Data Collection Updates Improve Machine Networking, Communication Tools
Predator Software reseller Shop Floor Automations (SFA) has updated Predator MDC (Machine Data Collection).
More monitoring options are available in the updated Predator MDC. Users can track activity from any number of machines on the shop floor. Equipment can be interfaced over wireless, Ethernet and RS232 cabling to extract data. The software is said to contain thousands of charts and reports for users, who can then make informed decisions to improve plant performance based on observations. They can view machine data live on dashboards across the production floor or do a presentation in the conference room.
Features include Predator DNC, which is designed to improve machine program communication and part program revision control. Predator DNC also includes a networking tool for legacy Windows-based controllers called Secure DNC. The solution can also be integrated with ERP and MES software. Users can replace barcode readers and handheld terminals with Predator Touch HMI for simplified data collection, a big-button interface that can be integrated with Predator MDC. The software accommodates several protocols such as MTConnect, FANUC Focas, Okuma Thinc, OPC UA and more to communicate with a variety of equipment.
For two shops in northern Indiana, using MTConnect for machine monitoring was just the start. Both shops are now ready to implement other promising applications.
A panel discussion at the recent Top Shops Conference focused on various points of view regarding the value of connecting machine tools to a network for monitoring performance and recording results. Because machine monitoring helps a shop make better decisions about manufacturing processes, it is a good example of data-driven manufacturing in action.
MTConnect agents and their corresponding device adapters are simply small computer programs that work together so that MTConnect can make shop equipment and networks more readily connectible. In a nutshell, adapters enable existing shopfloor devices “to speak MTConnect,” and agents enable MTConnect messages and data files to be transmitted across a network to MTConnect-compatible applications.