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Integrating Equipment Data with ERP for Bigger Business Benefits

Maintenance, particularly on the shop floor, involves expensive machinery – which translates into high costs for actions like repair work. These costs can represent anywhere from 15-70% of expenses, says IEEE. But maintenance costs may not even be the biggest liability.

 

Equipment monitoring ERP - Scytec DataXchange

Inefficient maintenance processes, like manual data collection, contribute to unplanned downtime and costs, according to Forbes.

For companies with strict quality standards and challenging customer expectations, the cost of a nonconformance, rework or even rejection can be enough to draw the attention of executives due to the shipping, additional labor, materials and reallocated machine time required to correct the defective product. This says nothing of the damage to the customer relationship and the impact on their own tight schedule. It behooves manufacturers, then, to ensure shop floor equipment is always performing optimally with minimal downtime.

The Move Past Manual Downtime Tracking

To do so effectively, manufacturing machinery must be continuously monitored. Today’s smart factory showcases plants with modern machine monitoring software, like Scytec DataXchange, which replaces previous steps of manually tracking, handwriting or physically keying in cycle times, set up times, downtimes, costs and reason codes, and then piecing this data together to understand trends, performance and opportunities for improved efficiency. While these manual processes were time- and labor-intensive to compile, report and analyze, they were also often riddled with inaccuracies, in addition to the time delays that further hinder a company’s ability to react quickly. In fact, Forbes specifically cites these types of inefficient maintenance processes as bad attributes that contribute to unplanned downtime and costs.

Bigger Business Benefits

The utilization of equipment monitoring software becomes crucial, therefore, for businesses working towards the goal “to prolong production performance until it reaches a point that the machine requires complete replacement due to wear and tear or technology change, if justified,” writes Salman Taghizadegan in Essentials of Lean Six Sigma. But the benefits of equipment monitoring systems extend past precise predictive maintenance. Through Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) integration, ideal machine monitoring software can capture and populate data, like these, for an even bigger business-wide impact:

  • Actual set-up and run times. By comparing your estimates to your actuals, you’ll increase the accuracy of your job costing to give you a better handle on your margins and overall profitability. The visibility afforded by these actual times will allow for easier and more reliable planning and scheduling, as staffing requirements become predictable.
  • Machine statuses. Uptime and downtime records and notifications to maintenance, production and management can ensure service is planned for and executed when – and exactly – as needed.
  • Completed quantity. Inventory of raw materials, intermediates and finished goods can be affected in real-time by machine processing, as it occurs.
  • Scrap quantity. Material requirements may be altered based on the volume of actual scrap produced, adding to the dependability of planning and scheduling.
  • Scrap codes. Opportunities to reduce waste may be presented through reason code analysis.

Integrate Machine Monitoring with ERP

While machine monitoring software offers a lot towards optimal maintenance management, its integration with ERP is the lift that expands the effect of equipment data across the enterprise to grant clearer visibility into production, inventory, accounting, lean, planning, scheduling – and yes, maintenance – to help drive greater consistency into each process for more effective decision-making. Learn more about connecting your ERP with machine monitoring software by contacting a Shop Floor Automations representative today.

The Equipment Monitoring Impact on Process

For many companies, monitoring machines can be limited to simply tracking planned and unplanned downtime for maintenance operations. The real-time capture of downtime data can produce valuable trends to help prioritize and implement corrective action to prevent additional equipment failures, as an example shared by Reliable Plant magazine.

Others may include monitoring for production purposes, such as tracking cycle times. There is plenty of intelligence to be gleaned in these areas from equipment monitoring solutions, such as Scytec DataXchange, like machine utilization to determine if there is greater capacity available to take advantage of increased demand. But one manufacturer took its usage of DataXchange a step further to impact process.

The QC impact from equipment monitoring

One manufacturer of structural parts for jet OEMs sought to take their machine monitoring instance beyond downtime and production purposes to better understand what work offset was delivering low-quality parts.

A Use Case For Work Offset Monitoring

With FANUC CNCs, the external work offset (work coordinate system number zero) lets you shift the point of reference for fixture offset entries from the machine’s home position to a more logical position, writes Modern Machine Shop. Senior Aerospace AMT, a manufacturer of structural parts for jet Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), sought to understand what work offset was delivering low-quality parts. Leveraging the power of DataXchange, the company started tracking probing adjustments made to work offsets to begin building a historical reference. This way, they reasoned, engineers can check what change to the offset may have had on a nonconforming part.

