Makino is the "first mover" for the Athena digital assistant developed by iTSpeeX.Click image to enlarge

Makino says it will apply Athena, a digital assistant employing voice interoperability and intelligent learning technology, as an option on its machining centres and wire EDM machines in December of this year.

Makino has partnered with iTSpeeX, which developed Athena, as the “first mover” for the technology.
Athena is add on hardware and software for Makino machines with Pro 5, Pro 6 and Hyper-I Controls. Developed to help businesses handle the increasing labour shortage and skills gap in manufacturing, it is described by Makino as “first ever universal, voice operated assistant technology created specifically for manufacturing work.”
Designed to run a CNC machine, Athena features voice interoperability and intelligent learning technology that will enable new operators to transition more quickly and safely from the classroom to the factory floor.
By increasing the number of operators, the system gives seasoned employees more freedom to move from one machine to another as needed, Makino says. And the digital intelligence behind this controller technology enables the machine to continue learning the more a controller interacts with it.
Athena can perform a wide range of operational controls on a machine: set-up, tool-changes, run a part program, display step by step instructions.
Some other capabilities:
• report machine status;
• control all machine tool operations;
• coach the operator on standard procedures or operations; and
• calculate helpful information that would otherwise not be readily available to the operator.
Athena does not require an internet connection. Makino says the system will be multilingual on its machines in 2019.
Makino says that, unlike consumer oriented digital assistants such as Alexa and Siri, Athena cannot play music.

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