In previous articles we have discussed machine downtime and OEE including why machine data is valuable, how to use the data, and how to get the data. Here we will provide an example and some other helpful information on monitoring machine downtime and how to improve overall equipment effectiveness.
In this example we will use Kepware as a recommendation. Kepware is a very powerful and flexible tool. It is well accepted across industries and very well known. They have great support, can connect to many types of protocols and devices and is well maintained.
Using Kepware to connect, you will:
- Setup a Channel over which to communicate with the device driver (MTConnect, Bacnet, Modbus, etc), and the network card to connect
- Add a device or machine to connect to including the IP address and setup various data settings
- Then add the Tags or fields with names and addresses in the machine
- Open the Quick Connect tool
- Connect to the machine
- Test to see the data coming through
When pulling data you can either have Kepware push the data directly to a destination such as a database, or setup another system to pull the data from Kepware. You will view this data in an IoT software platform. What you view is depending on the IoT software platform you’ve selected including its capabilities, what is required to set it up and connect to data sources. Viewing data will also depend on how you’ve setup the logic in the system to process data and how you’ve setup screens to display it.
Choices of Tech
There are several options available out there to choose from and deciding which is best for you can be tricky. While you will need to decide which best suits your needs, here are a few options for machine downtime data gathering and processing we recommend:
- Industry standard product, widely recognized
- Is a PTC company
- Translates data from multiple protocols including for CNC machines: MTConnect, FOCAS for the GE FANUC controllers, and others
- Great support
- Can fit into multiple solution architectures
- PTC is a well known and trusted brand in engineering and IoT solutions
- Very flexible development environment for solutions
- Multiple products to greatly extend the solutions
- Wide support by many partners, of which we are one
- Household name brand
- Database, software development, and cloud tools are industry standards, including in manufacturing
- Flexible tools provide multiple options for solution designs
Best Practices and What’s Next
Use best practices for LAN design, security, database structure, naming conventions in the data layer, etc. Use open standards: OPC, OPC UA, MTConnect, ISA 95, for example: : OPC can be useful because it creates intelligent rules for how to collect data and how to verify have right data.
The next steps are to monitor the machine, look for issues that are valuable low hanging fruit, address them, then watch the numbers over time to see if there are improvements.
Be thoughtful for now and the future with Industry Best Practices. Solve the problem now and at the same time setup a foundation for growing the solution in the future. Setup a framework with a data model, and a network which will standardize how to interface with any machines in your plant. This will greatly simplify setting up new machines and simplify how to access the data.