the machine pallets is scheduled, MMS for part handling applications plans parts production based on predefined batch sizes. For this purpose, the batch size of each part can be determined in advance, and the software, for example, divides the production of larger quantities of a specific part into several individual batches. In this way, MMS can efficiently plan a wide variety of batches according to order priority and simulate and graphically represent the entire production process, including the conversion of machines, in a sustainable manner.

Higher productivity through setup management

The setup change or conversion of machines for a new order is controlled by the so-called setup management of the new MMS. With a view to a pending changeover, the software plans the setup change of a machine in advance, depending on the orders in the system (still for the batches to be produced), and ensures that all resources (availability of raw materials, tools, NC programs, etc.) are ready for processing the new workpieces. If the machine is equipped with suitable hardware components (e.g. automatically changeable clamping jaws), the setup rebuild can be carried out completely autonomously with the aid of the robot, thus multiplying the amount of different workpieces that can be manufactured during the unmanned shift. At the same time, non-productive times are minimized and high utilization of production capacity is ensured.

Standardization instead of time-consuming programming

The programming of robot kinematics plays an important role in production planning that is as efficient as it is flexible. As a rule, this takes a lot of time because a separate robot program is required for planning each individual process. This is not the case with MMS, because the standardized programs for workpiece handling in terms of robot kinematics are delivered with the hardware delivery. By simply modifying specific and at the same time flexible parameter sets within the basic program, the robot control can be quickly and easily adapted to the respective production requirements. The advantage: Substantial time savings, in particular when machining virtually identical workpieces (e.g. rotationally symmetrical parts with different diameters) by simply changing or adapting the relevant parameters, for example the gripper points of the robot.

“With the new MMS, Fastems now offers, so to speak, an all-embracing software that also enables a high product mix for automated workpiece handling with high flexibility and productivity in part machining. As a management solution for the entire production, not least because of its powerful reporting functions, MMS ensures more transparency, from the shop floor to the management, enabling to react quickly to problems, bottlenecks and overcapacities. The latest version of MMS is further a proof of Fastems’ leadership in developing cutting-edge software solutions for the machining industry,” says Topi Judén, Fastems Product Manager Digital Products.


Read the original Fastems press release here.