Thanks to the advent of real-time production software and hardware, getting the most out of a shop floor environment is just a click away. When multiple machines are connected on a single network to a centralized computer, manufacturers can use data-monitoring software to store and analyze high volumes of actionable machine data in real-time, eliminating the need for manual data collection.

1) What are some common actionable data that can be analyzed?

Multiple machine status – Displays the state of each machine, by displaying in cycle, out of cycle, and other alarms – all shown in real-time.

Machine utilization – Displays how much time the machine has been in cycle or out of cycle during a specified time period. Also displays spindle cut time, allowing full efficiency analysis.

Alarm analysis – This provides insight into issues with the machine so users can start proactive maintenance for alarm frequencies that have increased throughout time.

Camera monitoring – Personnel can capture an internal view of the work zone – making it easier to solve processing errors before they affect part quality.

E-mail notifications – When a machine alarm activates, e-mail and/or text messages can notify personnel. This feature enables operators to deliver detailed machine status information to their service department, including alarm descriptions and images of the work zone.

2) What advanced actionable data can be analyzed?

Tool data management – Monitors tool length, diameter, offset, and alarm data. Manufacturers can use the data to find replacement tools before the process stops due to tool shortage.

Work scheduling – The remote monitoring system scans the programs and then determines whether the machine has the tools it needs to make that part. If it doesn’t, the system notifies the operator and shares what tools it needs.

Result viewer – Tracks spindle load, axis loads, feed/speed, active program, spindle tool, alarms, and other factors related to machine operation. Additionally, if there is a spindle incident, personnel can see exactly where it happened in the program.

3) What key points should manufacturers consider when implementing a monitoring solution?

  • First decide what data to record and retrieve so the software provider can give you access to it.
  • Machinery must have Ethernet capabilities and the shop environment should be networked.
  • Use a supplier with expertise in data monitoring and machining processes.
  • Shop managers should decide how to introduce this tool to staff. It’s best if the data-monitoring software is presented as something that helps make everyone’s job easier instead of a Big Brother monitoring tool.
  • Manufacturers should be prepared to archive large volumes of data from the production monitoring processes.
  • There are a variety of data-monitoring software packages available with a wide range of standard and advanced features. To select the right monitoring solution, it’s critical that manufacturers choose a provider that offers tight integration between the software and the machines.

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