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Greg Mercurio is president, Shop Floor Automations Inc. (SFA; La Mesa, CA), a distributor and service center for Predator manufacturing data collection software and the Scytec cloud-based shop monitoring system. He can be reached at gregm@shopfloorautomations.com.


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Manufacturing Engineering: How crucial is it for manufac- turers to use shop-floor data management today? Greg Mercurio: One of the challenges we face every day is trying to educate the manufacturing industry on how criti- cal this data is. It’s at our fingertips and it’s not being utilized because a lot of manufacturers think it’s too complicated or it’s cost-prohibitive. In reality, it’s really available to us and the cost has been driven down quite a bit. If we have the ability to monitor e-mails and texts constantly 24/7 with our smart- phones, why aren’t we monitoring the shop floor?


would see costs for monitoring anywhere from $2000–$3000 per machine. These prices are if they’re simple machines. If you’re dealing with older equipment that would require more hardware, those costs could be in the area of $5000 per machine. Technologies including wireless, barcode readers, touch screens and tablets have started to drive implementation prices down. IT departments are now involved with the shop floor. They’re embracing wireless on the shop floor, where five years ago, that wasn’t something that was typical—the shop floor was isolated—and that has helped bring down the cost.


“The reality is most shops run only at about 60-65% machine utilization.”


Shop owners can get this information from the factory floor instantaneously to quickly resolve problems, put out fires, and focus in on problem spots. It’s a critical piece, because every second counts in manufacturing. Time is money, and the challenge is everybody’s been doing this on paper. With the technology we have, we can capture that data real-time, make informed decisions and reduce problems with materials, tool- ing, or sometimes company culture. It’s critical, because we all want to be competitive. We find more and more of our cus- tomers looking into this today because the technology’s there, and the machine tools allow more of this capability today. ME: Is it mostly larger manufacturers monitoring the floor? Mercurio: In the past, it has been the larger companies that were using it, because they can afford it. Typically you


28 ManufacturingEngineeringMedia.com | November 2013


ME: How have cloud-based monitoring systems, like the Scytec system you sell, helped reduce costs? Mercurio: Customers are looking into utilizing the cloud.


We’re storing our data in the cloud more frequently these days, and because cloud is being embraced, the costs are being driven down. SFA is working with Scytec as the sales arm for the cloud solution. We do the sales, the demos, and help with all other aspects of customer service to ensure a smooth implementation and ongoing success. One big dif- ference with this approach is with Scytec DataXchange you can try the system on many Ethernet-enabled machines for a very low price and no long-term commitment. The initial fee is $1000 and then for $45 a month per machine, you can be set up in hours and quickly monitor that equipment.


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