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Two New Devices Focus on Securely Accessing Data in Legacy Machines

April 202016 | Brett Brune | Smart Manufacturing magazine

A trio of Mazak, Memex and Cisco is beginning to sell SmartBox, a device meant to securely manage manufacturing data—information on axes, spindles, temperatures, cutting times, downtimes and part counts, for starters—culled from machines that have been laboring in a sort of silence for decades. At the same time, a pairing of Forcam and Wago plans to release a similar device it calls the PFC100 Industrial MTConnect device before July.

SmartBox uses I/O links to connect machines and produces MTConnect code in real time. It can use an adapter board from Memex and must be connected to a Cisco router, John Rattray, VP of sales and marketing at Memex, said in an interview with Smart Manufacturing magazine at the MC2 conference in Dallas. It can also use Memex’s factory- and machine-shop-floor-monitoring software, Merlin, to map existing signals and analyze and correlate the data so shops and plants can use it to improve productions.

Companies in the aerospace, defense and medical industries welcome the Cisco router requirement because it assuages their network security concerns, he added.

“We’re talking about IP connections in terms of Ethernet connections,” Rattray said. “You don’t need to have all the security in there to make the connection work. However, one customer of ours, DP Tool in New York, had experienced a situation where a guy who was maintaining a machine put in a USB stick into it and a virus on this USB stick spread to the company’s manufacturing network and whole admin network. It cost the company an enormous amount of effort and grief to get that fixed. You can run without security switches. But smart manufacturers are recognizing we need to secure and lock down our shop floor networks.”

The SmartBox has a “level three” managed switch that will shut the device down automatically if a USB stick comes its way or someone unplugs a particular Ethernet connection, Rattray added.

The emerging device from Forcam and Wago has a combined MTConnect adapter and agent inside the device, as well as a built-in security firewall for cybersecurity, Forcam USA Inc. CEO Mohamed Abuali said. He demonstrated a simulation model at MC2, saying it cost less than the trio’s device.

The Forcam/Wago product will cost less than $1,000, he said. And the Mazak/Memex/Cisco device will cost $4,000 on the low end but could be used on four machines, Mazak President Brian Papke said.

Companies using legacy CNCs will soon be able to choose between bolting their new data-retrieving device together with a Cisco network router or a “quicker solution that can connect to any network,” Abuali said. “The alternative [to these two options] is you have to retrofit the machine and upgrade the controller, which can cost thousands of dollars. In many cases, you cannot even retrofit.”

Both devices are intended to help manufacturers around the world connect their machines securely to a network. About 14.5 million machines still lack connectivity, Rattray said.

Of course, the idea is to then analyze the data to make the best decisions possible about manufacturing and machining processes. And some of those decisions can be made without human involvement, to be sure: “For instance, if a temperature sensor starts to rise above a threshold limit, the machine can send an alert and notify people before it fails,” he added.

Merlin lets companies “take data and make it manageable,” said Papke, who serves on the board for MTConnect. Otherwise, companies end up with “digital exhaust.”

“Forcam wants to define real-time production—from any machine of any age,” Abuali said. “That’s a critical state.”

Memex Chief Technology Officer Dave Edstrom is “very pleased to see more of these type boxes come out—because, as the saying goes, a rising tide lifts all ships,” he said.

But he couldn’t stop himself from making a quick comparison with the offering from Forcam/Wago: “The integration of what Mazak is doing with the SmartBox, with Memex and Cisco—making it easier to connect—will resonate very well with manufacturing. You don’t have to sell someone on Memex’s ability to connect anything. And you don’t have to sell anyone on Cisco’s ability to network a lot of devices together and do it securely. So that’s why we think SmartBox is a game-changer.”

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Memex Inc. (OEE) has Products Revolutionizing the Industrial Internet of Things

Stephen L Kanaval |

Overall Equipment Effectiveness is maybe not a phrase you hear that often, but if you manage a shop or a work site, you know exactly what it means. It means that your machines on your floor are running at peak performance. Memex Inc. (OEE) understands this so well that they made it their stock symbol. So, how does Memex do this? The company has created a manufacturing execution system called MERLIN OEE. The MERLIN OEE system is connected directly to the machines on the floor and offers live results and a constantly updating dashboard of metrics. Memex’s MERLIN OEE is all about a company using the machines that they have and making them better by finding the hidden areas of profit loss.

