For those who specialize in production and manufacturing, time is without a doubt the most valuable resource. Making the most of the time available to you is key to manufacturing success, and CNC machines are vital to optimizing workflow and creating efficiency in production. However, simply having CNC machines does not mean that you’re achieving optimal productivity. CNC machining requires constant monitoring to ensure maximum efficiency and productivity throughout the manufacturing process.
What Is CNC Machine Monitoring?
CNC stands for computer numerical control, which is a way that manufacturers are able to automate the control of machines or tools by way of software that runs on the computer system attached to the machine.
CNC machines can be used to perform a wide array of tasks, including milling, turning, welding, grinding, cutting, stamping, among others.
CNC machine monitoring is a process for tracking the performance of a CNC machine and measuring productivity. By collecting and analyzing this data, manufacturers are better able to assess the processes they have in place, gaining real-time insights that can lead to both short-term and long-term improvements.
Which Types of CNC Machine Data Can Be Monitored?
There are two types of data you can gain from monitoring your CNC machines.
Effective work time means that you measure the machine’s operating time and look at those figures against its planned production time. In doing so, you gain invaluable insight into your machine’s utilization rate as well as the most common stop reasons, examples of which include cleaning, breaks, tool changes, part inspection, loading, and unloading.
Alternatively, you can monitor the number of pieces your CNC machine produces. This number will allow you to compare the processing time of a single part to a specified target time. Equally important, you can measure Performance, a component of Overall Equipment Effectiveness.
5 Tips to Improve CNC Machine Monitoring
Effective CNC machine monitoring requires the right tools in place, but once you have them it’s important to understand how to use them. After all, data is only valuable if you take the time to glean key insights and make decisions accordingly. Consider some of the most common ways to improve CNC machine monitoring.
1. Review Data Consistently
When manufacturing processes seem to be going smoothly, it can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking there’s nothing new to be learned from CNC monitoring data. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Review your data consistently so you can track overall efficiency, how much your processes have improved, and how much downtime you’re experiencing. Furthermore, you can use these insights to help set new targets to achieve in the coming weeks or months.
2. Remove Margin For Error
Improving your CNC machine monitoring means you’ll have to reduce the margin for error as much as possible, which often means reducing the human element whenever you can. Manually entered data leaves the greatest margin for error. Machines are far less likely to make mistakes than human beings. When you minimize human input, you can significantly improve the reliability of your entire production system.
3. Don’t Make Assumptions
While it would make perfect logical sense to assume that just because a process has run smoothly in the past that it will do so again. But that is certainly not the case. Every process is different, and over time, you will experience different machine and production events. Even though tasks are repetitive, you will almost inevitably continue to find new data that reveals new insights. It’s also important to consider that there will always be new ways to improve the way a process is completed, but you’ll never find them if you assume that a job is running optimally time and time again without checking your data.
4. Keep Your Eyes Open
A CNC machine monitoring system is a powerful tool, but only if you are diligent about looking for ways to implement insights gained from the data it produces. Be sure to use not only the data visualization and real-time dashboard features of your CNC monitoring system, but also utilize reporting and analytics tools to improve problem solving and further optimize your production processes. To help keep you on top of the data, the best CNC machine monitoring systems include Analytical Intelligence feeds and triggers that automatically notify you via a feed or text message when the process is not running as expected.
5. Incorporate Your CNC Machine Monitoring System Into Company Culture
Once you have a system in place, it’s vital to make sure that your entire team knows how to use it and has the necessary training to incorporate it into their daily workflow. Having the system alone is not enough; to see the results of your CNC machine monitoring system, it has to be fully integrated into the culture of your company.
How To Improve CNC Accuracy
It’s never been easier to implement CNC production monitoring, and the benefits for manufacturers are seemingly endless. You’ll be able to track accurate data and gain insights in real time, allowing you to make improvements to your production process with both quick fixes and long-term solutions. Over time, CNC machine monitoring will yield a greater output from your production facilities as well as significant growth in revenue. By continuously reviewing data and searching for ways to improve, you’ll be able to address or prevent issues before they have a negative impact on your business.
How Freedom IOT Increases Efficiency
Freedom AI’s Analytics Intelligence platform completely redefines the way manufacturers track and measure success and efficiency. Freedom AI instantly connects to your CNC machines and quickly starts collecting data with no operator input required. You’ll automatically gain insight into asset availability, asset reliability, utilization, lost opportunity, and so much more. Freedom AI works with any type of industrial automation, delivering the power of data collection, analysis, and visualization to manufacturers and production facilities of all kinds.
By investing in Freedom AI, you will make sure you’re always getting the most out of your most vital resource: time. Freedom AI features real-time insights, notifications, and alerts that are designed to help you keep your manufacturing facilities running smoothly at all times. With Freedom AI, you can gain powerful operational insights in any industry, any process, anywhere in the world.