A screenshot of the color-coded real time dashboard in Predator MDC software that shows the status of every machine on the network.

What is Machine Monitoring?

Every day, there are large amounts of data being produced by machines such as feed rates, spindle speeds, downtime, part counts, and more. Previously, shops used paper systems or whiteboards for scheduling, tracking and measuring productivity metrics. By assembling and analyzing this data, manufacturing shop floors improve operations and reduce unplanned downtime. Unfortunately, this process was tedious, was not always accurate, nor up to date.

The Association for Manufacturing Technology (AMT), the MTConnect Technical Advisory Board, and other leaders in the industry began turning to Machine Monitoring Software to improve their efficiency. The standards they created for Ethernet-based monitoring and machine data collection are now commonplace in modern machine shops.

There are two major standards: FANUC FOCAS and MTConnect.

FOCAS is a feature of the FANUC I series controller. It captures cycle status, overrides, spindle speed, feed rates, alarms, and downtime in real-time.

MTConnect is an open source protocol and is widely used by many brands, such as Okuma, Mazak, and Mori Seiki. MTConnect is continually developed by the MTConnect Institute to create universally compatible and open communication standards to improve monitoring capabilities throughout the manufacturing industry.


Why is Machine Monitoring important?

Monitoring machine data allows shop floors to react proactively and arrange efficient workflows to reduce unplanned downtime. Tool health tracking to replace tools before it is too late decreases costly scrap and re-work. The advantage of software-based machine monitoring is to collect and organize important business data digitally and to provide real-time analysis and notification.

Modern shop floors are taking advantage of Ethernet devices to easily connect and begin assessing this important business data and metrics with Machine Monitoring software.

SFA is a member of the MTConnect Technical Advisory Board and works with the innovators of the industry to improve machine monitoring techniques with our real-time data collection software. Call us at (877) 611-5825 for solutions to modernize productivity and reduce your downtime with technological advantages.