SOFTWARE UPDATE News About Digital Manufacturing Tools and Software

Mohamed Abuali CEO

Forcam Inc. (Cincinnati) Podcast:

Making your factory smarter pays fast dividends

Smart Manufacturing: How critical is monitoring the

factory floor for today’s manufacturers? Mohamed Abuali: Shop-floor management combines

advanced technology with the lean manufacturing phi- losophy to deliver ‘smart’ data—sustainable, measurable, attainable, realistic, and tangible results in shop-floor productivity. Global movements and corporate initiatives are continuously on the hunt for new technologies to drive Big Data on the shop floor. At Forcam, we don’t believe in Big Data; we believe in Smart Data that drives action- able intelligence to every role within the CIP organization, plant management, operations directors, VPs, operators, machine supervisors. We believe in ‘less is more,’ to assist every role within the organization with the right actionable data to help them drive productivity gains in no time. SM: Why aren’t more shops using monitoring? Abuali: Manufacturers are looking for low-cost, rapidly

deployable and fast-ROI solutions to capture real-time data and for the right training to use the data to prove significant produc- tivity gains. Factory managers are reluctant to invest in upgrading their IT infrastructure, retrofitting legacy ma- chinery, and spending countless hours with technology vendors performing long and costly specifications to deploy shop floor sys- tems. At Forcam, we listened to the market and introduced an innovative concept, called the Smart Factory Starter Kit, that meets the needs of the client. The client is asked to select any three machines on the shop floor of any type and any age and real-time data can be at their fingertips within days if not hours, via the cloud, and on their smart- phones. The Forcam Academy then trains the Starter-Kit users to make meaning of the data and to achieve at least a 5-10% gains in productivity within a three-month pilot, with 100% ROI of the starter kit investment. SM: How can your company’s software and manufactur-

ing expertise help improve shops’ productivity? Abuali: Forcam spun off from SAP in the early 2000s as our founder, Franz Gruber, realized a big gap and critical disconnect between what happens in ERP systems on the IT top floor and what the machines and assets are performing on the shop floor. For that reason,


Forcam grew our technology significantly to meet the needs of discrete manufacturers in automotive, aero- space and defense, medical devices, and other sectors. Clients in automotive like Audi used Forcam’s technol- ogy to improve productivity by more than 20% within 12 months and their stamping plants went to the top of the Harbour Report rankings. Clients in aerospace like GKN Aerospace used Forcam’s technology to reduce opera- tional cycle time on parts by more than 20% within six months and to win a large contract with an aerospace OEM with whom they supply the parts. SM: Describe Forcam’s latest Force software offering.

What can it do to help improve shop efficiency? Abuali: Forcam Force is a shop-floor system that of-

fers a unique single instance [multi-tenant] platform and an In-Memory computing architecture for fast Big Data crunching. The technology is Web-based with the latest HTML5 and it offers a rule-engine configurator based on

“Shop-floor management combines advanced technol- ogy with the lean manufacturing philosophy to deliver ‘smart’ data—sustainable, measurable, attainable, realistic, and tangible results in shop-floor productivity.”

Complex Event Processing (CEP) for business modelling of factory connectivity through the Forcam Force Bridge. Bridge is a single unified IT platform of software driv- ers and plug-ins for any CNC/PLC type and age, as well as IT systems like SAP and other ERPs, quality systems, maintenance systems, and tool data management. For- cam deploys advanced technology in a modular phased approach to meet the needs of our clients, starting with a Smart Factory Starter Kit. SM: What customers today, or what industries, are doing

best in implementing digital manufacturing technology? Abuali: Forcam delivers technology and training to dis-

crete manufacturers. Automotive OEMs are spearheading the use of digital technology on the shop floor, especially for product traceability, but many are now looking to upgrade their outdated systems that are mostly homegrown. Software Update is edited by Senior Editor Patrick Waurzyniak;

Summer 2016

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