Shop Matters - Ep. 29: Newman M2M: Technology to Help Improve Manufacturing

On this episode of Okuma’s Shop Matters podcast, host Wade Anderson is joined by Bryan Newman from Newman M2M as they discuss the manufacturing innovations of Okuma partner Caron Engineering, from TMAC to ToolConnect, and look forward to new technologies that will further advance the manufacturing industry.


TRANSCRIPTION

Wade Anderson:

Hey manufacturing world, welcome to another episode of Shop Matters, sponsored by Okuma America. I'm your host, Wade Anderson. This podcast is meant to talk about all things manufacturing related. Today, joining me in the studio, I've got a long-time friend, a gentleman named Mr. Bryan Newman. So, Bryan, welcome.

Bryan Newman:

Thanks, Wade, glad to be here. Thanks for having me.

Wade Anderson:

So, Bryan, tell us a little bit about your company, M2M, and what's your real sweet spot in the marketplace?

Bryan Newman:

Sure. So, my company, Newman M2M, represents a company out of Maine, Caron Engineering. And we are centered around supplying products that make the CNC machine tool more efficient. And also, automating customers' processes. And I cover the Southeast for them.

Wade Anderson:

Okay. So, M2M, how did you come up with that name? What does M2M mean for anybody that doesn't know it?

Bryan Newman:

Sure. So, when I started thinking of names and what I wanted to do with my company, I was interested in the data side of getting information off the CNC control and getting it external to processes where it could be utilized to automate and make better decisions for our customers. So, M2M stands for machine to machine.

Wade Anderson:

Machine to machine?

Bryan Newman:

Yup.

Wade Anderson:

Excellent. So, tell us a little bit about your background. You're a Marine, correct?

Bryan Newman:

Yes. I'm a Marine, served four years, '85 to '89. That was my first real job-

Wade Anderson:

Now, you're aging yourself.

Bryan Newman:

I am. And that's okay. That was my first real job. And from there, I actually had two years as a dependent husband. My wife was also a Marine, or is a Marine-

Wade Anderson:

Wow, okay.

Bryan Newman:

So, still trying to figure out how to get that gig back.

Wade Anderson:

Yeah.

Bryan Newman:

Not working out, but from there I came to work from Okuma.

Wade Anderson:

Okay.

Bryan Newman:

So, worked with Okuma for 19 years. Did a little bit of everything, manufacturing engineering, product engineering, director of IT, technical sales, and got to a point where I was looking for something a little bit different, had about 20 more years of working and-

Wade Anderson:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Bryan Newman:

Decided that after conversations with Okuma and the CEO that, maybe I could do something that was along the lines of helping Okuma in the market, in what they were doing with their new PC-based control. And it was a great opportunity to partner with Rob Caron and Caron Engineering.

Wade Anderson:

Excellent. You made that comment about, 20 more years, or so to work. We're looking at changing 401k things and stuff like that. And one of the planners asked me, "What's your path look like? How long do you plan to work?" I said, "Have you ever met my wife? Do you know her spending habits? I think I'm going to work until I'm about 108 at this point.

Bryan Newman:

Retirement's doing what you want, or what you enjoy. I enjoy what I'm doing, so we'll see.

Wade Anderson:

Excellent.

Bryan Newman:

Maybe, it's 30.

Wade Anderson:

Very good. So, Caron Engineering, when I think of the technology that we do, Okuma I believe, builds one of the best machine tools on the market. Obviously, I'm a little biased, , but when I think of the technology and where manufacturing is going, and people who have led innovations in the industry, I think of Caron Engineering a lot. And they're on everybody's product, not just Okuma. There's a lot of different machine tools out there they connect to. So, talk me through, what are the common products that Caron Engineering offers?

Bryan Newman:

Sure.

Wade Anderson:

And then, after we get done with that, we'll take a forward look at some point.

Bryan Newman:

Okay. All right, sounds good. So, Caron Engineering, has four, or five base products that they have. The first product would be the flagship product called TMAC. It's a Tool Monitoring and Adaptive Control product. So, it is centered around someone that's looking to do unattended, less-attending, lights-out type operation. It's a system that you can put on the machine and actually monitor the tools for wear and breakage. And then, the adaptive component to it, is to allow for changes in feed rate, based off material hardness, softness. So, tool breakage prevention, cycle time reduction at that point, that's TMAC.