The creation of this unique system has allowed Memex to have four straight quarters of revenue growth. Meme produced a gross margin of $375,000, which was 27% higher than the same quarter in 2015 (cited from press release here). The industrial internet of all things is coming, and if you read Equities.com frequently you know that there are disruptive products out there. Memex is one of these companies that understands how to bridge the last twenty years with the next fifty years. The MERLIN OEE takes older machines and adapts them with software and shows areas where the machine can be improved. These analytics can save companies a lot of money. As a matter of fact here is what Memex says about that:

MERLIN delivers a 10%-50% average productivity increase, and earns 20%-plus profit improvement based on just a 10% increase in OEE. It consistently achieves payback in less than four months with an Internal Rate of Return (IRR) greater than 300%, and connects to any machine, old or new, utilizing native MTConnect, other protocols or MERLIN hardware adapters for older machines

Memex has important alliances with Cisco and Mazak. In addition, the MERLIN OEE has been proven in plants like Milwaukee Tool, Magellan Aerospace, Aero Pacific, and many more. And just think, there are over 16 million Computerized Numerical Control (CNC) machine tools installed world wide, what do you think Memex could do for all those companies with its machine monitoring software?

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer

 

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MEMEX @ Mfg4

Mfg4 is the most efficient way for you to see and evaluate the latest Aerospace, Defense, and Medical manufacturing technologies The aerospace, defense, and medical device industries share similar challenges: long project lifecycles, stringent regulations, mission-critical quality control, and a vital need for advanced manufacturing technologies.

Attending Mfg4 2016 provides a unique opportunity to explore the methods and products that are working in these industries and discover how they can be adapted and implemented within your operation. Collaborate with suppliers who already understand the challenges your firm faces and have proven solutions you can put to use immediately.

Nearly every hour on the show floor, professional presentations will provide important insights into each featured industry. Attend keynotes presented by industry leaders and hear how the technologies on the exhibit floor are tackling production issues in innovative ways during the Information Interchange

Attend the MEMEX sponsored smart manufacturing panel along with hearing from industry leaders on topics vital to industry manufacturers, network with peers and find ideas and solutions you didn’t even know you needed.

Meet up with MEMEX representative and discover what the Brilliant Factory means for you along with the tools you need to plan and execute successful strategies for your own digital factory of the future.

Date: 3rd – 5th May, 2016

Time:  Tuesday, May 3

10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Wednesday, May 4

10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Thursday, May 5

10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m

Venue: Connecticut Convention Center

100 Columbus Boulevard

Hartford, CT 06103

 

Learn more about Mfg4

Register for Mfg4

Top 5 Reasons to use Memex MERLIN MES for OEE & DNC

Serial communications is old outdated technology.  It has slow transfer speeds, it is slow to load today’s big programs into controls, and it is especially unreliable on long distance runs.  MERLIN is built on today’s modern, reliable IT Ethernet network structure.

To help deliver operational efficiency with production visibility to your manufacturing enterprise, here are the top 5 reasons to work with the award winning Memex MERLIN for OEE and DNC.

1)  Memex MERLIN is a true Manufacturing Execution System.

  • MERLIN MES is vertically and horizontally integrated across the enterprise.
    • Vertically integrated means that it executes ERP’s planned production schedule.  It takes all the work orders from your ERP system, mirrors them on a machine and manufacturing cell or assembly basis, and at completion (end of work order and end of shift) sends the ERP an upload of actual results on how production actually ran.  This enables a comparison to be made of how the production ran for an accurate time and cost picture.
    • Horizontally integrated means that the complete shop floor flow-line of production is viewed and communicated in real-time.  This enables situational analysis, bottleneck identification, and resources to be allocated (when and where they’re needed) in the shortest period of time –  all with historical, traceable reporting.
    • Integration means objective visibility about utilization.  True OEE metrics, product run and cost standards, and the requirements of the operator for resources (engineering, maintenance, crane, dunnage, 1st off quality check, etc.) can all be communicated to all stakeholders in real-time.

2)  MERLIN is an independent and unobtrusive monitoring solution.

  • Software protocols and hardware network connectivity (if required) that are electrically (optically) isolated from the control.
  • MERLIN does not affect the machine’s performance.  It does not use programs or memory, it simply listens to the machine.

