Less downtime and more transparency in production

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#machinedowntime #transparency #production #shift
3 minutes Reading time
3 minutes Reading time
When a machine breaks down on the weekend in automated operations, hours of downtime are often the result. An IoT-based monitoring solution alerts the on-call service in a timely manner.

The problem: Standstill in the automated production process

In many industrial companies, production runs continuously in a three-shift system, even on weekends. In the process, automated production systems and machine tools operate partially unattended. But this means that machine operators or technicians discover difficulties and malfunctions late. Hot gears, worn tools or jammed material bring machines to a standstill, resulting in significant costs. GROB Werke GmbH & Co. KG has decades of experience in the development of production and automation systems as well as universal machine tools for 5-sided machining of workpieces. The company’s product portfolio also includes digitization solutions. Under the brand name GROB-NET4Industry, the company has developed a modular solution for numerous aspects of the Smart Factory. GROB based this on the needs of its own customers, in this case a way to remotely keep an eye on machine function over the weekend.

The solution: Determine machine data and keep it in view

The core of the solution is a connection between the GROB machine and the Internet of Things (IoT) via the GROB4Line software module. The connection is established either via cable or radio. A cloud platform further processes the data, visualizes it and additionally presents it in the form of a mobile app. Each connected machine is monitored and controlled with it. The smartphones are connected to a cloud platform so that the responsible machine operator is always informed. The GROB4Line app shows the status and condition of the machine. It also sends notifications about technical problems using the smartphone’s notification service or as an e-mail. This means that employees on standby duty have an insight into the current status of their machine at all times, even at the weekend. Unproductive downtime and its costs are avoided. The machine data obtained is also a helpful tool for the continuous improvement process (CIP). In this way, GROB4Analyze visually prepares the machine data and shows unproductive phases. In total, the module dynamically displays twelve machine states in various diagram forms, thus increasing transparency in the production process.

The result: Cost reduction by saving on downtime

Every reduction in downtime pays off immediately for the machine operator. Assume that one hour of machining costs 100 euros and the operating time is 6,000 to 7,000 hours per year per machine. Avoiding 10 percent downtime would generate at least 60,000 euros per machine per year. In addition, by determining machine data, companies have additional opportunities to analyze their processes, for example, to improve cycle and delivery times. A practical example: GROB was able to improve deburring in its machines thanks to the machine data. Originally, deburring was also to take place automatically inside the machine for new developments. However, data analysis showed that manual deburring outside the machine produces significantly better results.

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