Wade Anderson:

Okay.

Bryan Newman:

The next product that's been around about the same amount of time, TMAC's been around, for about 30 years. AutoComp is actually what I believe Caron started with. And it's a Windows application that close-loops the quality process. So, rather than having an operator look at a gauge value screen or a CMM report and typing a offset into the machine control, the software can be set up to, "Hey, here's our nominal. Here's where the offset needs to be applied." The gauge can send that information electronically. We then, can retrieve that, do the math off of it and apply the offset automatically to the control. So again, streamlining the quality process, close-looping it, better process control, eliminating operator error and freeing that operator up to really do what they need to do.

Wade Anderson:

Okay.

Bryan Newman:

The third product would be Tool Connect and it is for customers who use presetters. You can either print a barcode, or write to an RFID chip on the tool holder. And then, we take care of retrieving that information off of the tool holder and that chip and getting it into the control correctly. So again, error-freeing that process of the operator, instead of them having to look at a tag and say, "Hey, here's my geometry, type it in, not fat-finger it." Make those human mistakes that we all are going to make, because we are humans.

Wade Anderson:

Right. And there's so many times, I know when I was a production machinist when I first started off. And you get so used to the control, and so used to hitting buttons, that you're not even thinking about it-

Bryan Newman:

Aren't we creatures of habit?

Wade Anderson:

Oh yeah. And I'm going at such a fast pace and I'm excellent, right? I have the best track record in the world.

Bryan Newman:

That's right.

Wade Anderson:

I know exactly. And I go to make a one thou adjustment, make a ten thou adjustment. And didn't mean to-

Bryan Newman:

Oops.

Wade Anderson:

It was just, my fingers going faster than my brain at times. And next thing you know, you've got scrap parts, or a scrap part. Whether you're making $5 widgets, or $50,000 widgets, it's affecting your bottom line and your productivity. So, the AutoComp, it was the first product that I got to know Caron Engineering by. And I think the interesting thing for me, is you're basically setting that work-in-process tolerance. Then, you've got your actual part tolerance above that. So you're one, fail-safing or fool-proofing, somebody like me, fat-fingering a digit, going too fast. But, you're also giving a safety factor to your overall manufacturing process, by putting your preferred tolerance band that you want to maintain that process in. So, if something does drift out a little bit, you still got a little bit of cushion before you hit that red line of that reject part of that.

Bryan Newman:

And we all go to bed on time and have good night rest and come in to work, just eager to work and do the best that we can do. Just perfect human beings, so...

Wade Anderson:

Right. Yeah, yeah.

Bryan Newman:

No need for these type of systems, a good night's rest, while I'm sipping on my eighth cup of coffee, trying to get my blood going in the morning.

Wade Anderson:

That's right. So, that's excellent.

Bryan Newman:

Yup.

Wade Anderson:

Another story I'll share from personal experience with Caron, with the TMAC product, we had a customer and I'll try to make this as generalized as I can, so I'm not naming names. We had a customer that made a component that had a oil hole to provide lubrication to other components, that this fed to. Automated process, they had 34 cells, all robot-fed. It had three machines per cell, 34 of these cells, one part wound up with a broken drill in it that made it through all QC and quality control checks. These are ISO and every other quality system certified process that you can name and it made it through all that, to the end product, into the field and it failed with an end user. And if I could share too much more than that, I'm going to name the company here, so I'm going to be a little bit careful, yeah. But, it failed in the field with the end user. Well, of course, everything starts rolling back from the OEM, all the way down to the suppliers, which in turn, came back to us on, one, how did the drill machine break, and how did your machine let that happen? So, all these engineers, we all put our heads together on, do we do tool breakage detection in the magazine? Do we do more laser tool breakage detections in the machine? There's a lot of different options you can look at. And I brought up, why are we trying to catch it after the fact? Why are we trying to stop the machine after it's broke? Why are we not doing something ahead of the time and get ahold of it before we have that opportunity for it to break? And we start talking about TMAC and looking at the adaptive control and whether, or not, is it sensitive enough to actually catch it? So Rob Caron, working with him, and this is a pretty big scope project, right? There's three machines, times 34 cells. So he gave us a seat of the TMAC to try. Gave it to the customer. Let's load it up. We had to provide the interface for it. Got it loaded up. Let's try it and see what it does. Since that time it's been... Now, I'm going to age myself. It's been probably 10, 12 years ago at this point. Zero, zero failure, zero broken tools from the time that was implemented in an automated environment.

