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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90 MMS November 2017 FEATURE for monitoring are generally straightforward, Mr. Fogg said, but every shop has different require- me nts a nd may face dif fe re nt challe nge s. A common approach is to install Ethernet cables to the machine tools for hard-wired connections, whereas individual workstation displays (usually a tablet device for each cell or machine operator) may be connected wirelessly via strategically placed Wi-Fi hubs. Network installation requires the involvement of those with IT responsibilities. Network security also must be addressed at this point. Mr. Fogg made the point that having the monitoring system running on a dedicated server on a subnet isolated from other servers connected to the shop network is a sound way to establish basic security of the machine tool connections. MachineMetrics usu- ally has this dedicated server linked to its cloud- based platform. As Mr. Fogg pointed out, cloud- b a s e d s y s t e m s t y p i c a l l y o f f e r s t r o n g e r cybersecurity measures, such as high levels of encr yption and redundancy. These measures may not be easy to provide or sustain on a closed, on-site platform. Suppliers of machine-monitoring systems have recommendations for their customers to keep networks safe (recognizing, of course, that no network can be entirely risk-free). Recommenda- tions from Mr. Fogg's company include these practical steps: • Be sure net wor k route r s a nd ma nage d switches are protected with strong passwords. • Use the best available encr yption on any wireless portion of the monitoring system. For u s e r s a c c e s s i n g t h e n e t w o r k r e m o te l y v i a the internet, the secure web protocol HT TPS protects shop data sufficiently. • Keep PCs and servers on the network up to date with the late st se curit y update s and system upgrades. • Have a network hardware firewall in place, and keep it up to date. Hardware firewalls, which are not expensive or difficult to install, control and block data traf fic that does not pass rules for permissible communication. • Put CNC machines on a virtual local area network (VLAN). A VLAN can be isolated from the shop network, with access governed by a switch manageable in network software. • Manage connections to and from networked machines with data gateways, software interfaces that govern communication with a network. Using one interface for the VLAN and another reserved only for the machine-monitoring system can prevent machine data from reaching any thing except the monitoring system. Another security option that Mr. Fogg mentioned is: "Shops don't have to connect to their controls directly if they don't want to. We (and most other machine-monitoring companies) can also connect an I/O device to the machine's circuitr y. This protects all programs, positioning data, tool data and other information. We can also connect to machines over a cellular network, so no connec- tions to the local network are required." Finally, Mr. Fogg emphasized that concerns about security should not discourage shops from pursuing the benefits of machine monitoring. A FINANCIAL ANGLE ON OEE Because OEE is an essential measurement of how well a manufacturing unit is doing, it is one Eric Fogg recommended that a gateway device like this one can be installed to keep a machine network isolated from the public internet. This inexpen- sive and readily available hardware device has two network cards that govern the movement of data to and from the network.

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