15 Years of Manufacturing Shop Floor Control

IQMS software has 15 years of shop floor experienceAs we approach the end of the year (I know, it’s too soon), I thought I would take a moment to reflect on the EnterpriseIQ RealTime products. For those who have been with IQMS awhile, you may recall the genesis of our RealTime Machine Monitoring system. It has been going strong for more than 15 years now, with more than 15,000 individual machines reporting at more than 500 customers’ facilities.

With advanced technologies come opportunities to explore new ideas. The wireless version of RealTime was introduced in 2006 and has more than 4,000 units monitoring equipment from Canada to Mexico. Of course, there were certainly challenges along the way. Some customers had several hundred machines under one roof, reporting cycles of 5 to 7 seconds! Now that is a lot of traffic! Consider if you were in a room with a hundred people, all talking to you at the same time. Would you be able to identify each and every voice and repeat what they said? Pretty tough to do. Well that’s what these wireless MIUs (machine interface units) are doing for many of our customers to increase their shop floor control.

One big advantage of wireless production monitoring is that equipment can be moved without having to disconnect the wiring and run new cables to another location. Now this may not seem like a big deal, but many production facilities need to be very flexible, moving equipment frequently. In fact some plants will look totally different today compared to six months prior. With manufacturing cells and assembly lines taking on new products, this can be a huge advantage for production. Time and money are saved by being responsive to the needs of change.

Another plus is that one single device can record good cycles, rejects and with the RealTime LightStick, give people a visual representation of conditions on the shop floor. You instantly know if your work centers are running fast, slow or at the standard rate. When the work order is complete or if the rejects are excessive, the LightStick will reflect that as well.

Wireless RealTime can also record extremely fast cycles. We are able to see up to about 180 cycles per minute! This means more opportunities to use RealTime in manufacturing types such as stamping where cycles are very fast. With the use of PLC type devices (programmable logic controllers) we can go even faster by accumulating cycles and sending packets via wireless MIUs. Each item or part  has a BOM (bill of manufacture) that can use a multiplier to show how many cycles/parts are being produced.

If you are adding machines and equipment to your production facilities, it is very simple to add wireless RealTime Machine Monitoring to your existing wired systems. No need to run wires and cables, just install an MMU (machine monitoring unit) on your network and connect the MIUs to the work centers and off you go. Incorporate the LightStick and you give visibility to all departments and create opportunities for every employee to share and contribute!

This is just the beginning! IQMS is facing new challenges and working on improving in every facet of the MES and ERP world, adjusting and creating to meet the needs of our customers every day.

Neil Gow, IQMS Director of Manufacturing, has more than 30 years of experience in manufacturing, working as a technical expert in thermoplastics before joining IQMS. Neil is primarily responsible for the manufacturing, assembling, implementation and configuration of IQMS' production and process monitoring systems in customer facilities worldwide.