Bryan Newman:

Right.

Wade Anderson:

And this is all cast iron machining, not hard machining, but you're not cutting butter either, right?

Bryan Newman:

Yeah, it's not brass.

Wade Anderson:

You've got plenty of opportunities for failures. And for us, it's caught it 100%. It was really amazing to see that in the real world production environment like that, let's talk about how sensitive is TMAC? And how does it work?

Bryan Newman:

So, TMAC is really sensitive and really the reason behind that, is because Caron actually develops and manufactures their own sensors. So, we do have competitors that do similar sensor technology. A lot of them will even tap into the current off of the drive, which every builder generally has a load monitoring system.

Wade Anderson:

Yeah, and we do as well.

Bryan Newman:

Exactly. And it's current-based and we've all seen those torque curves. And if you're in the mid range of the motor, you have a decent chance of getting it set up to catch it. But, if you're low end, or high end, you either have too little change in current or too much change in current to be able to catch it. So that's why we do our own sensor and base it off of horsepower.

Wade Anderson:

Okay. So, give me example on a material and a drill size. And I know it's going to vary based on process.

Bryan Newman:

Right.

Wade Anderson:

But, generally speaking, what would you expect, the smallest diameter tool, or drill that it could catch?

Bryan Newman:

So we have a sensor that's called a Strain Gauge, which really is detecting the deflection of the material. And we start looking to use that sensor. If, we're on a Swiss style machine, low horsepower motor, and you're down into a thousandth size drill that you're talking about drilling.

Wade Anderson:

Wow.

Bryan Newman:

So, you're not going to see a change in horsepower.

Wade Anderson:

Okay, so you got a lot smaller than I was expecting.

Bryan Newman:

Yeah. Well, in general, on a common machine, 30, 35 horsepower, we're down at a couple of millimeters to a millimeter size that we can still sense off horsepower before we have to start looking at other sensors.

Wade Anderson:

Okay. High pressure coolant and things like that doesn't affect it?

Bryan Newman:

No, it's not going to interfere with it. I mean, it's obviously lubricating and clearing the chips out. It actually helps, because when you're doing that and you're getting that chip break up, our sensors are actually so sensitive, you can actually see it re-cutting a chip and you'll get a quick spike out of it.

Wade Anderson:

Oh, okay. Wow.

Bryan Newman:

So, the more get that cleaned out, the better you are. And we have ways of handling that when it happens. So it's not it's the end of the world, but it certainly, as you are well aware, is beneficial when you can get that high pressure through the tool.

Wade Anderson:

Right. So, the way that you set it up, if somebody's never used TMAC and they're installing it for the first time, what does that process look like? From what does the machine need? And even from a non-Okuma perspective. I think, I might be speaking out of turn, because I don't work on other machine tools. But I believe we can load all the interface and software direct on the CNC. Other ones, you may have to add a separate PC to run it. So talk through what does that look like regardless of the machine brand?

Bryan Newman:

Sure. So the installation of the product, depending on the number of sensors, because we do try to put a sensor on every spindle. So on a mill, you're going to generally have one on a lathe, depending on how many paths, how many turrets, I mean, you can have four, or five, six sensors.

Wade Anderson:

Okay.

Bryan Newman:

Because, you've got live tooling, main sub-spindle. So, depending on that process, you're looking at about a day, half a day to a day and a half to two days for installation time.

Wade Anderson:

Okay.

