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Mazak Makes Good Use of MTConnect

  The Mazak Energy Dashboard allows users to monitor machine tool energy usage and take steps to realize energy savings.

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The Mazak Energy Dashboard allows users to monitor machine tool energy usage and take steps to realize energy savings.

MTConnect, a standardized communications protocol for manufacturing equipment, debuted at IMTS 2008. At this year’s show, Mazak shows the tangible benefits of applications that use the data made accessible by MTConnect. The new software is being demonstrated at a special “Mazak Digital Solutions to Industry-MTConnect” kiosk in Booth S-8300.

First up is the Mazak Energy Dashboard. This interface provides real-time monitoring of energy usage, environmental impact and carbon footprint for a variety of machine tools and peripherals. Just as a glance at the dashboard gives the driver of a car its speed, fuel level, engine temperature and so on, the Energy Dashboard interface provides an at-a-glance reading of a machine’s energy usage and related data. The dials on the car dashboard, however, don’t tell much about possible about fuel inefficiency caused by running the AC on full blast or taking jackrabbit starts at each green light.

“The motorist might change driving habits if the gas being wasted was visible,” says Chuck Birkle, Mazak vice president of marketing. “It’s the same with machine tool users.” The software behind the Energy Dashboard identifies key drivers of energy expenses so that they can be managed and minimized. Programmers, operators and shop managers can see when a machine is being energy efficient or not.

“For one thing, the Energy Dashboard shows how much more energy efficient the new models of Mazak machine tools are compared to older models,” Birkle says. “The energy savings inherent in multitasking machines such as our Integrex line also become apparent—and, if queried, the software relates the savings to measures everyone can understand, such as how many household light bulbs could shine for a week on the energy conserved by the latest machine design concepts,” he adds.

The company is also demonstrating Insight, a factory management application developed by System Insights, a software developer specializing in MTConnect-enabled solutions. The program monitors real-time performance of equipment and uses computational algorithms to detect opportunities for eliminating unplanned downtime and reducing planned downtime. Insight offers a complete picture of a facility’s performance, helping managers to improve productivity, reduce overhead, lower energy costs and boost profitability.

“MTConnect is an important development for the industry, but powerful apps that benefit end users will drive its acceptance in the marketplace,” Birkle says, adding that Mazak customers are increasingly asking for MTConnect applications that lead to better shop floor utilization of their machines.

 

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