When optimal productivity and efficiency are attained on the shop floor, why carry on equipment monitoring efforts indefinitely?

When MOGAS, the leading manufacturer of severe service ball valves, began monitoring their equipment on the shop floor, they started realizing real value within the first two weeks.

“I was receiving frequent machine alerts with operator notes indicating ‘part move’ during tooling downtime for a part that was taking 8 hours to make,” says MOGAS Machine Shop Leadman Hector Reyes, who is a 9-year veteran of the company and handles router workflows to the machines. “After talking with the operator, I learned that the existing fixture was forcing numerous adjustments. By designing a new fixture to better hold the part, we were able to shave off about 5 hours of machine time.”

Monitoring Plateaus

Within a year of implementing the equipment monitoring solution, DataXchange, MOGAS saw a 62.5% decrease in machine time as a result of time-saving alerts and a 10% increase in efficiency. Tech Manufacturing, an ADDMAN company that specializes in medium-to-large, complex parts with tight tolerances, reported reaching an efficiency of 65 percent after bringing on its machine monitoring program. The goal was to achieve 70 percent, recounted Modern Machine Shop, but diminishing returns had started to set in and efficiency improvements were linked “to increasingly minor or increasingly rare events.”

Machine optimization

Within a year of implementing its equipment monitoring solution, MOGAS saw a 62.5% decrease in machine time as a result of time-saving alerts and a 10% increase in efficiency.

For manufacturers looking ahead – or currently experiencing high optimization with their machine monitoring system – how do you continue to justify the expense of such a solution once this state of near perfection is reached?

The answer is simple, says Greg Mercurio, president of manufacturing integrator Shop Floor Automations (SFA). “The optimization of your equipment is not a one-time process,” he says. “The condition of machines change over time: they’re impacted by fluctuating and extreme temperatures; wear and tear; the breakdown of their components; poor preventive maintenance and other factors.” While it can be tempting to think you’ve taken things as far as you can, there’s always the potential for deviation on the horizon. Mercurio explains, “Add in the changing workforce, new hires and a labor pool with mixed technical abilities, and you’ll still face the potential for errors and other issues.” Without consistent machine monitoring in place, those issues can go unnoticed over great lengths of time and threaten optimized states, potentially significantly.

Early Detection for Best Prevention

Justify equipment monitoring Mercurio likens machine monitoring to a wearable fitness tracking device. “Even if you achieved your ideal weight, if you’re not monitoring your heart rate, fitness levels and sleep quality, you’re going to have a harder time detecting the signs of a heart condition or other potential health problem,” he says. “The same thing applies to machine monitoring. If you maximized your Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) and stopped monitoring your equipment, it’ll be that much more difficult to proactively identify abnormalities or anomalies before they become major concerns.”

To learn how you can maximize your machine monitoring program for the long-term, contact Shop Floor Automations today.

Are Your Machines Really Cutting?

A manufacturer that is distinctive for its attention to in-cycle machining productivity describes its efforts to obtain efficiency improvements outside of the machining cycle. The shop’s primary tool is a simple, daily, graphical recap that illustrates when each machine tool was and was not making parts AKA machine monitoring.

The procedures that seem efficient and the procedures that are efficient might be two different things. And telling the difference requires data.

The machining cycle is one area in which this idea is strikingly applied. One of those co-owners of the Wright City, Missouri, manufacturer—engineering vice president Jerry Halley—spent much of his career with aircraft maker McDonnell Douglas, which became Boeing during his time there.

Mr. Halley demonstrated that small tools used at the specific, harmonic spindle speeds that avoid chatter can cut deeply enough and quickly enough to remove material more efficiently than traditional rough cutting.

Because the equipment was “as good as its going to get,” the company had to find a way to continue winning efficiency gains so it could continue delivering cost savings. Not only did competitiveness require this, the formally specified cost-reduction targets of OEM customers required this as well.

To discover these sources of additional savings, Tech Manufacturing began measuring its entire process. The company began to measure not just its cycle time and not just the processing of individual parts, but the entire performance of its CNC machines around the clock. Implementing machine monitoring software from Scytec, the company began to measure the in-cycle and out-of-cycle time of 11 CNC machines. Now, company leaders in the office and on the shop floor all study a daily, visual printout of just how much machining time each of those machines delivered over the course of the previous workday.