Bryan Newman:

Once we get that done, it's actually sitting down with the customer and walking them through, "Hey, we're going to get calls in the program to tell our system when to turn on and off, because just because we've installed doesn't mean we're actively monitoring it at that point. You're in control of what programs you want to monitor or the tools you want to monitor. We get that done. And it's a train the trainer type situation, where we really want the customer to learn what's happening, because no one sets up usually a program and never makes a change to it, right?

Wade Anderson:

Right.

Bryan Newman:

You reach a point that, "Hey, I need to try a different tool. So, I need to change a spindle speed, a feed rate, or something, depth of cut." And when you do that, those are going to affect of loads and you're going to have to reteach TMAC that value. So once you get the calls in the program, you go into a learn mode, you teach it, we learn the baseline for that tool. And then, you're setting limits from there, extreme limit, broken tool, wear limit, worn tool, undercut for a, "The tool didn't do the work that you expected it to do."

Wade Anderson:

Okay.

Bryan Newman:

And then, you've got the adaptive piece to it. And yes, from an Okuma perspective, with them being a PC-based control, it's certainly much easier to not have to add the extra PC that would be required to show the HMI, or pull up the web services. So, there's a little bit of expense there. From a partner's perspective, Okuma with their Partners in THINC, and the way that that's set up, they seem to be just a little more forward thinking on how they are partnering with companies and looking for, "Hey, these are the ones that we think do the best of what we need them to do. So, let's build that connection." Versus, trying to reinvent something, that's already out there.

Wade Anderson:

Okay. I know your team, you've got a lot of your guys on our shop floor, a lot working on the machines. They've got enough experience. They come in, and anybody that doesn't know our Partners in THINC program, all of our partners, they've got door fobs to the partners building. So they can come in and out as they please, work on machines, things of that nature. If they need AEs, they work with us, we schedule them and we get an AE assigned to them. But for your guys, they just come in, whatever machine's open, put their tool bag down, and start working, and run the machines, and do the testing, and ring out software, and whatever the case may be. So, it's been a really good partnership from that perspective.

Bryan Newman:

I think it's good on both sides. You guys, your guys get to get familiar with the product and understand the technology, so that they can talk with customers and help them solve their problems with those solutions. And then, for us, absolutely being able to come in and do that testing and being able to run the machines and do what we need to do, is certainly a plus for us.

Wade Anderson:

Yeah. Yup, absolutely. So a couple of years ago, we do a open house typically once, or twice a year, a Winter event and a Summer event. And our lathe product specialist, David Fischer, came to me and said, "There's this new sensor, DetectIt, that I want to try out, we're going to tie it into a bar feeder, measure vibration on a bar feeder and tie that into the control to see how, if you get whip or you get any bent bar stock, anything that could create bad harmonics, will it stop the machine? And help us through the process, things of that nature." But recently I saw that, where they've added it to a ring, basically. It goes around the spindle to measure and get a signature of the spindle. So you can monitor your life, or what was the signature when the machine was first installed? And then, as the process goes along, basically log and monitor any anomalies and things of that nature. Can you talk me through a little bit of that product?

Bryan Newman:

Yeah. So we've got a couple of ways that we can do that. DetectIt is a product that we can use the same sensors that we use with TMAC. It's either a windows or a Linux-based product. But it's a simple way to tie in and as you describe, put a vibration sensor, maybe on the collet, or somewhere where you want to detect that bar stock vibration. We teach it what a good bar stock looks like. And that's amplitude. We have recently released the ability to actually dial into certain frequencies.

Wade Anderson:

Hmm, okay.

Bryan Newman:

So, with that, we can actually catch other anomalies other than just a bar stock vibration. We've actually worked with a company. I can't say too much, or I will give it away.

Wade Anderson:

Right.

Bryan Newman:

And I'm under an NDA, but we actually, are able to detect the clamping of a spindle and whether it's on the pull stud good enough, well enough. And if it's not, you know what problems that can cause in the cutting process. So we're able to detect that before it actually gets in and stop it before you potentially scrap a part, or make a bunch of scrap parts. It's pretty easy to put the vibration sensor on, and then go through and set it up. The setup's very similar as it would be with TMAC. And then we also are able to do bearing analysis off of that spindle too. So getting into that predictive of understanding, "Hey, my spindle is starting to have problems before it actually fails. Oh no, I've got this job I've got to get out, and my machine is down, and I can't get it, and I'm scrambling how to figure it out." Versus being able to say, "Hey, it going bad. Let me get ahold of Okuma, or my local distributor and get something scheduled and get it taken care of before it's a problem."

