Modern Machine Shop

NOV 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 November 2017 MMS 89 FEATURE "I t's all about making better decisions—deci- sions that help improve shopfloor operations." That's a statement I made at least twice when introducing a panel of machine-monitoring experts brought together for a presentation on data-driven manufacturing at the Top Shops Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana, in September. Focusing on machine monitoring as an example of data-driven manufacturing was my strategy for bringing this concept into perspective for conference attendees, many of whom are owners or managers of metal- working manufacturing companies and job shops. The three panelists selected for this presenta- tion were asked to emphasize rather dif ferent aspects of machine monitoring, but the common theme was using data gathered from this equip- ment to improve the results of machining opera- tions. Benefits of machine monitoring include higher overall equipment efficiency (OEE), better teamwork on the shop floor and a boost to lean manufacturing efforts. Using data gathered from machine tools leads to better decisions because the data is accurate, detailed, timely and objective. There is no need to rely on guesswork, wishful thinking or unsupported assumptions. Asking the panelists to take different angles on machine monitoring was also a strategic element. I wanted them to show that the value of machine monitoring is multifaceted. Although the main benefit is having real-time information about which machines are running or not running, and facilitat- ing the right steps to keep them running or start them running again, it helps in other ways as well. As panelist Dave Edstrom explained, data collected from machines can help a company make better decisions about the financial value of improving machine performance. It can identify the most appropriate and productive machine for assigning jobs, thus improving profitability. Similarly, panel- ist John Hosmon made the point that machine data can lead to better decisions about managing human resources. This data can make incentive programs more equitable and ef fective. It can pinpoint training needs and skills-enhancement programs that increase earning power. Never theless, the decision to implement a machine-monitoring system in the first place has to be sound and well thought out. Panelist Eric Fogg discussed the basics of creating a network to connect machine tools and protecting this network from cyber threats and hackers. He out- lined how installing the network, connecting the machines and analyzing the data can be a man- ageable, affordable process for most manufactur- ing companies. What follows is not meant to rehash the confer- ence presentation, but rather to summarize and flesh out the panelist's comments and reinforce the intent of the panel discussion. For that reason, we will start with the basics of connectivity and network security as outlined by Mr. Fogg. NETWORKING AND NETWORK SECURITY Mr. Fogg is chief operating officer and founder of MachineMetrics, a supplier of machine-monitoring systems and manufacturing analytics in Northamp- ton, Massachusetts. His company has installed systems in numerous machine shops since its founding in 2014. Mr. Fogg's experience with shop networking and network security has given him insights into the benefits and risks of connecting machine tools for monitoring. For the typical shop, preparing for a machine- monitoring system has two parts: getting the shop workforce ready and getting an implementation plan organized. Workforce readiness can include such steps as having honest and open discussions about the transition to machine monitoring, form- ing a team (ideally led by an informed and enthu- siastic "champion") and conducting training ses- sions (before, during and after installation, perhaps on a regular, ongoing basis). The implementation plan includes selecting a system supplier, creating a timeline and deciding whether to phase in with a pilot program (most shops start with selected machines, then follow with the rest). Determining what data to collect and how the analysis of the data will be acted upon must also be settled. The physical aspects of installing a network

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