Interested in linking to "Wireless aids molding machine ERP"?
You may use the Headline, Deck, Byline and URL of this article on your Web site. To link to this article, select and copy the HTML code below and paste it on your own Web site.
Despite concerns that wireless might have more potential faults than hardwiring, the test found wireless wasn’t more sensitive. Wireless data packets informed the system if signals were delivered successfully after machine cycles, and used the machines’ process controls to report if parts produced were of good quality. The developers even hooked up 1970s-80s vintage machines with relays and solenoids, and secured 12 and 24 VDC signals, again reporting when the devices completed their cycles. This allowed the system’s PLC to confirm when products were being made. “PLC interfaces to our board also say if parts are good based on robot inspections,” adds Flamm.
Besides improving its quality efforts, wireless could potentially help IQMS expand its applications into more sophisticated production monitoring and process control, as well as ERP related to orders and inventory, according to Flamm. IQMS uses Oracle exclusively for its database server.
“We previously stayed out of these areas, but our customers are spread out over plants, and our ERP systems works on one centralized database,” says Flamm. “The database now allows us to see production data up to the second, and lets users tell their customers when shipments are most likely to occur anywhere in the U.S. or worldwide. They can also set database scans, for example, and show on plant-floor monitors if their machines are running lean (green), slow (yellow), or stopped (red).”
Some machines monitored by the software also are being run by operators. Providing immediate operational information feedback from a wireless network also can help them adjust production more quickly in response to orders, reduce scrap, and keep inventories lower. Most importantly, this data can help prevent non-monitored production overruns, and the costs of making unneeded parts.
Similarly, keeping better track of machine cycles via wireless can improve maintenance scheduling for molds and tools attached to particular machines. The one board on each machine is able to serve all three types of devices.
“At this point, we’re still just marking cycles and monitoring for quality. We’re not doing control yet. In the future, we’re going to learn how to send temperature and pressure data via wireless, too,” says Flamm. “We’ve been working with wireless for about one year, and it’s scary how fast it’s grown. We started at one plant, and then had orders to install three more this past July. So now our wireless solution is on about 100 machines in four different plant.
“Our solution allows us to hook up any type of cyclic process. We’re also going into metal-stamping machines, and this will allow us to generate a signal for every stroke. This isn’t just process data. This really is a business solution.”
ControlGlobal.com is exclusively dedicated to the global process automation market. We report on developing industry trends, illustrate successful industry applications, and update the basic skills and knowledge base that provide the profession's foundation.