The Future of Machine Control and Operator Interface
With the majority of technology devices now featuring built in voice-enabled software, users have become accustomed to navigating their high-tech gadgets, appliances and machines using voice commands.This voice recognition software has increased usability of devices by bridging the gap between user and today’s ever-changing, advanced technology. It’s why Makino has chosen to utilize voice-recognition software to redefine the future of the machining center and operator interface with ATHENA— the world’s first voice-enabled machine tool virtual assistant. By giving ATHENA a simple voice command, operators of all skill levels can easily access setup, instructions and inspection diagrams—without manually touching the machine interface.
Adding Value Across Multiple Levels
The intuitive voice control helps novice operators get accustomed to the new world of Wire EDM machining centers. ATHENA helps with all aspects of operating the machine—from starting and running a job, reporting on machine and service status, and even assessing the level of consumables to determine if a job can be finished without any interruptions.Thanks to its user-friendly features, ATHENA allows a novice operator to complete every step needed to accomplish a task, simply by using conversational voice commands. "Okay Athena..."
ATHENA even helps seasoned operators navigate to and through less commonly used sections of the machine control. With a simple voice command, an operator can save time by jumping to a specific screen or sub-screen of the machine control without having to manually navigate to it. ATHENA allows for monitoring and fine tuning the machining process while a program is running, and cutting adjustments can be made via voice control. Operators also have the ability to set up checklists for all crucial tasks to ensure safe operation—much like what pilots do to prepare for take-off. This functionality comes in particularly handy for programming complex job sequences.
For owners and shop managers, ATHENA can maximize ROI and increase shop productivity thanks to fewer idle machines on the shop floor. In today’s tight labor market, finding skilled operators is becoming more challenging. ATHENA lowers the learning curve for new equipment and new operators, making it possible to hire employees that may have previously not been considered for lack of experience. Since ATHENA is bi-lingual, language gaps can be bridged as well. By having an expanded pool of operators that can quickly become acclimated to new equipment, ATHENA easily boosts overall profitability and eliminates the headaches caused by a shortage of skilled machine center operators.
How ATHENA Works
ATHENA is pre-installed on Makino’s high-volume Wire EDM machines and will become available on other machining platforms in the future. A Bluetooth-enabled headset is all that’s required to interact with ATHENA. Unlike popular, consumer-oriented voice-recognition-enabled devices, ATHENA does not require an internet connection since it doesn’t run in the cloud. It is self-contained and its machine-learning abilities do not rely on access to the outside world. It learns and improves over time based on the operation of each machine. This independent function makes ATHENA the assistant you always wanted but were never able to find.
How to Get ATHENA
ATHENA voice-control interface technology gets activated upon installation of the machine center at the customer’s location. First year usage is included and allows the user to try out all of ATHENA’s features and become familiar with this valuable assistant that gets smarter, faster and better over time. After the initial year, ATHENA is available as a cost-effective subscription service.
Ready to meet ATHENA? Contact your Makino rep to learn more.