Production Machining

MAR 2018

Production Machining - Your access to the precision machining industrial buyer.

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better ones. No matter what top-of-the-line driver is used, the ball will still end up in the weeds if it isn't hit straight. Mastering the process first is the key. In golf, once flaws in the swing have been corrected, new clubs may be the next step to improving a person's game. In manufac- turing, increasing capacity or the need to replace older or failing equipment may justify purchasing new machines. Data can provide solid evidence for when and why to invest in new equipment. Make Simple Changes Regardless of automated monitoring systems, employees are still the most important element of a shop's success. "ose that implement and maintain best practices on a daily basis, at the shop level, are where true improve- ments are made and maintained," Mr. Pieper says. Better managers, for instance, can offer easy solutions, often simply by knowing when a machine is off, when it's on and what the program overrides are. Fortunately, a significant part of machine monitoring—systems that are easy to train and generally only take a day or so to be set up—is that it provides data-based insight on these factors. Insight into when a machine is on or off proved useful in a recent instance when TechSolve provided a monitoring system to robotic weld cells for a shop. Rather than revealing any sort of complex problems, the monitoring showed that employees were taking too long for machine startup and too long for breaks. Simple problem, simple solution. e same is true with keeping up with overrides. MTConnect and VizProducts can track operator-initi- ated feed and spindle speed overrides. ey also track other items such as optional and programmed stops on machines. Supervisors can receive an alert if an attempt is made to override or circumvent the programmed values and act accordingly. By communicating with the client application, the control and sensors can help to improve machine usage and reduce material and time wastes. Choose a Maintenance Style e implementation of digital technologies can be the differ- ence between planned and predictive maintenance. But predictive data is different than a simple management style. With the former, more theoretical approaches to digital manufacturing have caught on in recent years. But most problems are simple—broken cables, faulty switches and human error. Typically, speculative sources of downtime and part quality issues are not as important as better training and machine awareness. A management style, however, is simply about what machines are running and what machines are not. is approach requires a baseline method to collect data from the range of a shop's installed equipment that is consistent across legacy machines as well as those that have been brought in recently. Looking at what affects cycle time is an old-school approach, and that has started to change in the last six or seven years. Taking the subjectivity out of the data, the focus can be on machine performance instead of operator performance. Consider Cybersecurity e question of cybersecurity often arises during discus- sions of digital manufacturing. When moving toward digitalization, risk of vulnerability needs to be consid- ered. Because cybersecurity is such a rapidly developing industry, it's crucial for professionals in IIoT, specifically, to keep abreast of new security concerns. To reduce the risk of hacking, networks need to be isolated from external attacks. For example, if anyone were to hack into collaborative robots meant to be integrated with lathes, mills, routers or grinders while they are being operated, that security breach could spell disaster for the machinist currently using the cobots. Long-Term Ramifications Incorporating digital manufacturing requires coordination, convincing hesitant employees and a willingness to evolve with the changes the technology brings. Interfacing legacy machines, new machines and sensors will enhance the functionality of both machine and software by bridging the digital and physical worlds while enabling everyone on the shop floor to work together more efficiently as a team. Mr. Pieper believes the future lies in the use of data for a new angle on plant efficiency and that means TechSolve is going to continue helping shops collect, store, integrate, analyze and share that data. For more information from TechSolve, call 800-345-4482 or visit Here's another article on this topic: Preparing Precision Turning for Industry 4.0 Industry 4.0 can provide actionable information about the operation of a machine tool and the accessories that work with it to help make informed decisions about machine performance. Index Corp. is an example of a machine tool builder moving forward with this practice. LINK :: TECH BRIEF 30 PRODUCTION MACHINING :: MARCH 2018

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