Cloud Machine Utilization Tracking |

Cloud Machine Utilization Tracking

March 022012
Cloud Machine Utilization Tracking
Low Cost Entry Replaces Pilot OEE Programs
March 2012
By Thomas R. Cutler
When considering an OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness) or Machine Tracking Utilization system, most companies have the financial scope to conduct a trial or pilot program. This usually means putting the tracking utilization solution on a few machines to build a case for the solution enterprise-wide. 
Large upfront fees have stopped many manufacturers from implementing an enterprise-wide OEE or utilization machine tracking solution. With no large upfront fees, and a pay as you go low monthly payments more manufacturing firms would TRY this technology. Without the worry of the upfront investment, low setup fees, and low monthly payments based on the quantity of equipment utilizing the system, more firms would say, why not give it a try. As the old television commercial slogan suggested, “Try it, you’ll like it.” A cloud-based SaaS model would allow for a low entry cost for manufacturers to immediately capture data collection enterprise-wide for less than a pilot program. This is a game changer!
Collecting data is one thing; making data useful is another. There is clearly value to having historical data, but having the data in a meaningful format as the activities are happening greatly increases the value of any data collection system. Josh Davids, President of Scytec was recently interviewed about the role of DataXchange, providing user configurable real-time viewer for feedback as the data is collected.
According to Davids, “Visual information helps articulate more clearly, and few solutions deliver visual data to stakeholders throughout the organization with user interfaces uniquely configured to suit the needs of specific users or function areas. Visually manufacturing data must be accessible to more people to make faster decisions and accelerate workflows, leading to faster, better understanding, and communication of information.”
 Personal Dashboards for Tracking Utilization
 The visual dashboards for tracking utilization must be configured by each user for their unique use, or for use by functional areas, such as machining cells. Personal dashboards must allow users to customize part of the interface to suit their individual needs. Multiple personal dashboards should be created providing quick access to a variety of different information. These data must also be available 24/7 for remote viewing; real time data must be available from anywhere with Internet access. 
Tracking multiple types of cycle time
Davids announced that, “Cycle times can be tracked from a hardware adapter and through MT Connect or Fanuc Focas. Reporting on metrics such as utilization and efficiency, can then run both sets of cycle time and then compared; spindle time can also be collected.”
Ethernet based protocols such as Fanuc Focas and MTConnect greatly reduce or eliminate hardware at each piece of equipment. In addition to supporting these latest technologies, DataXchange also supports RS-232 serial devices such as CNC machines, CMM's, scanners and RFID hardware.
Collect data from CNC machines, PLCs, even manual machines
While collecting from equipment with the latest technology such as MTConnect is great, there is often a need to collect from manual equipment. Keying off of voltage, current, or presence sensors are all methods used as input to identify the state of the equipment. If the Internet connection is lost it is vital that data is retained and automatically uploaded once the connection is restored. Davids was reassuring in explaining, “Temporary loss of internet connectivity will not cause the loss of any data.  If the data collection terminal running DataXchange locally cannot connect to any of the hosted servers the data will be retained locally and uploaded as soon as the internet connection is restored.”
No database or web servers to purchase or maintain
The expense of many OEE solutions is the need to house and maintain the servers. The SaaS cloud design greatly reduces the implementation and maintenance costs. With one PC on site to aggregate the data from the equipment and ensure the data is successfully and securely transferred to the server, immediate reporting of data is available.
March 27 - 29, 2012 the Scytec DataXchange Process Control System will be displayed at Westec in the Shop Floor Automations booth, #2344.
Author Profile:
Thomas R. Cutler is the President & CEO of Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based, TR Cutler, Inc., ( Cutler is the founder of the Manufacturing Media Consortium including more than 4000 journalists, editors, and economists writing about trends in manufacturing, industry, material handling, and process improvement. Cutler is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists, Online News Association, American Society of Business Publication Editors, and Committee of Concerned Journalists, as well as author of more than 500 feature articles annually regarding the manufacturing sector. Cutler is the most published freelance industrial journalist worldwide and can be contacted at [email protected].
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