IMTS Highlights (Part 3): New Technologies
Jim Kosmala 10.17.2018
This blog post is Part 3 in our series sharing key headlines observed by Okuma's executive leadership at IMTS 2018.
For those who came to IMTS 2018 hoping to be inspired by new technology offerings, Okuma did not disappoint! We put on an impressive display of new machines to be sure, but we also showed some unique solutions that help solve some of the most challenging issues shops face today.
Connect Plan: A Fully Supported Product
Data collection is currently a hot topic, and Okuma has shown functionalities in this arena for several years now. At this year's IMTS we unveiled Okuma's Connect Plan, which is a complete package offering both data collection and artificial intelligence (AI), and is a fully supported product. Connect Plan can look at your data, tell you where your problem areas lie, and show you how to improve productivity.
The Dreaded Yellows
Most plants are focused on eliminating yellow conditions for their machine tools. Yellow typically signifies that something needs to be resolved, such as adding more materials, removing a blockage, or waiting for an operator to return to the machine. But how can you capture these seemingly random occurrences, and resolve them for once and for all?
A Learning Component
Connect Plan's AI looks at dozens of different system variables and parameters and makes an assessment as to why the machine is yellow. It can do this because the AI has a learning component to it, where over time, if you tell it you're waiting for tooling, or an operator, the next time this happens the machine recognizes and identifies this problem. When these patterns repeat over time, the AI can pick it up a lot faster than a person can, plus it can assess much more complex scenarios.
Savings Add Up Quickly
Connect Plan can be used to shave minutes off yellow conditions and ultimately, eliminate them altogether. Minutes add up to hours of additional productivity, and the bigger the plant, the bigger the savings. When you have a lot of machines that are occasionally blocked or starved from material flow (or some other issue), this would present a formidable challenge to untangle using a manual process. But using AI to pinpoint trouble spots and resolve them means the savings can add up quickly.
Labor Shortage Solution
Another issue that was on everyone’s mind at IMTS is the labor shortage. Automation was getting lots of attention because this naturally comes to mind when thinking about how to eliminate labor from a process. However Connect Plan, as a data collection system, can be just as important in improving your operations or productivity. Data can help you use your resources - including people - more wisely. By maximizing your productivity you're making the most out of every precious man-hour on your shop floor.
Higher Standard of Machining Efficiency
AI is ready for use on machine tools, and Okuma's Connect Plan system is fully supported, which means we can help you make the most of it. We offer a few different packages that can be customized for your needs. We even offer an option where we add AI on the machine's ball screw, which can be used on our OSP control for predictive maintenance. These tools have moved from the theoretical to the practical, and just in time. Technology will help us all evolve to a new, higher standard of CNC machining efficiency.
Jim Kosmala is Vice President of Engineering & Technology, Okuma America Corporation.