3)  Memex MERLIN system can operate independent of any DNC solution.

  • Any existing DNC solutions in your site can still be used in conjunction with MERLIN
  • Or, if you  prefer, you can use MERLIN’s built in DNC.

4)  MERLIN is built on the latest & proven technology of the Microsoft platform.

  • MERLIN incorporates MTConnect, OPC, Focas and other advanced protocols for machine communication.
  • It is built on reliable Ethernet network (wired or wireless) rather than the older, slower, and unreliable serial based communication technology.

5)  Memex MERLIN system really is the BEST VALUE solution.

  • MERLIN has delivered our customers 10% to 50% or more improvement in efficiency, all thanks to its horizontal and vertical integration,
  • It adheres to ISA-95 standards of machine connectivity and fits with your IT network infrastructure.
  • It is a safe and proven technology that is being used globally.

To find out more about these 5 points, and even more reasons why Memex MERLIN is the best MES solution, contact Memex sales today at 866-573-3895 or via email to salesgroup@memex.ca

To learn more about Memex’s MERLIN, check out these short videos on topics covered in Memex’s OEE Solution Series webinars.

Value of MES in real dollars $15,000 per machine, every year.

Imagine increasing profit $15,000 per machine, sustained every year.  We can do it.

Modern Machine Shop’s “Top Shops” benchmarking survey, 2012 shows immense value for the use of an MES system.  Critical findings of the survey:

“The average gross sales for the Top Shops were 14 percent higher than the other shops.”

“The Top Shops achieve higher spindle utilization and faster setup times because they put a good deal of thought into optimizing shop floor processes and practices.”

“These shops are also more likely to implement continuous improvement strategies to become more effective as well as lean manufacturing concepts to become more efficient.”

Top Shops had a 12.6% better OEE metric than average shops.  A 10% improvement in OEE (capacity utilization) will increase IFO 22% (from the book: “Overall Equipment Effectiveness: A Powerful Production/Maintenance Tool for Increased Profits”, Robert C. Hansen, Pgs 47-56).

Memex’s MERLIN MES is a tool that allows your organization to achieve these results!

The value of MERLIN, using actual KPI measurements to your operation, is significant:

  • A +10%-20% increase in OEE is achieved by our customers following installation, typically within 12 weeks.
  • Using an average of $302,066 in annual revenue per machine and average profitability of 18.9% (Modern Machine Shop, Top Shops – Benchmark Your Machining Business, 2012, page 24*) a conservative 10% increase across 90 machines translates to +$2.7 Million per year increase in revenue and +$500,000 in profit.
  • This means, by machine, a +$30,206 increase in revenue and a $12,000 to $15,000 increase in profit.
  • At a conservative 10% increase in efficiency the breakeven is typically 3-5 months.
  • ROI of 100% in the first 12 months based on profit, or approaching 1,000% when factoring in increased revenue!

*Sponsored by AMT, the survey covered more than 500 manufacturing facilities.

MES is one of the best strategic drivers to obtain a competitive advantage in the manufacturing landscape improving profitability, reducing waste, and ensuring compliance with regulations.  The top 5 summary reasons are here.  For more detail, including ROI analysis tools and Lean Roadmap tools call Memex directly.

1) An MES system should be the highest priority project as it is more important than a capital equipment acquisition.  The value of an MES is significant to the stakeholders of a company far surpassing any other ROI.

2) Plant wide efficiency improvements greater than 10% are normal and drive a company to significant success.

3) Profitability is exponentially improved and sustained every year.

4) ROI typically of 100% in the first 12 months based on profit, a payback typically in the 3-5 months range.

5) Every day a company waits to implement an MES is lost profits that cannot be re-covered.

Manufacturing journalist TR Cutler profiles the OEE Calculator

Manufacturing journalist, TR Cutler, recently profiled the OEE Calculator by Memex Automation for Industrial Electronics Today.

The leading OEE (overall equipment effectiveness) Calculator, quantifies the increase in Income From Operations (IFO or EBITDA) for Same Sales Volume and Sell Everything scenarios for various improvement criteria. The OEE ROI calculator is a very preliminary ‘rough cut’ analysis tool for developing a business case (to engage real-time manufacturing performance data for shop floor machines in manufacturing plants). Part of the reason Calculator is ‘rough’ is because a Plant average is used for several important parameters such as OEE, shift output, and quality rate.