The Quality Effect

Even more so, by pulling in tool numbers, tool life, maximum tool life, the maximum load, average load and average and maximum vibration – and applying custom variables to know how far and how long that tool is running – the team can better understand the result if something was changed to see if it made the output better, or if the machine is running less or more. The company even integrates manufacturing data from machinery that provides load percentage of spindle monitoring data from DataXchange. And the manufacturer continues to expand its usage of the system, including setting a monthly cadence to verify part standards in ERP to actual cycle times, to meet the needs of its C-suite. “When it comes to responding to customer feedback for feature enhancements and fixes, I’ve not worked with a software company that is easier to work with than Scytec,” says Tom Anderson, Senior Process Engineer at Senior Aerospace AMT.

Free SFA Needs Assessment

Find out how you can monitor downtime, production and work offsets for maximum impact on your manufacturing operations with DataXchange and Shop Floor Automations (SFA). Reach out to an SFA equipment monitoring expert today for a free needs assessment to compare your current state to what Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) and other KPIs you’d like your organization to achieve in the near term.

What Does a Digital Transformation Look Like on the Shop Floor?

Shaping Your Digital Transformation on the Shop Floor

A digital transformation journey can vary from company to company; find out what it could look like in your own manufacturing environment.

Digital tranformation in manufacturing - Shop Floor Automations

The global digital transformation market isn’t just booming – it’s growing at a steady rate of 20.8% CAGR per year. Because businesses are rapidly implementing these customer-driven growth strategies, it’s critical that you look into automated solutions for your own shop floor.

But what is digital transformation? And why should it be important to your manufacturing organization? Read on to answer these questions with this guide to shop floor digital transformation.

Shop Floor Digital Transformation: The Basics

‘Digital transformation’ is a broad concept that encompasses a “foundational change in how an organization delivers value to its customers,” describes CIO magazine, that includes the folding of new technologies and processes into business operations. The point of this concept is to streamline business in an increasingly digital world by using the technology at our disposal.

Transforming your business into a digital framework doesn’t focus on one singular aspect of the business, such as sales or quality assurance. Rather, it’s a shift in mindset and the overall way that your business functions. By incorporating digital technologies in all areas of your business, you stand to increase overall productivity and efficiency through greater visibility, automation and integration.

“Companies’ adoption of digital technologies has sped up by three to seven years in just months, with companies accelerating efforts for fear of being outflanked by competitors,” says Laura Laberge, McKinsey director of capabilities for digital strategy

What Does Digital Transformation Look Like?

Because digital transformation is a strategic initiative, it’s important to look at some of the specific things that make it successful. Automation is one of the core ways that businesses make this transition.

In the past, data collection and receipt was often a manual process – whether through data entry, handwritten notes and even some EDI setups that require human checkpoints and updates. Shop floor machinery also needed to be manually monitored and tracked. This wasn’t just difficult, but left a lot of room for human error.

Today, the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML) and other automation technologies have vastly improved the means with which manufacturers can remotely monitor machine utilization and output for significant insights into trends, failure predictions, capacity constraints and more. Advances in user-friendly interfaces and functionality make solutions far easier for operators to adopt and use on a regular basis.

CNC milling tooling - remote machine operation

Today automation technologies have vastly improved the means with which manufacturers can remotely monitor machine utilization and output for significant insights and better decision-making.

Software isn’t the only aspect of a shop floor transformation, however. Hardware can play a key role in increasing the visibility of data collection for uptime improvements, such as through the display of dashboards monitors on the floor, or even increasing program storage and NC program transferring capabilities among older machinery by outfitting them with portable floppy drives.

What Are the Benefits of Digital Transformation?

There are a plethora of benefits of digitally transforming your shop floor. They can include:

  • Increased capacity to meet customer needs and demands
  • Faster and more streamlined machine use
  • Reduction and optimization of time spent operating machinery
  • Greater access to documentation/file organization
  • Fewer opportunities for human error
  • High-level monitoring for all types of machines
  • Remote monitoring capabilities from mobile devices
  • Absorbing new competitive advantage(s) over other manufacturers
  • Faster manufacturing processes to decrease customer wait times
  • Improved overall customer experience to impact retention and business development efforts

Regardless of your desired end result, a well-executed shop floor digital transformation can have a direct impact on revenues, even during times of crisis. McKinsey reports that “organizations that experimented with new digital technologies…and among those that invested more capital expenditures in digital technology than their peers did, executives are twice as likely to report outsize revenue growth than executives at other companies.”

Get Started on Your Digital Transformation Journey

So how do you get started on your own shop floor digital transformation journey? One approach may be to compile gaps in information that are necessary to produce better decision-making across departments. As a preferred manufacturing integrator, Shop Floor Automations has the resources to help you identify and bridge such gaps with the latest available technologies. Contact us to set up your digital transformation consultation today.

