OMAC evaluates OPC link from CNC to ERP | Automation.com

OMAC evaluates OPC link from CNC to ERP

Research Triangle Park, NC (March 24, 2007) - OMAC's Human Machine Interface (HMI) Working Group exists to promote best practices and technology applications that provide connectivity to the enterprise through open architecture.

Recently, OMAC has been working on advancing OPC as a CNC integration technology as a best practice. OPC is an industry standard for open connectivity in industrial automation and has been supported by nearly all of the major providers of industrial automation.

The OMAC HMI Working Group organized a joint project between OMAC HMI members Boeing, Okuma, and NIST to evaluate the integration of Computer Numerical Control (CNC) to Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and determine if part accountability could be achieved with minimal integration efforts using OPC/OMAC technologies.

Realizing the challenges associated with integrating factory floor information into ERP subsystems are significant due to the traditional factory floor set-up model, the project team established only one goal. That goal was to examine the effectiveness of an OKUMA PC based controller - THINC in collecting cycle times, setup and job times, part quantities and other vital information on machine and job performance to minimize data entry requirements for machine operators and to provide real-time parts cost accounting to an ERP accounting subsystem.

The joint Boeing/Okuma/NIST work integrated the production of Boeing 737 Leading Edge (LE) Panels on an Okuma open-architecture CNC with the enterprise to provide real-time cost data.

"Overall, we successfully achieved most of our goal of a "touch" to "non-touch" operation," said OMAC Chairman Sid Venkatesh of Boeing. "We were able to replace the tedious data entry process required of the machine operators with a more automated approach. As far as realizing an efficiency ROI for CNC - ERP is concerned, we were able to validate that CNC-ERP connectivity was possible, simple and cost-effective once the details of interaction between the shop floor and the scrap reorder SCM system were established."

This project demonstrated the ease with which the machine tool end user, Boeing in this case, can use a truly open control platform to realize their ideas and vision. Okuma exposed the necessary data from the Okuma THINC control standard Application Programming Interface (API) in an OPC wrapper. Boeing and NIST were able to complete the project with no additional assistance from Okuma. This autonomy in implementation of creative applications is the distinct advantage of the open control platform - controls adapting to the requirements of the end user.

The project team is planning to continue refining the application to demonstrate the efficiencies associated with LEAN manufacturing targeting improvements in inventory control that would equate to cost savings.

The Open Modular Architecture Controllers (OMAC) Human Machine Interface (HMI) User Group is an industry working group under the auspices of the OMAC Users Group. OMAC is a founding member of the Automation Federation (AF) working with its AF members and industry to derive common solutions for technical and non-technical issues in the development, implementation and commercialization of open, modular architecture control.

About OMAC
OMAC-The Open Modular Architecture Controls Users' Group is an affiliate organization of ISA - The Instrumentation, Systems and Automation Society - and works to collectively derive common solutions for both technical and non-technical issues in the development, implementation, and commercialization of open, modular architecture control (OMAC) technologies, and to facilitate the accelerated development and convergence of industry and government developed OMAC technology guidelines to one set that satisfies common use requirements. OMAC has about 500 member representatives from end-user companies, OEM's, and technology providers and integrator companies. OMAC currently operates three Work Groups: Packaging Machinery, Manufacturing Infrastructure, and Machine Tool. OMAC is a founding charter member of The Automation Federation.
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