Much greater precision can be developed by using actual OEE data differentiated by product run and by work station. Future monitoring and proactive use of the information provided by an installed system significantly improves accuracy of alternatives; these data assists leadership teams in setting direction and focus to maximize results quickly. Rattray noted that, “First Look results are generated using Small, Medium and Large preselected productivity improvements to show the range of possible results.”

The current input values in the OEE Calculator, use hypothetical but realistic values for a machine tool plant. It is estimated that for most manufacturing plants, the Calculator results have a confidence level of eighty-five percent (85%), plus or minus three percent (3%.)

The OEE Calculator does not apply the Theory of Constraints (TOC) therefore, if the proper application of tools and OEE improvement is not achieved at the constraint, then the increase to IFO is also limited. The quality factor usually has more impact than Availability or Speed Factor for bottom line improvement. When waste or scrap is improved, OEE improves; the result, less material needed. It is important to apply Lean Six Sigma techniques to your manufacturing operations, so as to achieve significant results. Memex offers services in this area, as documented in our website.

Memex suggests that users of the OEE Calculator, “Closely account for the change in material since it determines the new amount of total units made and applies the base case unit material cost to the total number of new units required to make the good units for the associated scenario.” The Calculator zeroes all of the improvement parameters and individually examines what one (1) OEE point improvement is worth for Availability, Speed Rate, and Quality. This data provides the user an approximation of financial impact on IFO for types of improvement activities.

Rules for Manufacturing Efficiency

Your company’s success is increasingly tied to improving manufacturing performance and improving it quickly.
Manufacturers are increasing their focus on the bottom line. This scrutiny is leading to renewed attention on manufacturing, where the most significant assets (plant and equipment) and costs are.  Manufacturers need to cut costs, increase cash flow and become more responsive to changing market conditions.

The following are 17 rules to pay attention to that will drive profitability to the bottom line.

Enhance Asset Utilization and Efficiency
Improving manufacturing efficiency is a pre-requisite to better profitability and corporate success. Enhancing manufacturing performance yields huge advantages – from cost reductions to a stronger competitive position – which can be passed on to shareholders or customers.  The trick is to be highly efficient while improving quality, expanding your product portfolio, and becoming more demand driven.

Flexibility Improves Efficiency
Being efficient while responsive to shifting customer demand requires an enterprise-wide manufacturing transformation: moving from Manufacturing-to-Forecast (MTF) to Build-to-Order (BTO) which can create a dramatic payoff.  Greater flexibility lets you allocate production across plants, shifts or suppliers, resulting in a faster response to changing conditions and improved overall plant utilization. Greater efficiency reduces Work in Process (WIP), labor, scrap and rework, saving both time and money.

Culture of Continuous Improvement
Having an enterprise platform for manufacturing operations real-time Key Performance Metrics such as OEE provides global visibility, across your operations.  These capabilities let you easily identify and replicate best practices across your global operations while instilling a culture of continuous improvement across production, warehouse, quality, maintenance and labor activities.
Standardized best-practices reduce cycle and takt times across your operations, helping to ensure On Time Delivery (OTD). Global, real-time visibility that is actionable on a 24/7 basis enables immediate resolution to operational disruptions.

Synchronize Material with Production
Reduce idle inventories and execute Lean initiatives to achieve operational excellence.  By synchronizing material flows across production, warehouse and quality operations you can reduce costs and improve cash flow – get the right materials to the right plant at the right time.  Material synchronization means your material flows are in tight coordination with actual demand – finished goods roll off the line based on customer demand, and WIP is “pulled” through the plant to meet sequenced final assembly demands.  Cash flow improves from reduced inventory levels.  Waste from obsolescence is reduced and facility requirements for storage are minimized.

Enhance Lean Initiatives Globally
Lean, demand-driven manufacturers can further reduce idle WIP and inventory buffers while gaining agility to respond faster and more accurately to customer demand. Electronic replenishment and e-Kanban sizing, triggered by actual demand and consumption can help optimize global operations. Costs go down, efficiency goes up and customer satisfaction escalates.

Just-In-Time, Sequenced Operations
Applying material synchronization one step further, Just-In-Time, sequenced production can further reduce excess inventories, for a truly demand driven production.  Track, view and coordinate the flow of goods from supplier to customer shipment.  You’ll need real time visibility and actionable control of your entire material flow – in-transit, landed, WIP and finished goods inventories – to enable precise synchronization of material and production demand.