Wade Anderson:

Right. I know I got to sit in on a conversation with Rob [Caron], one of our distributor, key engineers, and then a certain customer where they're talking about a process where they've got a horizontal and the spindle is failing earlier than what we would expect. We've gone in, trouble-shot it, looked at everything from coolant contamination to just general maintenance, things of that nature. Were there wrecks? Were there crashes? Were there things that we can detect? But we're looking at actually working with Rob in installing this vibration monitor and primarily to get a record of history, to be able to see, is there an anomaly? Is there something where after whatever 11 months, 14 months, whatever, is there some weird spike that you can pick up a trend. Where every once in a while, "Hey, here's this weird thing, what just happened here?" And then try to back back into, what's causing this?

Bryan Newman:

Root cause.

Wade Anderson:

Yeah, what's the root cause of this? What's causing this weird spike that we're seeing? So it's interesting technology. And I think being able to monitor and have that data log to look back and just see what's going on in my everyday process that I may not have eyes on? And this is something that's living there the whole time, collecting data.

Bryan Newman:

And that's one of the great things about all the products that we have. From a traceability perspective, data is stored, date and timestamped. So it's great to be able to prevent the things you know about. But how often does something happen that you don't know about? And you're sitting there trying to go back and talk with the operator, talk with people that were around and just understand what actually occurred? Where now, if you've got one of our systems on there and you've got some data, you really have a much better opportunity to go back and really understand what happened and even catch it before it happens the next time.

Wade Anderson:

Okay.

Bryan Newman:

We also have MTConnect adaptors for all of our stuff.

Wade Anderson:

That's a good point

Bryan Newman:

So if you want to actually take that data and everybody, that seems like... There's a new buzzword every other couple of years. And whether it's IOT, or Industry 4.0, or whatever- certainly, able to take our data that is comprehensive, and feed that up to a upstream system and actually do more automated analysis off of it, or notifications if you like.

Wade Anderson:

So hopefully everybody in the industry knows what MTConnect is. If they don't, give us a five second overview. What is MTconnect? What does that mean for somebody?

Bryan Newman:

So AMT started, it's been quite a few years ago, over 10 years ago. They wanted to come up with this standard that says, "Hey, these controls have all this data and wouldn't it be great if we could start feeding it to systems?" So they created this MTConnect standard that basically defines for people who write software. "Hey, if I want to go get spindle speed, for example, I can do this software column." It's the same on an Okuma, on a Mazak, on a DMG, no matter the brand of machine or control.

Wade Anderson:

So, it gives you some commonality from a software developer. So you don't have to try to create something new for all these different control models or builders.

Bryan Newman:

That developer doesn't need to understand what that spindle speed is. He just needs to have someone tell him he needs it and how to use it, and he can go do it. He can do his thing. So it opens up a whole another realm of expertise to come in and help manufacturing, actually streamline their processes.

Wade Anderson:

And that's not just for new controls that can go back to older legacy controls as well. Correct?

Bryan Newman:

There are some hardware modules that yes, companies are offering that you can go back and tie into PLC signals. You get a limited amount of data that you can get, but it's still valuable data that you can get off of older controls. Absolutely.

Wade Anderson:

You look at all the data that's available on machines. And a lot of times all you need is three, or five points that you can affect a lot of things in your process. You don't necessarily need thousands. The top three, or top five, will get you about 99% of what you need at a lot of times.

Bryan Newman:

That's right. And a lot of builders and controls have had some software components that resided on the control. Okuma had their MacMan system that actually would give a lot of that information, but it was a manual process to get it off it and do the analysis. Well, the minute it's manual, how often is that going to happen, right?

Wade Anderson:

Right.

