SENSORS & SENSING SYSTEMS FEATURE Process monitoring possible without complex SCADA systems K

eep in mind if complex parameters are to be measured, stored, displayed

and then signalled to elicit a staff response then a Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition (or SCADA) system is in order. Such solutions require architecture that uses computers, networked data communications and graphical user interfaces (GUIs) for higher level supervisory management involvement. This equipment then uses other peripheral devices such as programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and discrete proportional–integral–derivative controllers (PIDs) to communicate to machinery and equipment throughout the plant. A typical SCADA system may have an entry cost of several thousand £s. Obviously, for smaller, less complex applications this amount is cost- prohibitive. In these cases a smaller, more cost-effective, and simpler solution is required.

INTELLIGENT SYSTEMS USING ANDON LIGHTS For the simpler cases that use andon lights, it is not enough to just collect the data (e.g. machine name, monitored parameter name, standard date and time). Something has to be done with it – the information needs to be shared with other staff. If done correctly it supports transparency within an operation. Smart


phone technology opens up the communication of this information to more than a PC’s pop-up screen. Finding people remotely via e-mail and/or text is now the norm. The sharing of performance data (both machinery and personnel) increases the transparency of a production process. For example, since the software has no licensing, anyone can see any other machine that has a transmitting stack light working in their network. Software simply needs to be downloaded to each PC. This solution allows supervisors to view the progress of other machines that they are dependent upon for getting parts. Similarly, in addition to showing the

real-time machine status or machine status vs. expected performance (e.g. plan vs. actual) or alarm history for a given machine or the signal strength or the machine placement on the shop floor or summary history of certain performance parameters, anyone can view this real- time data by just loading the software on their PC. The epitome of this transparency is displaying production data for all to see on “Bingo boards” in an area performing that production. Wireless, real-time sharing of

information can provide: quicker response times from production control staff, filling low piece-part inventories before the ‘just in time’ approach becomes ‘just a little late,’ pinpointing logistic bottlenecks as

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they are happening, and allows an immediate recovery plan if the andon light has capabilities to communicate.

ANDON LIGHTS HAVE A KEY ROLE IN INDUSTRY 4.0 THINKING What does the future hold for this originally simple device flexing its muscles in a high-tech environment increasingly dominated by discussions about Industry 4.0 and the need to automate and digitalise information communication? The fact that wireless technology is here to stay predicts that there is much more creative advancement to come as what started out as simple warning lights are adapted to become smart and intelligent systems that simply work. SmartMONITOR is the clever machine monitoring and data

collection alternative for industrial companies who are looking for a low cost, un-complicated and reliable data for the optimisation of their manufacturing processes. SmartMONITOR provides all relevant data from all machines, systems and manual workstations at the touch of a button.

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