MPM: MicroStep’s innovative Production Management Software solution works together with the control system of our CNC machines to integrate your production facility. It also talks to the machine’s software to assist with the creation of cutting plans.

The company MicroStep, spol s.r.o., is a renowned Slovak producer of CNC machines for a wide spectrum of technologies. The cutting of materials is supported by plasma, laser, oxyfuel and waterjet to guarantee that all industry needs are supported. Furthermore, MicroStep machines offer additional functions like drilling, tapping or marking.

MicroStep focuses on high-end customers with large production facilities, who put emphasis on effectiveness and high levels of automation. Complying with these requirements, MicroStep provides an in-house developed CAPP application called MPM (MicroStep Production Management). This is an integration platform allowing an automatic information flow between various departments in your business.

MPM: MicroStep’s innovative Production Management Software

MPM-MCP module with the job list of cutting plans

MPM software includes modules for Order Processing

Aside from automated nesting, MPM software is primarily aimed at facilitating effective machine use. In an ideal situation, the machine will offer the operator a programmed cutting plan. This plan will have information on the location in the warehouse of the materials needed. The operator will then place the semi-finished product onto the machine, and co-ordinate the system to be aligned with the product. Once done it will install the required consumables and begin the cutting. All the necessary parameters are selected automatically. If using an integrated loading system, the machine also loads the semi-finished product into the cutting area and may also facilitate the unloading of the finished parts.

Which Business will benefit from MPM: MicroStep’s innovative Production Management Software

The primary target group for MPM is businesses with multiple cutting machines e.g. job shops and large steel processors in various industries. One of the main benefits of this system is the automated task allocation for multiple machines. The system offers a unique feature of providing feedback to the database after cutting.

The processing status of each part can then be monitored in real time. This feedback feature is a unique feature not available with comparable systems in the market. This ingenious feature is only possible due to the integration of the management software iMSNC® with the CAM software AsperWin®, both developed by Microstep. In addition, MPM allows for the integration of machines and control systems from other manufacturers. A connection can also be created with the customer’s ERP system (e.g. SAP, Microsoft Dynamics 365). This data exchange works both ways.

MPM: MicroStep’s innovative Production Management Software that becomes your partner in loading

A new feature of the MPM: MicroStep’s innovative Production Management Software system is a direct link to the automated materials loader. Workflow is as follows: The machine compares the cutting plans with the inventory of the warehouse and decides what is going to be cut out. It sends a request for the type and amount of material needed. The machine operator then takes the material out of storage and brings it to the machine. He then loads the pallet into position and the rest of the process is fully automated.

This process can also be carried out by the operator or by allowing the machine to read a QR code on the actual sheet of metal. After cutting is complete, the machine sends information to the MCP module (a job list of cutting plans).

MPM loaders are versatile systems which can be adapted to the specific needs of a customer and his production process.

Currently, MicroStep is offering these configurations:

Manual loader: The operator manually loads material into the machine according to the orders database.

Crane: Metal sheets are loaded onto a pallet and the order manually programmed by the operator. The crane then takes the metals sheets one by one and cuts according to the cutting plan.

Pallet conveyor and crane: There are multiple pallets on the conveyor. When one is used up, another one moves onto the machine.

Loader with tower stock (under development): 
This solution has many grates, each for a single sheet of metal (Fig. 2). The grates are moving around the tower and the operator is continuously loading new semi-finished products and inputting their information into the system.

MPM: MicroStep’s innovative Production Management Software

MSF fiber laser machine with tower stock loader

Automated loading

A good example of integration using (Fig. 3) using MPM: MicroStep’s innovative Production Management Software was a solution supplied to one of the leaders in the production of heating, industrial and cooling systems. The company purchased a MSF Fiber Laser Cutting Machine equipped with an automatic loading system called VCM. They added a conveyor, which moves the pallet from the warehouse to the loading position.

The conveyor can fit three pallets at a time, each with a max. weight of 3 tons. The pallets may contain sheet metal of varying width. Width of the sheet metal is programmed into the system by the operator. Since the machine is equipped with a width sensor, it is capable of choosing the correct cutting plan. After using up the entire pallet, the control system then alerts the operator who gives the order to move another sheet  into the loading position.

MPM: MicroStep’s innovative Production Management Software

Loading System MicroStep VCM with conveyor

Two loading zones in one machine

Another solution for loading and off-loading was offered to a Danish machining and manufacturing company.

They purchased 2 MG CNC Plasma Cutting Machines. Each of the 21m long machines is divided into two separate cutting zones. One zone is always designated for cutting and the other zone is dedicated to the off-loading of cut parts and loading of new material.

In conclusion, MPM: MicroStep’s innovative Production Management Software is a complex innovation allowing for the automation of your production cycle. MicroStep machines in more than thirty facilities in Europe, Asia and South Africa already run with MPM.