Sandvik Group company and tool management specialist TDM Systems ( has unveiled an online system that supports the creation of tool/toolholder 3D digital models for use in NC programming systems. TDM Systems, of course, has years of experience in managing and digitalising tool data.

Terming this development the ‘Internet of Tools’, TDM Systems says it wants to create a new global platform for digital tools. The first application, Tool Designer, generates digital 3D graphics of rotationally-symmetric cutting tools. NC-capable 3D tools can be created with predefined adapters, geometric items, contours and radii.

Says project manager Christian Kübel (pictured): “Just register and get started. The Internet of Tools provides you with significant support in the initial steps toward Industry 4.0 by allowing you to digitalise your tool inventory without complicated installation and the need to invest in the IT landscape. The only requirement is an Internet connection.”

Tool Designer generates required 3D tool assemblies quickly and easily via an online application and exports them in a STEP data package (3D graphic in STEP format, parameters in XML format). A video tutorial (above) illustrates how to get started.

Adds Kübel: “We have designed the Tool Designer with all the needs of NC programmers in mind. These programmers require the most realistic 3D tool assembly graphics and corresponding parameters to create NC programs with minimal hassle.”

But the long-term plan is to “expand the platform to create a global home for digital tools” where users will find a wide variety of cloud applications that support their tool data management needs. Tool Designer for milling, drilling and boring tools is just the start; more tool types are on their way, the company says. And export to conventional CAM formats and the option to add other STEP items to the 3D tool assemblies will also follow.

The basic function of Tool Designer will be offered to users as a complimentary service. With the expansion of tool types and functionalities, paid-for packages will become available. Says Kübel: “We have developed a simple price model that offers a choice of monthly or yearly use and grants users complete flexibility.”

As to the observation that services such as Machining Cloud already hold digital tool data, so no holder or tool dimensions are required to be defined, Kübel says: “Our system is complementary. What we see is that catalogue or standard components very often get modified slightly. With our solution, we are giving that flexibility to the user.

“This summer, we will make available all major NC programming system formats. That will be a huge benefit.”

First published in Machinery April 2017