Keep Your Eye on the Ball

Whether the goal is lights-out production or simply maintaining a more refined machining process, monitoring systems and software can contribute a great deal to accomplishing success.

Columns From: 7/20/2009 Production Machining, ,

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Chris Felix

Whether the goal is lights-out production or simply maintaining a more refined machining process, monitoring systems and software can contribute a great deal to accomplishing success. A number of approaches can be taken, including a combination of strategies to address various areas of the shop floor.

Monitoring can mean different things in a manufacturing environment. Tool monitoring can play a significant role in saving money by preventing tool breakage and reducing scrap. Some systems provide instant feedback of the results of adjustments to tools, cutting speeds, feeds, depths of cut and geometry. They can also stop the machine at the first sign of trouble.

General shopfloor monitoring involves collecting, reporting and charting cycle times, idle times, setup times and other process statistics. It can improve manufacturing by supplying accurate shopfloor productivity metrics to enhance operations and make better decisions.

Atam Systems (New Albany, Ohio) has more than twenty years of experience providing process protection for applications ranging from automotive transfer lines to lights-out Swiss operations in medical machining. Read "Protecting Capital Equipment" for one such application that has found huge savings by minimizing scrap, increasing tool and machine life and working towards leaner operations.

Predator Software (Portland, Oregon) offers an array of products aimed at revising, verifying, networking, controlling, monitoring and organizing the shop floor for improved productivity. See "CAM And Turn/Mill: Making More With Less" to learn about a shop that uses Predator MDC to track all machining activity in real time, including good and bad parts run, downtimes and efficiencies.

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