The first result of doing this, says Mr. Halley, was an almost immediate 5-percentage-point improvement in measured performance. That boost was the early return on simply paying attention to this performance for the first time. And that boost hinted at an important insight, one that the company validated as it went on to find further performance gains with the data. Namely: Even in a seemingly efficient shop, there is still plenty of chronic inefficiency just waiting to be addressed.

The Scytec software is simpler than other machine-monitoring systems that Tech Manufacturing evaluated. Other systems had more capability than the management of this company thought it would use, at least at first. Scytec’s modularity makes it possible to buy up into additional capability over time. For now, though, Mr. Halley’s belief—a belief that has proven true—is that significant process improvement can be won just from the simple measurement of when the machines are and are not making parts.

At the start, that efficiency was 52 percent. Scytec told the company’s team that this is reasonably good. Shops generally assume they are far more productive than they really are. Thirty to 40 percent efficiency is common, said Scytec, and the software company has had machine-shop customers that initially measured an efficiency below 10 percent. Now, after two years of monitoring performance every day and responding to yellow events, Tech Manufacturing is consistently running at an efficiency of 65 percent.

The goal is to reach 70, says Mr. Halley. Getting there will be hard, because the reality of diminishing returns has set in. After two years of improvement, the inefficiencies remaining to be discovered relate to increasingly minor or increasingly rare events.

Shop Floor Automatons is the largest re-seller of Scytec software, specializing in DataXChange.

Read the full article here or call us at (877) 611-5825 


manufacturing technology trends Cloud-based machine monitoring

Cloud-based machine monitoring from Shop Floor Automations enabled aerospace parts manufacturer Tech Manufacturing to reduce lead times and improve productivity.

When companies such as Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Bombardier have urgent orders, how can a shop that is already running 24/7 reduce its lead time? This was the problem faced by Tech Manufacturing (Wright City, Missouri), a long-time manufacturer of machined metal parts for the aerospace industry. By introducing cloud-based monitoring from systems integrator Shop Floor Automations (La Mesa, California), Tech Manufacturing was able to pinpoint exactly where productivity issues needed to be addressed to maximize efficiency.

One way the company could have solved this problem would have been to purchase additional machines; however, Jerry Halley, chief engineer at Tech Manufacturing, was interested in finding a smarter, more efficient approach.

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

Read more

Modern Machine Shop

Shop Floor Automations was in Modern Machine Shop for our Cloud-Based software Tracks Cycle Time.

Shop Floor Automations’ cloud-based Software as a Service (Saas) data collection software is designed to capture utilization, downtime and overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) information without upfront purchase costs or the need to install or maintain database or reporting servers.

The system can track multiple types of cycle time, including from a hardware adaptor or through MTConenct or FANUC FOCAS, and report on metrics such as utilization and efficiency. The system can also run both sets of cycle time and then compare data.
The company will also showcase various hardware products, including a wireless device for connecting controllers to networks and USB Connect for adding memory sticks to CNCs. The latter product is available in either a pendant-mounted version that can be attached to a control or a portable unit for use with a variety of machines.

Read more….

Featured in – Modern Machine Shop – Website

More info on MTConnect:

MTConnect is an open, royalty-free, universal factory floor communication standard that is designed specifically for the shop floor environment to enable the efficient transfer of data between devices (such as CNCs) & software applications similar to Predator MDC & Scytec DataXchange. Some users have referenced this as the “Bluetooth” technology we currently experience with our smartphones & daily electronic devices. By establishing an open & extensible channel of communication for plug-and-play interconnectivity between devices, equipment, & systems, MTConnect allows sources to exchange & understand each other’s data.  It’s like speaking a common language!

If you want propriety software & solutions, MTConnect is not for you! This new standard will bridge your factory shop floor & link you to the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).  Think of the equipment on your shop floor now that has limits on how they connect, can they connect, can you get real-time data from them, & what if you could make them all speak to each other?  While some equipment would be limited on what can come from it, the information can quickly be displayed on dashboards, smartphones, ERP/MRP systems, & other equipment.