Memex Automation storms the world’s largest industrial machinery trade show – with the help of market2world

October 22, 2014 – By Paul Brent (market2world)

Imagine your firm finished a trade show with 800+ sales leads, gained more than two dozen media interviews that included video segments from the show floor and a six minute video profile that played on every big screen TV at the show plus on TV screens inside hotels and shuttle buses used by delegates. Just a marketing dream? No, it was reality for Memex Automation (TSX-V: OEE) at the 2014 International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) in Chicago.

With 114,000 delegates, IMTS is the world’s largest trade show for manufacturing technology and Memex Automation is the global leader of Machine2Machine (M2M) manufacturing productivity solutions. Its connectivity technologies bridge the shop floor to the top floor and provide major machine efficiencies, maintenance savings, and eradicate productivity gaps. Its flagship product is the machine monitoring communications platform called MERLIN.

David McPhail, Memex Automation, CEO interviewed by IMTS TV

The company invested a huge effort at the show, an email blast to thousands of contacts, 10 people on location, real-time video displays at the Memex Automation booth as MERLIN monitored machine tools on the show floor as well as at the Mazak manufacturing plant in Florence KY, 492 kilometres away. The company also scheduled a press release for day one of the show announcing new products.

As the PR agency for Memex Automation the market2world communications team drafted the company’s IMTS press release, distributed it and performed the outreach. In the days leading up to the show we contacted nearly 100 registered editorial people as well as our own list of contacts. Before the show even opened its doors we had confirmed 14 on-site interviews with reporters, editors and publishers of key media.

With 1,900 exhibitors at IMTS, competition for media attention is fierce. We secured an interview for Dave McPhail, CEO and Dave Edstrom, CTO of Memex with IMTS TV. Each day IMTS TV, which is operated by the show organizers, profiles a few select companies that have breakthrough technologies. The six-minute profile ran on every IMTS TV screen and monitor on the show floor and is now part of the IMTS TV Web archive.

If you doubt the power of well placed media coverage examine the chart from Marketwired. It tracks the number of views of the Memex press release. Such a graph normally shows a declining number of views as the days go by, yet this one shows views climbing as we garnered attention for Memex including the video report by IMTS TV as well as MetalWorking Production and Processing, Industry Sourcing and Industry Week Magazine.

market2world memex media graph

Tracking of number of views of Memex Automation press releases.

We had 21 media reports that came out the IMTS event and we still have another 9 stories from the show in our pipeline. As of October 23, six weeks after the IMTS show, the company has closed five new contracts arising from contacts made at IMTS. John Rattray, VP of Sales and Marketing for Memex Automation, expressed his delight with the media attention market2world generated at the show that helped to fill the booth and generate 800+ sales leads. We were happy to hear that prospective customers told John, “Memex is everywhere!”

market2world memex imts

Memex Automation booth at IMTS show.

And another PR win: As a result of one of the editorial meetings we arranged at IMTS, CEO Dave McPhail was invited to join the editorial board of Manufacturing Automation magazine.

Paul Brent is Senior Communications Strategist with market2world communications inc. the public relations and product marketing agency for global innovators.

To see the full article, please click here.

Tool Monitoring for Multitasking Machines

Practical Machinist – Largest manufacturing technology forum on the web – October 22, 2014

Article From: 9/26/2014 Modern Machine Shop, Mark Albert, Editor-in-Chief.

Machine tools designed to combine milling, turning and other metalworking processes have remarkable potential for efficiency and productivity. Completing parts in one pass across a multitasking machine streamlines production by eliminating multiple setups, avoiding errors when parts are refixtured and performing several operations simultaneously. Multitasking machines also are well-suited for running unattended or having one operator oversee multiple units.

By their nature, multitasking machines tend to be complex and sometimes difficult to understand, however. They follow a variety of configurations—mills with turning, lathes with milling, twin-spindle machining centers and three-turret lathes are a few examples. Additional axis motions such as a rotating milling head (B axis) and turrets on a cross-slide (Y axis) compound this complexity.

And multitasking machines impose distinct challenges to cutting tool usage and management. For example, multitasking machines may have a limited number of stations for cutting tools on the tool turret or automatic toolchanger. Certain cutting tools may be called upon for both milling and turning operations. A worn or broken tool that interrupts a multitasking machine may have the same effect on productivity as unplanned downtime on two or more single-purpose machines.

Systems designed to monitor a tool’s condition, adjust automatically for wear and capture information about the tool’s performance can be especially valuable on multitasking machines. One of the biggest challenges to tool monitoring on a multitasking machine is coping with simultaneous cutting operations. One system designed specifically to meet this challenge is TMAC-MP from Caron Engineering (Wells, Maine) which stands for Tool Monitoring Adaptive Control for Multi-Process machines.

