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ME Channels / Advanced Manufacturing Now

Welcome to the Real-Time World, Job Shop and OEM Fabricators

By Frank Arteaga
Head of Product Marketing, Market Region NAFTA
Bystronic Inc.
 
Continual improvements are a mainstay of remaining competitive, and without data and the means to store and analyze the data, then there is also no means to measure the process. Access to real-time data lets companies dynamically react to changing variables in the manufacturing process and automated systems to make the proper hand-off from one system to the next. Fresh data also lets job shop and OEM fabricators see trends in advance so predictive corrective measures can be taken before a problem arises.
 
We are fortunate to be experiencing Industry 4.0, which refers to physical computing, logical devices and machine sensors that communicate data, the networking of these systems to communicate data in real-time, and the ability to use the collected data for automated decision making systems and data services that human workers use.
 
The internet is also finally making a big impact on manufacturing: Devices that communicate data in real time are doing so via the Web. Companies use Web-enabled web cameras, for example, to monitor production systems in real-time. Machines collect production data that are transmitted back to production planning and scheduling systems, as well as Web-based production monitoring systems. These monitoring systems collect production data, such as machine processing times and machine operating data, to maintain a statistical analysis of each.
 
Specific data originating from the machines, including web camera video, can be transmitted to cell phone and tablet systems.
 
In terms of machine production data, actual processing times of individual parts or entire program runs can be compared with estimated times. Deviations from estimated times can be managed—in real time—in order to make on-the-fly corrections.
 
In terms of collected machine data, for example, component sensors are used to monitor temperature in real-time to determine lubrication intervals and/or eventual component replacement intervals. This saves valuable production time because shop floor operators are proactively scheduling maintenance.
 
The interconnectivity of devices has enabled data to be communicated from one system to the other in real-time and allowed automated systems to make decisions that used to be centralized with human activities.
 
ERP systems can now automatically break down orders into bill of materials and machine routings, raw materials automatically ordered and jobs released to the automated job-management systems that can collect, group and optimize jobs based on material requirements and order due dates.  
 
As soon as the job-management system has optimized the materials, the orders can be sent directly to the machines based on reaching automatic criteria, such as achieving effective material yields.
 
Automated machines can take the raw material information and retrieve the correct material and present it for processing at the laser.
 
Automated unload and load systems make sure that the cut materials have been removed and new material is ready for processing before the laser is finished with the previous sheet.
 
This is all made possible by the exchange of data via Ethernet networks and between different machine components enabling automated decisions to be carried out.
 
With CNC machines capable of generating production data in real-time and their interconnectivity via Ethernet networks,  we are now able  to process and manage data, and monitor equipment and make decisions in real-time instead of waiting until the job is complete to realize some process took longer than it should have.
 
Real-time data lets us measure processes as they occur and as data accumulates over time. It also goes far beyond process analysis by providing the triggers automated systems need to also make real-time decisions. And it gives managers running the show the data they need to efficiently manage processes and equipment in real-time.


Published Date : 4/27/2016

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