Vendor-neutral cutting tools catalogue structure supports standardised data exchange with PLM and CADCAM systems

2 min read

The development of a vendor-neutral catalogue structure that will allow the import of cutting tool data to PLM and CADCAM systems via a single interface, regardless of tooling supplier and without the need for any intermediary company, has been unveiled by a group of companies and a university.

Called the Generic Tool Catalog (GTC), it has been developed through collaboration between Siemens PLM Software, Sandvik Coromant, Iscar and Kennametal. In support, Switzerland’s Interstate University of Technology Buchs has published a website (gtc-tools.com) that provides information on the GTC for those wishing to adopt it.

This data exchange format is available to all tool vendors and application developers, enabling them to share cutting tool data more easily and precisely, with GTC enhancing existing data exchange format ISO 13399 (See Machinery article here).

The new website says that the need for GTC comes from the fact that ISO 13399 does not cover all the information needed for efficient exchange between the cutting tool vendor data and the software application. ISO 13399 created a common language for industrial product data, but there was also a need for information such as tool classification, class drawings and pictures. GTC makes this additional information available and it is expected that GTC elements will become part of ISO 13399.

Siemens PLM Software’s Manufacturing Resource Library (MRL), part of its Teamcenter software portfolio that provides classification and data management for manufacturing engineering resources, can import catalogues in GTC format. This supports the use of tool data and 3D models in the creation of tool assemblies that can be seamlessly used in Siemens’ NX software for tool assembly documentation and in NX CAM for NC toolpath creation and simulation.

Says Marcel Keinan, director of product management, Siemens PLM Software: “This new website makes information about GTC easily available to the general public. We are fully committed to GTC.It specifies a standard format suitable for application developers, and avoids the need to create interfaces [in its software] for different cutting tool vendors and applications.” That last point is key, as there are currently multiple interfaces for multiple systems, such as Sandvik Coromant's Adveon system and Kennametal's NOVO.

Sandvik Coromant, one of the founders of ISO 13399, says it will provide catalogues in GTC format, with this supported by its Adveon tool library application that already interfaces to several CAM systems. These take in Edgecam, TopSolid and GibbsCAM, with others coming soon listed on the company's website as APNCA, Delcam, DMG Mori Virtual Machine, Mastercam and SolidCAM.

Says Per Nilsson, senior manager, intelligent and digital machining, at Sandvik Coromant: “The GTC standard is a vital step forward for the communication needed in the current and future digital manufacturing environment, Industry 4.0.”

Tooling giant Kennametal says it too will support the creation of GTC catalogues that can be imported into Siemens' software. “At Kennametal, we believe in the future of digital manufacturing. Partnerships with companies like Siemens are critical to the success of improving the way work is getting done. Moving ahead with the GTC helps the manufacturing community by integrating Kennametal's tooling information in the end-to-end product development processes,” Fred Patterson, vice president of product engineering and a founding member of ISO 13399 adds.

Other companies are adopting the GTC format, the news release issued by Sandvik Coromant adds, but it does not name them.

The phrase "without the need for any intermediary company" appears to mean other tooling data service platforms that currently exist, the most prominent of which, from a UK perspective, is Machining Cloud (see associated Machinery article here). Sandvik Coromant is not a partner in that effort, but Siemens, Kennametal and Iscar are. Machining Cloud makes available cutting tooling data and more to CADCAM systems set up to receive it via its interface. Tools United is another such cloud service.