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Software Update: Efficiency Software for Any Machine, Any Control

 Pete Tecos








 Pete Tecos
Executive Vice President

Manufacturing Engineering: What’s new with plant-floor manufacturing software?

Tecos: There is demand for scalable, configurable, and comprehensive plant-floor monitoring software that provides meaningful data to drive sustainable productivity improvements. The latest version of our Freedom eLOG software suite now includes a Dashboards module that allows users to create a personalized view of machine tool performance data pertinent to their job function. It can be set up to monitor a single machine, a value stream, or a mix of various machines on the shop floor.

The inclusion of legacy equipment is another issue, as shops that appreciate the impact of plant-floor monitoring look to bring more and more assets under the monitoring umbrella to optimize efficiency. The Freedom Digital Interface (FDI) enables legacy machines, and even manual equipment to be interfaced with Freedom eLOG. The FDI is also MTConnect Compliant.

How critical is it for manufacturers to employ MTConnect-capable software to track OEE and other manufacturing metrics on the shop floor?

Tecos: It is an absolute necessity for those shops looking to build highly productive, profitable, and sustainable businesses. Leveraging MTConnect enables manufacturers to collect data from critical assets and through software platforms such as Freedom eLOG, transform that data into actionable information that will identify bottlenecks and inefficiencies, as well as streamline processes.

ME: What new data collection and analysis solutions are available from your company?
Freedom eLOG is an asset monitoring system that provides a consistent and efficient method of collecting and analyzing important manufacturing data in real time.
Tecos: In addition to configurable Dashboards, our Freedom eLOG software now includes the e$CORE feature, which monetizes machine tool performance based on the six span-time categories as defined by the Association for Manufacturing Technology (AMT). It provides full transparency into manufacturing gains or losses in terms of dollars, putting the amount of money being saved or wasted in the plant at management’s fingertips. The software includes three types of reports—burden, monetary and summary—which can be customized by users based on an assigned hourly value for each machine. Users assign the percentage weights based on the AMT category (plant shut-down, scheduled downtime, delay time, repair time, not-in-cycle process time and in-cycle time), and the e$CORE value is calculated by summing the daily values in each category.

We are also developing solutions that penetrate our clients’ manufacturing processes horizontally as well as vertically to include Maintenance, In-Process Validation/SPC, Work Orders & Routings, Maintenance, and integration to upstream business systems.

How difficult is it to deploy these monitoring solutions, and what’s the payoff for users?

Tecos: Deployment is actually one of the strengths, and key differentiators, of Freedom eLOG. Because it does not require changes to ladder logic or part programs and is web-based, with off-the-shelf software that is accessible on any browser or mobile device, it has consistently achieved high velocity deployment. It is minimally invasive to our customers’ production, with little to no downtime, and is brand, asset, and process agnostic. It is also configurable and scalable, and integrates seamlessly with ERP, MES, maintenance, and quality systems. Customers consistently see a full return on investment in a few months after implementing Freedom eLOG.

How are some key customers deploying this technology to improve productivity?

We have a large equipment OEM customer that implemented Freedom eLOG and it helped them reduce delay times and setup times to such an extent, that it resulted in nearly a 50% In-Cycle time improvement. That translated to a productivity increase worth $6 million.

GE’s Digital Marketplace Aims to Revolutionize Manufacturing

GE (Niskayuna, NY), a leading industry member of the UI LABS-led Digital Manufacturing Design and Innovation Institute (DMDII), has been selected to lead the Institute’s effort to create a Digital Manufacturing Commons, or Digital Marketplace, which forms the “digital thread” that will connect and drive manufacturing supply chains in the future. The open source platform GE scientists are developing will build on the successful platform they demonstrated with DARPA and MIT a few years ago and which has been recognized as an outstanding innovation by top manufacturing leaders.

“The Digital Manufacturing Commons will open up innovation and collaboration in ways that create a whole new renaissance in manufacturing,” said Joseph Salvo, manager of the Complex Systems Engineering Lab at GE Global Research. “The open source platform we are building with our DMDII partners truly will democratize access to the tools of manufacturing innovation for companies, universities, institutes and entrepreneurs big and small.”