Meet Manufacturing Demand at FABTECH 2021

Shop Floor Automations to Offer Manufacturing Machine Monitoring and Hardware Solutions to Increase Visibility, Productivity

With its recent announcement that it will be the first large-scale manufacturing trade show to return to McCormick Place in Chicago from September 13-16, FABTECH will once again make Chicago the epicenter of the North American metal fabrication industry. The event brings all aspects of the metal fabricating, forming, welding, and finishing industries together to showcase the technology, innovation, and solutions they provide.

Manufacturing machine monitoring solutions - FABTECH Booth #A3441

Schedule your demonstration of manufacturing machine monitoring solutions at the Shop Floor Automations Booth, #A3441, at FABTECH 2021

Shop Floor Automations (SFA), a manufacturing integrator offering hardware and software solutions to manufacturers and job shops throughout the United States, will be exhibiting the Scytec DataXchange machine monitoring solution at Booth #A3441 at FABTECH this year. This solution allows production environments to capture automated, real-time machine data for increased visibility of accurate cycle times, setup times, idle times, machine downtime and more. For manufacturers struggling to keep pace with demand as the United States recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, machine monitoring solutions, like DataXchange, can be the difference between a company’s ability to take on new work versus not.

In the May 2021 Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business®, Timothy R. Fiore, CPSM, C.P.M., Chair of the Institute for Supply Management® (ISM®) Manufacturing Business Survey Committee, stated, “Demand expanded, with the (1) New Orders Index growing at a strong level, supported by the New Export Orders Index continuing to expand, (2) Customers’ Inventories Index hitting another all-time low and (3) Backlog of Orders Index continuing at a record-high level.”

“Now, and well into 2022, manufacturers need to be able to make demonstrable impacts to machine uptime automatically to generate greater efficiencies to support existing work while increasing productivity for growth opportunities knocking on the doors of so many,” says Greg Mercurio, SFA President.

FABTECH facilitates connections between exhibitors and attendees in order to conduct business, share knowledge, and showcase the most advanced manufacturing equipment and technology in an unparalleled environment. Attendees will have the opportunity to explore three halls filled with cutting-edge technology, new product debuts, and firsthand product demonstrations from over 1,000 exhibitors.

Attendee and media registration for FABTECH 2021 is open now. Visit fabtechexpo.com to register and obtain additional show details. To schedule a DataXchange demonstration with SFA in advance of the show, contact us at www.shopfloorautomations.com.

Smarter Shop Floor With Cloud-Based Monitoring

Cloud-Based Monitoring Project Introduction:

Tech Manufacturing, a long-time manufacturer of machined metal parts for aerospace clients such as Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Bombardier, needed to raise production capacity and reduce lead times for their clients’ largest and most urgent orders. With their 5-axis CNC machines already running 24 hours a day up to 7 days a week, Jerry Halley, Chief Engineer at Tech Manufacturing, looked towards smarter operation and real-time performance data to increase the productivity and useful life of their existing machines.

“We needed a better understanding of how our machines were actually performing for us in real-time,” said Halley. “Live and historical machine performance data would also help us identify technical or process issues that were detrimental to productivity.” With a combination of hardware and software, a CNC monitoring system would collect, analyze, and visualize the necessary performance metrics. However, Halley needed to weigh the productivity gains of such a system against the cost and effort of deployment, especially if it involved a new and unfamiliar server-based IT infrastructure. The ideal system would be easily deployed without specialized IT equipment, knowledge, or effort, and would not require repeated software installation, updates, or configuration.

manufacturing technology trends Application Requirements:
-Live dashboard with alerts based on historical and target performance metrics
-Easy to use with existing CNC machines that may not have built-in Ethernet interface
-Does not require investment or expertise in specialized IT infrastructure, servers, or software
-Knowledgeable and experienced integration and vendor support team

Solution:
Tech Manufacturing selected Shop Floor Automations, one of the most prominent systems integrators in North America specializing in CNC monitoring systems, to assist with cloud-based monitoring. Each CNC machine was connected to the existing local area network, so no additional IT infrastructure was required. For legacy machines that did not have a readily available Ethernet port, Shop Floor Automations provided an easy-to-deploy solution that was developed with Moxa. “The industrial networking units from Moxa make it easy for us to get our clients’ legacy machines connected to the cloud,” said Greg Mercurio, President of Shop Floor Automations.

“For industrial users like Tech Manufacturing, these solutions are invaluable in extending the capabilities and useful life of their still-functional but older CNC machines.” With the local network connected to the Internet, machine performance data was easily viewed and analyzed by cloud-based software such as Scytec DataXchange or Predator Machine Data Collection. Key performance metrics were organized on a visual dashboard so owners and machine operators were able to see exactly how productive each cell was, down to the machine level. Read more below.