This system, which includes sensors installed on the machine tool and software installed on the CNC unit, monitors tool performance to detect wear or breakage, automatically adjusts feed rates to compensate for wear (adaptive control), and captures data about tool life. Several tools cutting at the same time can be monitored and controlled equally well, with all data recorded and displayed in a centralized interface. Data from a TMAC-MP system on an individual machine can be transmitted to a shop-wide machine monitoring system, enabling managers to incorporate critical tool data into calculations of overall equipment efficiency.

A Multi-Processing Extension

TMAC-MP is an extension of Caron Engineering’s pioneering TMAC tool monitoring system. It is based on the principle that a machine tool has to work harder to maintain a set feed rate as the edges of a cutting tool grow dull. In other words, spindle horsepower gradually increases as wear occurs. By sensing spindle horsepower output, the system can detect if a cutting tool is worn or broken.

More importantly, the system can be set to react to changes in the horsepower readings. If the power monitor detects evidence of excessive wear, it can signal the machine control to issue an alarm, initiate a tool change to retrieve a fresh spare tool or stop the machining process altogether.

The adaptive control option enables the control to automatically adjust the feed rate to maintain a constant horsepower rating as the tool undergoes normal wear patterns. As a result, the cutting tool performs at its optimum power level, thus extending its life, reducing cycle time, and avoiding stress on the spindle bearings and other machine components. Under this protocol, feed-rate adjustments are made constantly in small increments (typically 1 percent of the programmed feed rate) for a smooth transition that further protects the tool and workpiece surface.

For both monitoring and automatic adjustment, the system’s software can “learn” the normal horsepower draw for a given tool and operation while the tool is cutting. Using this baseline, the user can set limits and establish the preferred response.

The multi-processing enhancement of the system is designed to perform these functions even when multiple tools are cutting at the same time. Essentially, the software was reformatted to be multitasking in its own right. For example, this development enables the system to monitor and control two turning tools cutting simultaneously in an upper and lower turret while a milling tool is doing end work on a part in the subspindle.

Originally developed for a Tsugami Swiss-type lathe and introduced at IMTS 2012, TMAC-MP also includes significant hardware innovations. Most important is the ability to monitor very small tools such 0.004-inch- (0.1-mm-) diameter drills. To this end, Caron Engineering had to develop new strain sensors that can be fully embedded in static toolholders sized for tools this small. The company also developed three-axis and single-axis accelerometers for measuring vibration. Mounted on the spindle or tooling slide, these sensors record vibration in spindle bearings, servodrives and other machine components that can adversely affect cutting conditions.

The system’s user interface was also changed so that machine and cutting tool data can be viewed in a bar graph that shows tool condition and remaining tool life for all tools being monitored. This information can be archived in any structured query language (SQL) database. The software can also be set up to send alarms by email or transmit them as text messages.

The Larger Connection

As valuable as tool monitoring and adaptive control may be for the individual multitasking machine, Rob Caron, president and founder of Caron Engineering, believes that the ability to port data across a network is the most substantial pay off awaiting shops and plants that implement the TMAC-MP system.

“Making tool data available to third-party software applications such as shopfloor machine monitoring opens doors to many possibilities such as plant-wide, data-driven decision-making and integrated automation,” Mr. Caron says. As a first step in this direction, his company is partnering with Memex Automation (Burlington, Ontario).

Memex’s manufacturing execution system, Manufacturing Execution Real-time Lean Information Network (MERLIN) supplies OEE metrics to support performance, productivity and profitability initiatives. The system tracks manufacturing operations bi-directionally from the ERP work order to each machine’s operations. MERLIN connects to all machines on the shop floor using various protocols, MTConnect adapters and/or network conductivity devices.

According to Mr. Caron, TMAC-MP users can use MERLIN’s interface and connectivity to deliver in-machine metrics from the shop floor to the operations and corporate executives, even to mobile devices or other web-enabled systems.

This connection also has the benefit of validating the productivity and efficiency gains delivered by multitasking machine tools, as well as making those machining resources more secure by detecting and preventing cutting-tool-based constraints to their full potential. “Multitasking machines and tool monitoring are more than complementary technologies. They are mutually empowering,” Mr. Caron concludes.

A Swiss-style lathe with a subspindle was the test bed for t…spindle (next photo) are capable of simultaneous operation.

A Swiss-style lathe with a subspindle was the test bed for the TMAC-MP tool monitoring system for multi-processing applications. A tooling block working on the main spindle (shown here) and static tools doing end work on the subspindle (next photo) are capable of simultaneous operation.

Here is a photo of the static tools doing end work on the subspindle (mentioned in the photo above.)

Here is a photo of the static tools doing end work on the subspindle (mentioned in the photo above.)

A specially designed strain gage enables small tools to be m…echnologies, in tools of this size.

