Orbit Technology Announces Virtual Factory™ Now With Andon Feature For Visual Monitoring | Automation.com

Orbit Technology Announces Virtual Factory™ Now With Andon Feature For Visual Monitoring

December 172003
Orbit Technology Corporation has added an andon (pronounced ahn-dohn) feature to Virtual Factory™, allowing factory supervisors to more easily monitor factory status

Virtual Factory™, the “monitoring and control” software solution from Orbit Technology Corporation, has added an andon feature to its long list of product features. Andon became popular in the late 1980’s in Japan and elsewhere as a component of the just-in-time (JIT) manufacturing philosophy. Traditional andon systems consist of a panel of lights, each of which are connected to machines and devices located on the factory floor. Whenever the state of a machine or device changes (e.g., in operation, not in operation, jammed, etc.), the andon panel gives managers an immediate, visual update regarding the change.

Unlike traditional andon systems using light bulbs hard-wired to machines, Virtual Factory™’s andon feature works through any computer video monitor. The display is user-configurable, including the number, size, and color of andon lights, as well as device names to be monitored. Most important, the user can add new physical devices at any time and determine the circumstances under which the device should alert managers via the andon display. All of these configurations are carried out within the Virtual Factory™ environment, so hardwiring alterations are usually not necessary.

About Virtual Factory™

Virtual Factory™ gives its users the power to monitor and control any machine or device in their factory from any place with an Internet connection. It treats each real-world machine, device, and worker in the facility as a virtual object that can be viewed or controlled using an ergonomic user interface. Data constantly flows between Virtual Factory™ and machines/devices/ workers in the factory in real time. The software can poll the current status of machines, PLCs, RTUs, HVAC systems, RFID tags and workers every few seconds and then keep track of data about their activities in a data log for future reference. The data can also be used to instantly trigger actions by other devices using the event feature. Notifications can be sent to managers via telephone, e-mail, or pager about real or potential problem situations. A recently added status panel, or andon, feature can also be used to notify users. This feature leverages the best in Just-in-Time (JIT) process technology to alert users of status changes via an attention-getting, colorful visual display on their computer monitors.

Virtual Factory™ can also automatically carry out video monitoring and recording task. It can accommodate USB-based video cameras and has built-in video buffering capabilities. It can interface with any number of external software modules, including scheduling and nesting programs and DNC software. Virtual Factory™ can be configured to interface with any digital or analog input/output hardware device.

Sample Applications:

· Have Virtual Factory™ automatically call your mobile phone to alert you that a machine scheduled to run until 3:30 a.m. actually stopped at 1:14 a.m.

· Monitor the exact location of assets such as equipment and inventory items using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) scanners and tags.

· Check in on remotely located workers via video link or digital monitoring device to be sure they are following proper safety procedures.

· Run a report based on log data that lists all start/stop times for a particular machine over a two-week period in order to determine optimal usage patterns.

· Automatically track and monitor the status of each stage of a laser cutting process for sheet metal - from nesting to scheduling to cutting - to ensure on-schedule operation.

· Have Virtual Factory™ send an alert to the mobile phone of security personnel whenever someone is detected entering your facility without the proper RFID-equipped badge, or if an RFID-equipped piece of equipment is detected leaving the grounds.

· Program Virtual Factory™ to e-mail the shop floor supervisor with an MPEG or AVI video file containing footage of the machine immediately before and after an unscheduled stoppage occurred.

For more information about how you can put Virtual Factory™ to work for your company, please contact Jed Jones at 949-981-7001 or at [email protected].

About Orbit Technology Corporation

Founded by manufacturing automation experts in 1993, Orbit has made its name supplying factory automation, CAD/CAM and Web-based collaboration software solutions to its international base of clients.

Orbit employs a staff of highly educated, multi-lingual software solution experts who specialize in the manufacturing sector. The company's innovations continue to give its clients the power to access, manage, and control the data essential to their manufacturing success. Orbit maintains close ties with private industry and leading universities.
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