Okuma America Corporation Offers CNC Technology Training

Okuma America Corp. (Charlotte, NC), a world-leader in CNC machine tool manufacturing, together with educational partner York Technical College, offer CNC machine tool education and training for machinists, programmers and engineers at the Okuma Technology Institute (OTI). The partnership serves the workforce development needs of the manufacturing industry.

Classes are available to all skill levels from beginner to advanced and include training on state-of-the-art Okuma CNC machines. OTI offers classes in mechanical and electrical maintenance and CNC operation and programming. Participants receive both classroom and hands-on instruction on Okuma machines at the OTI facility at York Technical College and Okuma America headquarters. In addition to live courses, OTI offers online learning courses in programming and machine basics. Course and registration information can be found at

Okuma’s additional educational partnerships with Madison Area Technical College (MATC), Davis Applied Technology Institute (DATC), Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR), and Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) offer a variety of course curriculums to train the next generation for CNC machine tool careers. In these programs students can earn a variety of degrees and certification, including associate’s degree up to graduate degrees. To find out more, visit

Okuma is hosting several student-related, educational events during the upcoming year including a special event in October to celebrate Manufacturing Day. For more information on Okuma America Corp. visit  


Altair Invests in FluiDyna GmbH for GPU-Based CFD Technology

Altair (Troy, MI) recently announced an investment in Garching, Germany-based FluiDyna GmbH, a developer of native GPU-based fluid dynamics and numerical simulation technologies. Altair is focused on the development and broad application of simulation technology to synthesize and optimize designs, processes and decisions for improved business performance.

The companies will collaborate to develop GPU optimized computational fluid dynamics (CFD) applications for classical aerodynamics and multiphase flows in complex geometries. In addition to a technology roadmap to release a new virtual wind tunnel technology later this year, Altair will be the exclusive worldwide reseller of FluiDyna’s ultraFluidX and nanoFluidX CFD technologies.

For computationally intensive disciplines like CFD, FluiDyna’s technology to use graphics processing units (GPUs) as massively parallel processors offers the benefits of being less expensive, faster and significantly more energy efficient than central processing units (CPUs). FluiDyna specializes in the development and application of GPU-optimized numerical methods to rapidly solve complex fluid flow and thermodynamics problems. The company’s commercial product offerings include ultraFluidX for aerodynamics simulation and nanoFluidX for particle-based fluid dynamics simulation. In addition to reselling ultraFluidX and nanoFluidX, Altair will soon launch and provide access to these technologies through its popular Altair Partner Alliance program to its HyperWorks clients globally.

Based on the Lattice Boltzmann Method, ultraFluidX solves large-scale internal and external aerodynamics problems in hours on a single workstation for a broad class of problems including passenger and heavy-duty vehicles as well as for the evaluation of building and environmental aerodynamics. nanoFluidX is a fluid dynamics simulation tool based on the smoothed particle hydrodynamics method to predict the flow in complex geometries with complex motion. For example, it can be used to predict the oiling in powertrain systems with rotating shafts/gears and analyze forces and torques on individual components of the system.

For more information, please visit and


IQMS Reveals In-Line Vehicle Sequencing App at the Big M

IQMS (Paso Robles, CA), a leading manufacturing ERP software and MES authority, in June revealed its fully automated In-Line Vehicle Sequencing (ILVS) application at The Big M in Detroit. Designed to solve automotive supplier sequencing challenges, the In-Line Vehicle Sequencing app tracks and arranges every piece associated to a reusable tote/container for full traceability, compliance and part history.

The In-Line Vehicle Sequencing application calculates the sequence in which automotive parts are to be packaged based on EDI-generated sales orders. Manufacturers can create verification labels for each individual part, then scan those items toward the sequenced tote as they are packed. Upon completion, a mixed holding label is generated for the container to be scanned toward a pick ticket, allowing manufacturers to deliver a very specific sequence of parts to a vehicle assembly line with ease. 


This article was first published in the July 2015 edition of Manufacturing Engineering magazine. Click here for PDF.

Published Date : 7/1/2015

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