AMP for Machine Performance Evaluation and Improvement
Advanced Manufacturing Media
Mazak iSMART Factory Initiative Spreads to Japan Plant
July 13, 2017 by Mazak Corp. - Press Release
The next-generation iSMART Factory
These next-generation factories use advanced manufacturing cells and systems together with full digital integration to achieve free-flow data sharing in terms of process control and operation monitoring. In the Mazak iSMART Factory, the MTConnect open communications protocol works with process support software and provides connectivity and the capability to monitor and then harvest data from all the different production floor machines, cells, devices and processes.
Mazak reports that the firm experienced double-digit increases in productivity and machine utilization in each facility immediately after the implementation of digital process monitoring through MTConnect and Mazak's SmartBox technology.” For the Oguchi Mazak iSMART Factory, the MTConnect open protocol allows the plant to use its own in-house cyber monitoring software. This software then works conjunction with Mazak’s Smooth Monitoring software so the plant can monitor operations and optimize production efficiency.
Mazak, Merlin, MT Connect
MTConnect is an open-source, royalty- free manufacturing protocol that easily connects devices and systems from different suppliers to capture and share information in a common format, such as XML. By establishing an open and extensible channel of communication for plug-and-play interconnectivity between devices, equipment, and systems, MTConnect allows sources to exchange and understand each other’s data. Many key machine manufacturers support the protocol. This raw data is to be read and analyzed to turn it into more actionable information using additional software that translates the machine data into graphic reports including dashboards that provide information on the current performance of cells, departments, and overall plants and the targets. These comparisons can be done for smaller and smaller periods so that fabricators/production shops react and solve problems early to be on target.
The benefits of implementing these analytics include:
Productivity problems can be identified fast—accelerating resolution.
Plant-wide productivity typically increases by 10 to 50 percent.
Dashboard metrics can be available for everyone on the shop floor to see.
Merlin is an industrial Internet platform for monitoring machines and equipment. Merlin is designed to monitor every machine in a shop--CNC machines, non-CNC machines, fabrication centers, and manual processes—providing information tied together in a production process manufacturing execution system.
Merlin uses various protocols (MTConnect, FANUC, Focas2, OPC, to name a few) to access relevant signals and monitors all machines and equipment in a plant.
Merlin using MTConnect is installed at Mazak Corp.’s machine tool manufacturing facility in Florence, Ky. The company employs about 750 people has a facility of about 800,000 sq. ft with a variety of machines and equipment including laser cutting, press brake bending, welding, finishing, and equipment for other fabrication processes. It produces turning centers, multitasking machines, and vertical machining centers, including 5-axis models.
The Kentucky iSMART Factory provides high quality and reliable products through its Production-On-Demand practice. The comprehensive machine monitoring system provides secure reporting for shop floor and the plant-wide communication provides truly powerful results. The claims that
simply making basic dashboards visible on the shop floor increased productivity by roughly 20 percent. Machines that are stopped, waiting for materials or programs, are color-coded red on the dashboards and the entire plant comes to know of them. So, there are more responsive actions in the entire plant to make them work again as early as possible. Machine monitoring delivers instantaneous, automatic, and timed proactive e-mail and text alerts to minimize downtime. Detailed analyses of downtime root causes point to areas requiring more operator training. Identification and removal of unnecessary optional stops helps recover lost production time.
Benefits of implementing MTConnect and Merlin at Mazak included a 42 percent improvement in machine utilization.
Tradeoff between Machine Utilization and Inventory
Should machine be idle or inventory stagnate.
Economics will decide the right decision. But what the Japanese have done is there optimized an alternative strategy. The alternative strategy of low inventory was optimized by reducing the need for inventories. Set up times were reduced and zero defects programme was implemented successfully that made small lots economically feasible. Hence there was no need to worry about machine utilization. It can be idle if there is no customer demand. Produce when needed became the principle but machine has to be available when needed. So availability of the machine to satisfy the customer demand in the shortest planned time became the objective.
Lessons in Machine Effectiveness Versus Efficiency
by Darrell Casey, Celerant Consulting