Improve Quality
Best-in-Class quality means building your product “right the first time,” resulting in reduced waste, fewer returned items, lower warranty costs and higher customer satisfaction.  Implementing a platform for continuous quality improvement is a way to ensure profitability, achieve regulatory compliance, maintain brand integrity and provide sustainable competitive advantage.

Get it Right the First Time
Directed manufacturing and real-time decision support systems can enforce best practices and Poka Yoke to prevent errors, a minimum requirement for Six Sigma.  Quality processes based on real-time data validation can greatly improve first time yields.  Automated, paperless processes eliminate manual data entry errors.  Automated alerts can quarantine materials or even halt production for out of spec materials to cut costs.  An approach to automated data collection with real-time metrics across all manufacturing operations can greatly improve the likelihood your product will be built right, the first time, and every time.

Traceability and Containment
A comprehensive application across manufacturing operations managing materials, labor, equipment, tooling, processes and suppliers insures “interlocking traceability” of all product and process data. The precise interactions of all manufacturing elements can be used to identify and contain quality problems before they reach the customer. Automated traceability and containment processes can greatly reduce manufacturing, warranty and recall claim costs.

Accelerate New Product Introductions
Introduce new products faster by synchronizing engineering with production. Real-time integration of production specifications with engineering design helps evaluate how product components or processes can be modified to improve output, increase quality or enhance product performance.
In today’s “digital” world with rapid data dissemination surrounding global product launches, manufacturers must respond faster to market changes while flawlessly executing new product introductions.

Real-time Visibility to Operational and Design Data
With the growing complexity of new product designs, manufacturers are increasingly turning to virtual design programs to model product performance.  Establishing a continuous, real-time feedback loop between production and design applications can provide critical visibility to better product design, improved quality and an overall compressed timeframe for new product introductions.  Furthermore, sufficient flexibility can be maintained to perform ad hoc changes as often as needed when converting digital designs into physical products, thereby staying ahead of the competition.

Reduce Manufacturing IT Costs
Complexity, process integration and systems disparity may be a reality, but are an unnecessary evil that can hurt production performance, force unnecessary training, waste resources and limit your ability to respond quickly to changing market conditions. Multiple, redundant systems across the plant can lead to unnecessary implementation, maintenance and upgrade costs.

Single Platform Enables IT Rationalization
Leading companies seek to consolidate and rationalize disparate applications – ideally into a strategic platform across manufacturing operations.  Integration, maintenance and support costs can be reduced significantly.  Linking a manufacturing system platform to ERP and the Automation layer creates a comprehensive solution for manufacturing operational excellence.

Core Deployment Program
Create a “Center of Excellence” of best practice manufacturing processes within a central ‘lab’ or ‘testing environment,’ which can then be rolled out to other locations as a “Core” deployment program for your manufacturing processes.  Up to 80 percent of these processes can typically be standardized, helping to accelerate multi-location deployments and simplify future updates as new best practices are identified.

Leverage ERP for What it Does Best
Many manufacturers have invested heavily in an ERP system to improve operations and have been successful within Finance, HR and other corporate departments. ERP implementations have struggled, or worse, in gaining acceptance in the plant.  Instead, industry leaders are leveraging ERP by connecting it to a manufacturing system to enable real-time visibility, control and synchronization across manufacturing operations, corporate planning and scheduling.

Focus on Planning in ERP, not Execution
Many attempts to directly extend ERP to the plant floor have ended in budget overruns, reduced functionality from what was originally conceived, or even complete failure. Corporate financial planning tools were simply not designed to manage complex, dynamic 24/7 real-time environments.

Let Manufacturing Shop Floor System Drive Production
This approach can provide real-time visibility, control and synchronization across your operations, while letting you truly leverage existing planning systems to effectively deliver value to the plant floor while reducing ERP customization. Benefits from such an approach include improved operational performance, accelerated ERP connectivity to the plants, minimized project risks and an overall reduction in IT costs.

Memex continues its tradition of serving the discrete manufacturing sector, supplying component hardware, memory upgrades, and visionary shop floor communication technology. Memex products allow a manufacturer to realize the impact of OEE Profitability.