Modern Machine Shop

MAR 2017

Modern Machine Shop is focused on all aspects of metalworking technology - Providing the new product technologies; process solutions; supplier listings; business management; networking; and event information that companies need to be competitive.

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mmsonline.com March 2017 MMS 77 FEATURE from System Insights (Berkeley, California). Vimana is a standards-based software solution designed to monitor and manage manufacturing productiv- ity. One of the strengths of this system that attracted LMI Washington is its ability to identify periods of production losses using a sophisticated classi- fication engine. This engine provides users with the information and insight needed to improve utilization, the software developer says. Another essential strength was the ability of this system to establish network connections to many types of control systems, including those locked into proprietar y data formats or those capable of generating only limited usable data. W i th th e sy s te m i n p l a c e, l a rg e d i s p l ay s mounted in the machining areas show real-time status of connected machines, including various aspects of machine performance and utilization that can help operators recognize opportunities to improve productivity. Nicholas Mueller, then a systems analyst at LMI Washington and proj- ect lead for the machine-monitoring system implementation, says these features accounted for the initial bump up in utilization. "We experi- enced this 10 percent increase just by displaying Vimana on the shop floor." Previously, the production team relied on red-yellow-green stack lights mounted on each machine to assess their status. Now, the moni- toring software enables them to view a machine's status at a glance or check it remotely on a mobile device. The system also alerts them via email to indicate prolonged downtimes—insight that a stack light cannot provide. Over a sustained period since initial startup, utilization rates have continued to improve. Results of all the machines connected have shown an increase of more than 15 percent, the company says. The best-performing machine has shown improvement of more than 20 percent in average utilization. The palletized lines have also achieved an improvement around 20 percent, which is especially significant because these lines repre- sent a major capital investment in machining capacity, LMI says. Mr. Mueller points to one reason for these results: The software's downtime classification capabilities are able to accurately capture the status of the equipment. These classifications include Producing, Standby, Planned Downtime Managing an internal supply chain that includes machining, metal fabrication and processing is essential to LMI's workflow and production efficiency to support customer value- added services such as subassembly (shown here) and component kitting. (LMI Aerospace photo)

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