Getting A Visual On Machine Maintenance

A software package allows real-time process monitoring of machine tools in operation. Its graphical interface speeds fault identification and machine servicing.

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When a problem with a machine tool arises, spending long periods of time to diagnose and remedy the fault drastically eats away at a shop’s productivity. StarragHeckert has developed an intuitive, visual monitoring system to speed fault identification and servicing for a variety of its machine tool models. The optional software package, called the Service Assistant Module (SAM), also allows real-time process monitoring at the machine or at a remote PC. Its objective is to minimize machine downtime and offer shop employees of all skill levels a means to diagnose problems on their own.

Users can choose any or all of seven SAM software modules to best match their maintenance requirements. Operators access SAM at a dedicated touchscreen display located near the machine control. A graphical interface navigates users throughout the various software modules so that they can readily find information, monitor the process or diagnose faults. The system is available in English and a number of other languages.

SAM’s service and diagnosis modules include animated images that depict all primary machine components and systems, as well as their status while the machine is operating. When a fault occurs, operators are guided via menus through the necessary steps to make the proper fix. Users can access detailed information about specific components by clicking on those components as represented on images or schematic drawings, such as those for electrical wiring or fluid supply lines. Operators can also call up actual photos to identify the component and its location on the machine tool. These photos, drawings and images are also useful for training new employees. When using the remote diagnosis module, all of this information is available from remote computers via an Internet or network connection.

The data recording and statistical analysis module records machine data, messages and alarms. It can create charts that track information about machine condition, failures, up-time and utilization. A maintenance management module lists scheduled maintenance activities and provides instructions and images to assist employees through the service task. Other modules provide electronic machine documentation, company contact information and automatic e-mail and text messaging alert capability.

SAM is available on the company’s STC, LX, HEC and CWK machine tools. StarragHeckert is based in Rorschacherberg, Switzerland. The company’s U.S. headquarters is located in Hebron, Kentucky, just south of Cincinnati.


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