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Improving Productivity with Cloud-Based Monitoring

Cloud-Based Monitoring

Check out this article about Cloud-Based Monitoring and how it can improve productivity. This is a powerful tool for any modern machine shop and it is important to learn how easy it is to revolutionize the way machines are being monitored.

As a manufacturer of machined metal parts for aerospace clients such as BoeingLockheed Martin and Bombardier, Tech Manufacturing often ran its five-axis CNC machines 24 hours a day up to seven days a week. With such heavy CNC demands, the company began looking for ways to increase its production capacity and reduce lead times for its clients’ largest and most urgent orders.

Purchasing additional machines would, of course, be one way to achieve this. But Jerry Halley, chief engineer at Tech Manufacturing, was interested in finding a smarter, more efficient approach that did not require a large capital investment.

“It was clear to me that we needed a much better understanding of how our machines were actually performing for us in real time,” Halley explains. “In addition, if we had live and historical machine performance data available, we would be able to identify any technical or process issues that were detrimental to individual or overall productivity.” Read more below.

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Predator’s Enhanced Ethernet Based Machine Monitoring called CNC Service

Enhanced Ethernet Based Machine Monitoring

Shop Floor Automations announces a new solution for Machine Monitoring utilizing MTConnect, FOCAS and other solutions called CNC Service (originally an article in CNC West).

SHOP FLOOR AUTOMATIONS ANNOUNCES THE RELEASE OF PREDATOR’S
ENHANCED ETHERNET-BASED MACHINE MONITORING

Predator Software LA MESA, Calif. – December 16, 2014 – Shop Floor Automations (SFA), the largest distributor and Service Center for Predator Software Inc., today announced the release of Predator’s popular Manufacturing Data Collection (MDC) software for Ethernet-based machine tools.

For many years, Predator has offered its fully automated, real-time MDC system for any size company to monitor and improve shop floor productivity using PLCs, macros, and paper-based solutions. This solution integrated well into equipment with stack lights and older machines to capture running, alarms, feed hold, and idle time, but left some users objecting to adding more equipment due to the costs of hardware requirements.

Today, most CNC machines include Ethernet ports and can be leveraged for data collection. CNC machines that use a Fanuc controller may have a feature called FOCAS, which allows for the capture of real-time data such as overrides, spindle speed, program number, feed/speed rates, alarms, and indicates control mode. Read more below.

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SFA Offers Predator Basic Machine Monitoring Software

Predator Software Predator Software Machine Monitoring

Shop Floor Automations (SFA), a distributor and service center for Predator Software Inc., has announced the Basic version of Predator’s Manufacturing Data Collection (MDC) Software.

“For many years now, Predator has offered their fully automated, real time MDC system for larger corporations,” said a company spokesperson. “Now they have released the Basic version of the same software targeted toward the small to medium size manufactures looking to capture utilization, with alarm status and part counts.”

MDC Basic is designed to be an affordable way to collect real-time and historical data from the shop floor. It allows for no operator input at the CNC to capture running or idle status along with alarm mode. The customer can also record good and scrapped part counts directly from the CNC interface.

All the collected data is recorded into one of three database platforms: Microsoft Access, Microsoft SQLo r Oracle. Decision makers will have various reports and charts at their fingertips regarding production history, said SFA. Read more below.

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Data Collection Made Simple

machine status view Real-time machine data collection

Capturing real-time data from the shop floor does not have to be complicated.  Using your existing infrastructure and computers, our data collection solution Predator MDC can be added to your equipment with ease. Here is info on Data Collection for CNC Machines made simple.

Works with any type of  CNC control, including Mazak, FANUC, Haas, Okuma, Siemens, and Cincinnati. Compatibility also includes Robots, press brakes, bar feeds, welders, and more.

Report, chart and display on any workstation or LCD Monitor the current status of the machine to start.  Later, you can expand multiple plants, capture jobs, part counts, scrap reason and more with our Enterprise MDC. Learn More

More about our Machine Monitoring and Data Collection services through Predator MDC, as well as Scytec DataXchange:

Machine Monitoring gives you the ability to see what your machines are doing in real-time. Collect & process data from your machines using software like MTConnect, FANUC FOCAS, custom macros, or hardware devices. Optional data collection terminals can be used for additional operator input. Run time, downtime, & OEE data is then presented via dashboards, historical reports, & charts.  Emails or text messages can be sent to notify you of production issues on the shop floor.

Improve manufacturing by supplying accurate shop floor productivity metrics to improve operations & make better decisions. Enjoy automatic, error-free, & unattended machine monitoring for events such as job start/end, setup start/end, log on/off, cycle start/end, & more. Data collected includes cycle time, idle time, setup time, teardown time, machine downtime, & scrap reasons.