As published in Canadian Metalworking magazine, March 2010.
There is a technological shift going on out on the shop floor that is allowing machines to communicate directly with corporate information systems, generating big benefits for companies by increasing their operational efficiency. Applications are available that provide real-time machine monitoring, acquisition of Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) metrics, dynamic computer-aided machining, automatic synchronization of part programs, DNC, work order
scheduling, and central control of machine operations.
Why Make the Leap?
The Internet has changed how the world gets its information: it’s all about easy access. Manufacturing machines that communicate via serial ports run the risk of being not connected to the information highway and consequently being an unproductive asset. If these machines could be refurbished with advanced communications technology, a company could avoid spending millions on new machines. Furthermore, extracting operational information from all its machines, both new and old, would permit a company to optimize its manufacturing processes. Companies that have moved to the Ethernet report a significant improvement in efficiency and cost savings.