NEW MAPAL Cloud based platform – Advanced Engineering Birmingham

2 & 3 November 2022 | NEC, Birmingham

The UK's leading gathering of OEMs and engineering supply chain professionals

2 & 3 November 2022 | NEC, Birmingham

The UK's leading gathering of OEMs and engineering supply chain professionals

2 & 3 November 2022
NEC, Birmingham

NEW MAPAL Cloud based platform


NEW MAPAL Cloud based platform

c-Com – Creating added value in production with collaborative data management

The c-Com open cloud platform is being launched onto the market, ready for sale, at EMO 2017 in Hannover – it includes the following four modules: “Tool Dashboard”, “Dynamic Order Optimizer”, “Reconditioning Management” and “Machine Run-Off”, along with corresponding apps. c-Com GmbH, the company behind the platform, promises innovative, collaborative data management of tools and C-parts in the production environment, with unprecedented levels of transparency and efficiency.

c-Com, an SaaS (software as a service) solution, allows suppliers and customers to manage and share data relevant to day-to-day work or projects. The seamless data flow, without media breaks, ensures that all stakeholders can access up-to-date data in real time. Finally, c-Com makes use of the high safety standards offered by SAP infrastructure, ensuring the best possible data protection. But what is behind the platform, and what does day-to-day work with it look like? The following example of a machine acceptance will help demonstrate the benefits of c-Com and what it is like to work with it. Here, the “Machine Run-Off” module is used:

Machine acceptance with c-Com
The field service specialist of a tool manufacturer, along with the project manager at a machine manufacturer, is testing various tools for a new project. The machine is due to be delivered abroad soon, where, in a few weeks, the OEM who ordered the machine has to present the first machined parts for the PPAP (Production Part Approval Process). While the tool is being run in, the field service specialist enters the values covered into the c-Com platform using the Datacare app on his tablet. There, he manages the project along with the project manager. The modified data is made available in c-Com, in real time, to all those involved. The data, time and reason for modifications are recorded precisely.

How are modifications handled?
While machining the part with the T200 tool the following is noticed: the bore is only just within the defined tolerances. A tool modification is needed. The tool manufacturer’s field service specialist sends information about the necessary tool changes – including pictures of the corresponding machining results – to his design department. The design department receives a direct notification via c-Com, the designer adapts the tool accordingly, prepares a new drawing and publishes it in c-Com. The field service specialist and the machine manufacturer’s project manager both approve the modifications via c-Com. Two of the three T200 tools that were delivered to the machine manufacturer are sent back to the tool manufacturer to be modified directly. The third tool remains in the machine so that it is possible to move forward the pre-acceptance tests. Here, some confusion may arise in relation to the delivery of the modified tools. Which tools have already been reworked and which ones haven’t yet? The fact that the tools are serialised with QR codes means c-Com can always be used to find out where each tool is being located. The machine is delivered abroad, to the OEM, together with the tools. This is where the final machine acceptance takes place. Thanks to c-Com, the local representatives of the machine and tool manufacturers have all the necessary information (e.g. on cutting values or tool changes) available, and complete the acceptance with the OEM within the specified time period.

This example is an impressive illustration of how tool manufacturers and machine manufacturers benefit from c-Com during the machine acceptance process. Exchanges of Excel files between suppliers and customers are a thing of the past. The same applies to time-consuming back-and-forth queries relating to tool modifications prior to the final machine acceptance. No longer will missing tools or tool data put deadlines at risk.

At the core of c-Com
The three other modules that c-Com is presenting in September also make day-to-day work easier in relation to a range of tasks. In this regard, the “Tool Dashboard” application is at the core of the platform. Here, all the users along the supply chain (production, purchasing, logistics…) can find the tool data relevant to them, correlated with individual parts and applications. This gives rise to what could almost be described as an overarching technology database within the company, something which distinguishes c-Com from all previous cloud solutions. Although these solutions can be used to release tool data to different users, this data is not correlated with the respective parts or machining processes. As a result, these data cannot be used for any other processes relating to the tool, such as reconditioning or planning. However, the c-Com platform’s “Tool Dashboard” module networks this data, offering information on usage supplied by a tool dispensing system, combined with valuable evaluations in real time. For instance, this allows the performance of individual tools or tool costs to be analysed precisely. In addition, c-Com offers the possibility of comparing the identical or similar machining processes within a company, across different sites.

The “Tool Dashboard” module offers many benefits, not only for customers, but for suppliers too. If all project-related data is maintained on the platform, there is no need to share data using Excel or Word files, either with the customer or within the company. Within the company, this ensures synergies when developing new solutions and sharing technical know-how, as real time up-to-date data can be accessed by all those involved. In addition, a better service can be offered to customers.

