To Network or Not to Network? That is the Question
Have you heard of the “Internet of Things” (IoT)? The concept is to put a computer into every electronic device and connect those things to the Internet. Then you can monitor or control these devices with your smartphone. So…does smartphone = smart business? Is networking your machine tool right for you? Whether you’re producing millions of parts a month or just a few, a networked shop opens up a world of possibilities. However it’s important to know what you hope to achieve by connecting your machines. Following are just a few of the things you can achieve when the machines in your shop are connected.
- Want to know your efficiencies? Monitor your machines from a centralized location. Check spindle hours, parts count, maintenance reminders, tool information, alarm conditions and more.
- Like to control program revisions in your shop? Maintain all your programs on one networked PC. Have your operators submit program changes to a “write only” folder. Once the program is verified, place it in the “read only” folder where it can be accessed from the floor for every run.
- Attempting to maximize your available machines? Run your different parts on any available machine. Use a bar code scanner to read a work order or part lot number. Let the control select the right program from the server automatically.
- Required to track each part through production? Use integrated scanners to log serialized parts at each machining process.
- Trying to integrate gauging or QC measurements? Connect shop floor gauging to your network process for quick process modifications and go/no-go feedback.
- Need to see the part before pressing cycle start? Access the CAD drawing from your control.
- Ready to run lights out? A fully integrated PALLETACE stacker crane can have you running 24/7.
If you’re asking these questions and you’re ready to network, then Okuma OSP-P series control with the Windows® Operating System is the right platform. Okuma has been running in the Windows® XP environment reliably since 2003. The OSP-P control with Windows® makes it easy to connect to the IoT. Okuma P100-II and later controls can connect to most networks. These machines can utilize the new MTConnxxect Protocol to share with other Windows® based applications. Okuma’s latest controls with Windows® 7 and OSP Suite give you even more options. To take advantage of the networking power of this control, talk to your Okuma Distributor.
Thanks to Steve Dobbins (Manager, Service Call Center, Gosiger) for providing this article.