MoldMaking Technology

SEP 2018

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Page 22 of 67 21 machines, cycle times and quality issues. Paper files cannot share information, and many manufacturing software applica- tions are not capable of communicating with each another. Disjointed methods can limit the ability of mold builders to extract and analyze data from multiple concurrent processes. Generating reliable data requires substantial manual data entry. Analyzing that data is even more time-consuming. Applying a "Smart" Approach The goal of smart manufacturing is to retrieve critical metrics continuously and move them to a central location that is easy for all to access. Ideally, smart manufacturing enables you to identify improvement opportunities more easily, make sure operators are using each machine to its full capacity and even understand which kinds of jobs are the most profitable. Excelling in any one of these areas could give your shop an edge. Improving all three would almost certainly set your shop apart from key competitors. Cue a single, cloud-based tool for production scheduling, job tracking and CNC machine monitoring. All three of the aforementioned chal- lenges are the result of not knowing something about a process when it would be extremely con- venient to know it. A single, cloud-based tool for production scheduling, job tracking and CNC machine monitoring offers a way to solve this problem. It connects machine- and appli- cation-level data that you can access through a mobile app or web browser. You can see the value of this approach across the entire shop floor. Start by eliminating manual processes. This single, cloud- based tool can create digital work instructions, dispatch job sheets, schedule tasks, track jobs, monitor workstations and view performance reports. Once you have created your instructions and dispatched the job sheets to the shop floor, you can track them through production. With the ability to monitor the status of both job sheets and workstations, you can see at-a-glance which machines are operating, idle or offline and then assign (or reassign) jobs accordingly to optimize utilization, reduce downtime and improve throughput. This makes it easier to spot-check a job's progress against the deadline, especially if the customer changes that deadline midstream. And, you can capture a "snapshot" of these details to give customers or vendors a progress report at any time. This gives a centralized view of real-time information from the shop floor. Knowing where everything is at any moment in time has a huge impact on mold manufacturers. Digital scheduling would help you better manage capacity and make decisions that are based on actual workloads instead of estimates or guesswork. Digital work instructions could reduce the risk of mistakes. And, unplanned downtime at any workstation would be evi- dent, which would enable you to address potential issues more rapidly and reroute other work before bottlenecks occur. Combining scheduling, tracking and machine monitoring gives visibility into shopfloor status and performance. Doing this as a cloud tool gives an extended line-of-sight across multiple facilities. View a job's status against due dates to stay current on works in progress.

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