A specially designed strain gage enables small tools to be monitored effectively. Wear or breakage can be difficult to spot visually, or monitor with other technologies, in tools of this size.

A bar graph displayed on the control unit shows the performance characteristics of all tools being monitored.

A bar graph displayed on the control unit shows the performance characteristics of all tools being monitored.

Rob Caron, president of Caron Engineering, stands firmly on …n machine productivity and a shop’s overall effectiveness.

Rob Caron, president of Caron Engineering, stands firmly on his belief that tool monitoring bridges a gap between machine productivity and a shop’s overall effectiveness.

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To see the Modern Machine Shop article, please click here.

To see the forum where this was posted, please click here.

Memex’s Merlin praised by i-Mech in Manufacturing Automation article

Proactive Investors – Oct 20, 2014 – Memex Automation’s MERLIN system that works to improve manufacturing operations in real time has proven beneficial to more ways than one, according to client Innovative Mechanical Solutions (i-Mech), which is based in Edmonton, Alberta.

i-Mech’s president, Wayne Horley, was cited in an article in the October issue of Manufacturing Automation magazine (page 20) saying that the company has realized a number of benefits from implementing MERLIN.

While there’s no hard data in terms of improved productivity yet, Horley said that implementing any sort of accountability system improved productivity by a minimum of five percent.

The i-Mech president said that because the system tracks productivity, it is an employee motivator. “The operators know that we’re keeping track of things,” he was quoted in the article as saying. “And the people who are self-driven and want to contiuously improve? They love this system.”

The article also noted the MERLIN system’s ability to help with OEE [overall equipment effectiveness] and lean manufacturing because it not only collects data from machines, but helps teams analyze that data easily, offering both standard reports and the flexibility to write your own reports.

The system also reduces employee costs, cutting down on roles that require people to work on data collection and analysis, as with MERLIN, it is now automated.

i-Mech has plans to set up another manufacturing facility in the US, where it also wants to use MERLIN, with Horley also saying he is encouraging the company’s third-party partners to come on board.

Memex’s MERLIN is a hardware and software tool that tracks a large number of data inputs that measure OEE [overall equipment effectiveness] in real-time, machine by machine, as well as other operational machine information.

It enables customers to address production bottlenecks as they happen, converting idle time back into production and ultimately improving throughput and increasing income from plant operations.

MTConnect is the open, royalty-free standard that is used with Memex’s new CNC hardware adapters, bringing OEE network connectivity from the shop floor to management, no matter the make, model or vintage of machine.

To see the full article, please click here.

Measuring Up

Manufacturing Automation – October 2014

Case study on i-Mech of Edmonton, AB.

To see the full article, please click here, and go to page 20.

Memex showcases benefits of Merlin manufacturing tool together with client Mazak Optonics at FabTech

Proactive Investors – October 17 – 2014 – Memex Automation (CVE:OEE), the maker of a tool that works to improve manufacturing efficiencies, says that Mazak Optonics has invited the company to jointly demonstrate its product’s ability to connect all manufacturing machines to management and increase income from operations in real time.

Mazak’s laser-cutting systems and Memex’s product Merlin will be demonstrated at FabTech in Atlanta, Georgia, from November 11 to 13.

Memex’s Merlin is a hardware and software tool that tracks a large number of data inputs that measure OEE [overall equipment effectiveness] in real-time, machine by machine, as well as other operational machine information.

It enables customers to address production bottlenecks as they happen, converting idle time back into production and ultimately improving throughput and increasing income from plant operations.

“We are very pleased to continue our collaboration with Mazak and to demonstrate our combined capabilities to their extensive customer base and distribution channels,” said chief executive officer, David McPhail.

“MERLIN, as a forward and backward compatible MTConnect-based solution, universally connects all machines to management in real-time, measures plant-wide capacity utilization and shows manufacturers how to make more production, generating IRRs of up to 400%.”

Mazak Optonics is the laser-cutting systems division of Yamazaki Mazak Corp, which designs and manufactures productive machine tools and automation systems.

Memex’s Merlin was also showcased by Mazak at the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) in Chicago in September, as well as at EMO in Hannover, Germany last year.

Mazak purchased Merlin to manage its plant in Florence, Kentucky, and has cited a 42 percent increase in equipment utilization.

“The availability of key data is crucial to managing operational performance. The combination of MTConnect and MERLIN will deliver performance details including dashboards that open up tremendous real-time visibility for both individual machines and the entire shop floor,” added Mazak’s general manager of sales support, Marc Lobit.

MTConnect is the open, royalty-free standard that is intended to foster greater interoperability between manufacturing devices and software applications. It is used with Memex’s new CNC hardware adapters, bringing OEE network connectivity from the shop floor to management, no matter the make, model or vintage of machine.

To see the full article, please click here.