Archimedes famously said: “Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world.” Today in manufacturing, the equivalent of the Archimedes lever is real-time data from the point of production turned into supply chain, production, management and financial information.
Manufacturing companies are using this information to improve output by greater than 10% and related income from operations two to six times. Remarkably, they make these gains using the same equipment, labour and work-time envelop.
These are not projected, but actual improvements among manufacturing companies using MERLIN, a machine-to-machine and machine-to-management (M2M) productivity solution. M2M is forecast to be to the 21st century what the wheel was to civilization – a more productive way to work.
Physically, MERLIN integrates as a hardware and software overlay of a machine using networked sensors and protocols to connect each machine to a company’s intranet. Then it delivers an objective “voice” of the machine’s manufacturing processes, parameters, tolerances and conditions, generating visibility of production operations. Leading global CEM’s are seeing the value and are installing MERLIN at their plants.
Significantly, MERLIN translates Fanuc Focas, OPC and MTConnect, an XML-based, open-source, royalty-free protocol into information that management, engineering and maintenance teams use to:
- Analyze the business of production plant-wide
- Bucket idle time to its root cause, enabling some of it to be converted back into production time
- Capture and define quality issues for each machine and operator in the production cycle to define poor quality root causes quickly
- Define machining parameters, tolerances, conditions and production floor on a SKU basis to achieve lean manufacturing
- Optimize machine states and conditions to increase spindle time and utilisation
- Complement preventative maintenance systems by providing actual run times
- Increasing production and income from operations
With MERLIN, company transforming M2M management information is generated by the point of production in real-time from any manufacturing device, any assembly area and any manual or semi-manual step-welding or grinding station, for example.
Companies dashboard and monitor MERLIN plant-wide and enterprise-wide as capacity utilization, measured as overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) on a machine-by-machine and aggregate basis.
MERLIN will ultimately dashboard each machine’s pound-per-hour contribution to the income statement and balance sheet. Thus, production financial information will be available to the whole team on any device on a secure, global basis.
This will result in the ability to accurately prioritize and fix processes in real-time, with an eye on the prioritized contribution to the income statement.
As we know, management gets what it inspects, not what it expects. Therefore, it’s incumbent on the corporate leaders to culturally adopt M2M connectivity as soon as possible, uncover the wealth of the hidden plant within, and significantly increase production and income from operations.
Memex Automation recently announced a global partnership with Cincom Systems. This combines the monitoring of machine tools on the shop floor with Cincom’s Total manufacturing management system.
Thomas Smeenk and David McPhail are respectively Vice President of Business Development and CEO for Memex Automation, makers of MERLIN.
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