TYROLIT – Abrasives manufacturer TYROLIT tailors the ToolScope assistance system to specific grinding requirements. The system provides a transparent view of the condition of the machine and the operating and process data. As well as complete process stability, this helps the operator get the most out of grinding tools and minimise machining times.

Verena Ibounig


TOOLSCOPE.The comprehensive Industry 4.0 solution for machining. Even in the age of Industry 4.0, a provider cannot do away with explaining what an assistant system is, everything it can do and how it is useful for the operator. TYROLIT, an abrasive materials producer in Schwaz, Austria, does this with a simple analogy: ToolScope is a navigation system for production operations.



Just like GPS navigation systems inform a driver of the fastest way to get from A to B, in production operations, assistance is about reducing cycle times and achieving the machining objective in the shortest possible time. To this end, the system monitors the entire process in order to gather the necessary data. As well as pure speed, this also makes for safer processes. Everything that has to be monitored, controlled, evaluated and documented depends on the specific requirements of the individual operator, who can tailor the system to their own requirements.

When TYROLIT’s ToolScope system made its public debut at the Grindtec fair in March 2018, the company had the advantage of the assistance system having already been launched on the market as an Industry 4.0 solution for machining with defined cutting edges. The system was originally developed by the Brinkhaus start-up. In 2012, Brinkhaus was integrated into Komet Group, which was acquired by Ceratizit this year. This partnership has made it possible to monitor all machining processes and prepare individual assistance strategies. TYROLIT’s system is one of the ToolScope variants that were developed for grinding. Much of it resembles the assistance systems that Ceratizit has maintained for turning, drilling and milling. Nevertheless, many requirements fundamentally differently from each other, given that grinding tools behave differently in use. This assistance system ToolScope runs in over 1,000 manufacturing plants. That means, the teething troubles that occur mainly in new software have been resolved and we are able to concentrate fully on the abrasive technology.



Buffers to be redundant

ToolScope provides further enhancement of the machine after the experienced application engineer has set up a process and completed the operational start-up on site. The system collects information and has the capability to respond to fluctuations and optimise machines, process flows and tool use. With continuous monitoring, many safety buffers will become redundant, as ToolScope takes care of the necessary process transparency. As explained by Markus Weiss, the goal is not to create a fully autonomous grinding process, but to achieve a changeover from manual data analysis to an ‘assistant’ for process managers in a first step on the road to Industry 4.0. The system processes the data to enable the operator to start out with the aid of additional information and to assist the operator in optimising the process, enhancing its design or in monitoring. ‘In the medium-term, there is no substitute for people who have an instinctive feel for grinding,’ says TYROLIT’s Abrasive Technology department. ‘However, we can support them in their job. The aim is to have informed users who make decisions based on facts.’



ToolScope analyses the data that already exists in the machine. ‘Everything that a machine requires for control can be used to set up a monitoring strategy,’ explains Weiss. The core element of ToolScope is a single hardware item: a rail module built into the machine and connected by PLC to the machine via the profibus. The engineers in Schwaz simply refer to this ToolScope hardware unit as ‘the little box’. The actual know-how of the system is contained in the software. Twelve apps monitor the machine and the process, perform various help functions and analyse data.

The logged values are saved for further analysis as required by the user, whether on the local device, in an existing ERP system, on the corporate network or in the Cloud. The user is also able to choose how the data is visualised: on the machine display, an external monitor or a tablet, or on a PC in the planning office.

Programmable responses

For each project, the machine response for each particular event is programmed. This can be an alarm signal, bringing the machine to a stop or an adaptive control of the feed. An automated dressing process is also possible. The testing and modification of each PLC is carried out at Ceratizit in Hanover. It is this unrestricted configurability and adaptation to individual processing requirements that sets the ToolScope system apart from other solutions.



When deciding what values would be most suitable for monitoring a particular process, assistance is provided by TYROLIT technical sales support that draws on a tried-and-tested structure previously set up at Komet Brinkhaus. In Schwaz, Gabriel Huber bears this responsibility for the grinding assistance systems. First of all, he demonstrates to customers the potential of the system for individual projects. In most cases, ToolScope is installed on one machine to start with and then tested for a few months. As a rule, customers then want to use the system on other machines, having seen the advantages offered by the system.



There are many reasons to use ToolScope: excessive tool wear, overly-frequent dressing, too much scrap, strong variations in properties with grinding and greatly differing outcomes with components. TYROLIT’s application engineers identify problems like these at the customer’s premises and, while proposing changes in grinding tools and process parameters, also recommend the use of ToolScope. Components typically monitored in production include crankshafts, camshafts, transmission shafts and shaft-mounted tools for the tool manufacturing industry. The payoff from process optimising is especially visible in long run work.



One of Germany’s major car manufacturers already employs ToolScope, where four grinding machines are used on two production lines to turn out transmission shafts in various designs. To begin with, the car manufacturer only used the system for process monitoring and logging. This meant differences in batches or the hardness of the source material that could affect the machinability of the material would be detected.