Thanks to the advent of many types of production monitoring software and hardware technology, along with the accessibility of telecommunications technology and the Internet, getting the most out of a shop-floor environment is just a mouse-click away. When multiple machines are connected to a single network to a centralized computer, data-monitoring software can enable a manufacturer to retrieve, store and analyze high volumes of actionable machine data in real time, eliminating the need for manual data collection.
This data can provide detail about part counts, cycle time and tool life. In addition, production and status data can be collected directly from the machines. Such information enables shop personnel to react quickly when bottlenecks occur, ultimately preventing downtime and yielding more parts per machine.
Real-time production monitoring software is employed in many manufacturing environments—from very low-mix automated environments to high-mix automation or stand-alone machines—and should no longer be considered exclusive to large companies. Data can potentially be accessed from anywhere in the world to improve productivity and help a company reap the most from its machine investment.
Those shops wanting to implement a production monitoring software solution must first decide what data is most important to record and retrieve. Some of this information includes machine utilization data to help calculate ROI, and machine downtime to eliminate load and unload bottlenecks. Data monitoring software has a wide range of standard and advanced features.
|Standard actionable data that can be tracked||Advanced monitoring features offered by select vendors|
|Multiple machine status||Probe data analysis|
|Machine utilization||Tool management|
|Power monitor||Work scheduling|
|Camera monitoring||Spindle monitoring|
|E-mail notifications|| |
The open-architecture machine communications protocol called MTConnect gives manufacturers the ability to connect their production monitoring software packages to all types of machines. This software is becoming more widely available in newer machines, but it can be retrofitted into older machining systems as well. Implementing the data-monitoring software requires several preparations including Ethernet and wiring, training, backup, introducing it to the staff, and determining how to handle all of the stored data.
When choosing the right production monitoring software, it is critical to have the support of a provider that offers tight integration between the software and the machines. Companies should also be ready and willing to adapt to change to help perfect the processes to achieve optimum workflow efficiency. With data-monitoring software, manufacturers can have more confidence in the operation than anytime before. The actionable data can maximize efficiency and minimize downtime.
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“Measure to Improve: Identifying Solutions Through Real-Time Production Monitoring.”