Mastering the challenges of handling re-grinding
The “Reconditioning Management” module deals with the issue of regrinding, one of the crucial issues relating to tools. Admittedly, tool reconditioning is an important cost factor in production, however, the processes relating to tool regrinding create a substantial administrative workload. The handling of the regrinding of hobbing cutters is a concrete example of the benefits c-Com offers with the “Reconditioning Management” module. These highly cost-intensive tools are used, for instance, in the production of gearboxes and can be reground up to 15 times. Knowing the exact number of regrindings of every single tool is crucial for planning tool usage and making sure stock levels are not too high or too low. However, this information often isn’t available to customers. That’s where c-Com comes in.

A pilot customer and highly-esteemed TIER1 supplier for the automotive industry is using c-Com for this purpose. The supplier, which carries out production in southern Europe, uses around 60 different hobbing cutters from different suppliers in more than 70 machining processes. The logistics in relation to the hobbing cutters were previously managed using huge Excel files, which were constantly being e-mailed back and forward between the company’s logistics department and the respective suppliers. This approach didn’t offer any transparent or comprehensive overview. It resulted in stock levels that were unnecessarily high or too low and regular problems with suppliers because of missing tools, which halted production. All of this was related to the large administrative workload required to resolve shortcomings. Although the manufacturers of the hobbing cutters had stored the information detailing the number of regrindings of every single tool in a database, this data wasn’t available to customers.

As part of the pilot project with c-Com, two of the hobbing cutter suppliers lasered a QR code onto their tools. And via c-Com, they share all the data available in their database that is relevant to tools, such as tool status and number of regrindings, with the customer. Using a tool dispensing system connected to c-Com, the TIER1 supplier documents every time a hobbing cutter is dispensed or returned. It’s possible to find how many new, reconditioned and blunt tools are in stock at any given time by scanning the QR code. This data is combined with the number of regrindings per tool, i.e. the data provided by the supplier. As a result, the TIER1 supplier has a detailed overview of its tools at all times.

Improving logistics with order recommendations
The supplier also uses the fourth c-Com module, “Dynamic Order Optimizer”, in addition to the “Reconditioning Management” module. They are thus provided with recommendations regarding how many tools they should order and when, in order to meet its needs. When it comes to this, the module takes into account the number of times the tools in stock can be reground again as well the respective delivery times of reconditioned and new tools. C-com’s pilot customer has reported a huge improvement in its logistics. In the future, it not only wants to use the platform for hobbing cutters, but for its entire production process.

These first four modules, of which more will follow, are supported by different apps, such as the Datacare app mentioned above, or the Tool Manager app. The latter is a native app for tablets and smart phones. This allows tool managers and field service specialists to put together reports on tests or faults relating to tools and to share these in real time with those responsible, for example the product manager or development engineer. In this way, it facilitates a form of quality management, tool management and tool monitoring that weren’t previously possible.

Outlook – what’s next for c-Com?
More modules and apps for c-Com are on their way. This is why, for instance, c-Com GmbH is collaborating with Siemens and its MindSphere IoT system. Like c-Com, MindSphere is based on the SAP Cloud Platform. The system collects machine data that can be used for different purposes, such as predictive maintenance or energy management. In the future, c-Com and MindSphere will share data, such as the number of parts machined with a tool or the cutting values, so they can better monitor processes, introduce standardisations and improve quality.

There are many companies who have already been won over by the benefits c-Com provides, and who are collaborating with the company. Initial pilot customers include Bass, Emuge-Franken, Vergnano, Schnyder and Lübbering, to name just a few. Numerous other collaborations have already begun or are currently in the pipeline.

About c-Com:
Everything at c-Com revolves around digital services. Established in June 2017, c-Com is a young start-up of the MAPAL Group, offering digital services for the manufacturing industry. Based on an innovative collaborative approach, the open cloud-based platform c-Com enables a new and efficient tool data management between customers and suppliers.

Figure 1: The modules are supported by different apps for tablets and smart phones.
Figure 2: c-Comallows suppliers and customers to manage and share data relevant to day-to-day work or projects.
Figure 3: Apps have been developed that correspond to the individual modules, allowingc-Com to be used at any time and any place without restrictions. The native appscan be used on tablets and smartphones – so, with any web enabled mobiledevice.
Figure 4: There are many companies who have already been won over by the benefits c-Com provides, and who are collaborating with the company.
Figure 5: With the module “Reconditioning Management” the customer
is always able to find out how many new, reconditioned or blunt tools are in storage,with the service provider or in use.





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