ADVANCED MANUFACTURING NOW Modern Manufacturing Processes, Solutions & Strategies

With machine monitoring, instant ROI is possible


here have been many process improvement trends in manu- facturing over the decades, and

none have had more significant ROI than machine monitoring. The in- crease in machine monitoring is owed in large part to the rise in popularity of the open and royalty-free intercon- nectivity standard MTConnect. Machine monitoring provides the

ability to know exactly what is hap- pening on your shop floor anytime, anywhere in a quantified fashion. The bottom line with machine monitoring is it allows you to accurately measure, so you can manage your plant’s as- sets. A plant manager should be able to pull out his smartphone any place on Earth and know exactly what is happening with any machine tool or asset on the plant floor. A classic case study of machine

monitoring ROI was Magellan Aero- space’s ability to find 300 hours of a “hidden factory” using Memex’s shop- floor management system, called Manufacturing Execution Real-Time Lean Information Network (MERLIN). Memex CEO David McPhail was able to spot this hidden factory and instan- taneous ROI with MERLIN. The very first step all shops/plants should take is monitoring their shop floors. The crawl, walk and run ap- proach makes sense: Begin by moni- toring a few of your newer machines. Perceived versus actual plant

utilization is a common misconcep- tion. The facts are that only 2–4% of all shops or plants on Earth are being monitored. When asked, most plant or shop managers will state their plant utilization is in 65–75%. When hard-

ware/software is deployed that can properly quantify this number, it is shown to be actually 25–32%. Several aerospace firms, including Magellan Aerospace, Koss Aerospace, Actec Aeronautics, Herouk-Devtek, PCC Aerostructures, and Rose Indus- tries, are using Memex’s hardware and software products. Many of these firms are embracing MTConnect as their connectivity standard. The ROI in the computer industry is typically 18–36 months for hardware and/or software.

pearing on each of the three machine tools. M00 and M01 are mandatory and optional stops, respectively, so a machine tool is not making parts when M00 or M01 is active. A team at Magellan spent three

months reviewing multiple CNC part programs, run across three differ- ent machine posts, and removing the offending M00/M01 commands. Then they checked to make sure the changes made showed net benefit. While finding an instant payback is not the norm, the ROI of machine

How Magellan Aerospace cut monthly downtime events to 100 hours from 400 hours—a net increase in machining capacity of 100 hours per month per machine.

For example, if I am running the

National Security Administration (NSA), what metrics do I use to ac- curately calculate hardware/software ROI? Would I use the economic cost of a terrorist strike and then attempt to quantify the ROI of faster hard- ware/software for signal intelligence? This is where manufacturing does

have a quite distinct advantage with the well-quantified costs to run a plant and to make parts when it comes to clearly determining ROI. Let’s look at how McPhail rec-

ognized the possibility of huge ROI when he started MERLIN Event Moni- tor to see what was happening on the machine tools. The rolling time series monitor shows what is happening on any MERLIN-monitored device—down to a millisecond. He noticed an exces- sive number of M00s and M01s ap-

monitoring is measured in weeks and months, and certainly not years. It took two days to install hardware

and configure all of MERLIN on the three machines. Magellan was able to cut those monthly downtime events to 100 hours from 400 hours—a net increase in machining capacity of 100 hours per month per machine. Multi- ply that by the hourly machining cost and Magellan was able to capture real savings of over $30,000 per month, after spending $20,000 to buy a com- plete solution from Memex. Memex takes a pragmatic ap-

proach to accessing, analyzing and interpreting the information through its “roadmap to success” methodol- ogy. Magellan was able to improve its OEE from 36% to a sustained 85% after executing the corrective actions highlighted by MERLIN.


Dave Edstrom CTO

Memex Inc.

Summer 2016

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