Bryan Newman:

So the MTConnect is to helps automate it, so that you can get it out and actually have a much better opportunity to do those analysis that you want to do and understand how your manufacturing floor is running and even starting to get into the predictive side of yes, pulling in this sensor information that people like us add to it, and the builder adds to it, and start looking at that data on your own to come up with some anomalies.

Wade Anderson:

Yup. So one of the things that I like to talk about with partners and people in the industry is, not just what's here now, and what are current products that people may or may not be aware of and learn some deeper things on? What's the future look like? I mean, what do you see two years, five years down the road for M2M and for Caron Engineering?

Bryan Newman:

So first I'm going to put a plug in for some of the older technology. It still amazes me today with something as simple as AutoComp that people don't implement simply because of their uneasiness with computers making decisions for them. So it's great to look forward, but don't also overlook the stuff in the past. There's still a lot of things that customers haven't done there, but from a futuristic standpoint, I mean, you've always heard about the computing power and how it's exponentially increasing over time, right? And Moore's law. With that ability, the things that it's allowing us to do with the data that we're able to retrieve off that sensor to start getting into that predictive side of things. I mean, really, I don't know if it's two years, or five years out, but certainly we're going to reach a point in time with the sensors that the builder has, or sensors that are added, after the fact we're able to make real-time process adjustments at that machine to keep that machine running and making good parts in real time beyond what we are able to do today.That's one of the things. To come back into real terms, we are releasing a product that actually, we're able to do scanning of a blade, or something of that nature. So we're able to tie into a probe on a machine and rather than probing points, we actually can scan across that. And now, for someone who's doing five-axis type work, or something like that, getting that identified in the machine, versus after the fact is critical, because once you've taken it out, you're never going to get it back in.

Wade Anderson:

So, are you looking at doing things where you can actually build a model from scan and back feed that back to a cam system?

Bryan Newman:

So that exists today. Today, we're just looking at being able to verify, "Hey, that arc, or that cut is actually within spec-"

Wade Anderson:

This is what you wanted and this is what you got.

Bryan Newman:

This is the baseline and how much did it deviate from that plus, or minus.

Wade Anderson:

Okay.

Bryan Newman:

And then, really getting into the TMAC side, similar technology of today, our limits are linear based. Really getting an understanding of, "Hey, not only can I analyze frequencies in the future that are going to tell us a lot." But then, also look at the signature analysis of, "Hey, here's a baseline and I'm monitoring plus or minus from that, from the baseline." So, just that increase in computing power is going to just open things up exponentially.

Wade Anderson:

Right.

Bryan Newman:

As it's always done in the past, but I'm really excited to see about really that predictive side. Today, we were talking about how to set up a TMAC job, right?

Wade Anderson:

Yeah.

Bryan Newman:

And set it up for monitoring and how manual that is today. I mean, manual steps can be automated. You just have to have the processing power and the logic to do that. Being able to go in and install a system and be able to run it and have it learn and adjust over time to your process changes, versus you having to go in to manually do that. It's all about, robots are great. They're able to free up humans, but they don't replace humans yet today. They may at some point, but you still need to free up humans to do the things you need them to do.

Wade Anderson:

Right. Good points. So Bryan, how do people get in touch with you? How do they find you? And how do they learn more information on Caron Engineering?

Bryan Newman:

So they can go to Caron Engineering's website. They can get in touch with whoever the local integrator is in their area, directly from there. Or if they're in the Southeast, they can come to our website, newmanm2m.com, and get ahold of us. That way, we've got a way to submit it. Or shoot us an email at info@newmanm2m.com. And we'll get in touch with you.

Wade Anderson:

Bryan, thank you for your time today. I really appreciate you being here.

Bryan Newman:

Oh, you bet. Thanks for inviting me.

Wade Anderson:

It's always good talking to you.

Bryan Newman:

Yeah.

Wade Anderson:

Be sure to check out Okuma's website, okuma.com. As well as our YouTube channel for additional machine information, as well as video content that we've got. If you have thoughts, ideas for other podcasts, be sure to find me on LinkedIn, or reach out to us on okuma.com. Until then, we'll see you next time.

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