Modern Machine Shop

SEP 2018

Modern Machine Shop is focused on all aspects of metalworking technology - Providing the new product technologies; process solutions; supplier listings; business management; networking; and event information that companies need to be competitive.

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MMS SEPTEMBER 2018 66 mmsonline.com CONTROL TECHNOLOGY Will Voice Recognition Enable a Transformational HMI for Machine Tools? Debuting at IMTS, a new digital assistant for machining brings voice control to various CNC types and voice- actuated access to machine-tool-related information. Imagine if the control interface for a CNC machine tool was not a panel full of buttons, but instead a headset addressing a digital assistant able to understand a machinist's verbal com- mands. Imagine if that assistant could operate all the different CNC machine tools in the shop, with various controls, in precisely this same way. And imagine if that digital assistant had ready access not only to status data at the machine, but also all the information around the machine related to using it effectively, including operation and main- tenance instructions as well as setup instructions for the current job, making any of this information available at the user's verbal request. Those are the promises of a new human-machine interface (HMI) system—called Athena—being introduced by a startup company, iT SpeeX, that brings speech-recognition technology to machine tools. The product will be publicly debuted at the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS). I got to see an early demonstration and to experiment with the system myself. What I dis- covered is that, much like the smartphone in my pocket, the potential transformational power of PETER ZELINSKI | EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Is there a future in which control of machining equipment routinely looks like this? Voice interaction enables an interface that promises not only control of any CNC machine in the shop, but also easy access to information useful on the shop floor. This photo is courtesy of Makino, an early proponent of the technology.

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