We are making some changes to how Jobs work in MachineMetrics that will reduce or eliminate the need for operator input and enable simpler real-time MES/ERP integrations. We’re really excited about these improvements but it may require a few changes to how you use the product.
Monitoring the throughput and efficiency of jobs requires knowing when these jobs are being run, and on which machine. MachineMetrics has always excelled at collecting this machine data to understand machine utilization and production performance. However, it has typically required manual interaction by machine operators in order to understand which job was running, and when. These jobs also had to pre-exist in MachineMetrics, requiring an import of this data from your MES/ERP which can be difficult to set up and maintain.
We have a feature that automatically associates jobs on a machine, called “Automatic Job Dispatch”. This was necessary for machining operations where each pallet contained a different job. This feature is difficult to set up as it needed all jobs to be loaded in the system with the associated program number, but once setup is a very powerful feature.
We are rolling out an improved approach to managing jobs in MachineMetrics where jobs are created from machine data directly, and there is no need to import your jobs from your MES/ERP ahead of time. No more managing automatic job imports, and no more manual starting and stopping of jobs in MachineMetrics by the operator. Job throughput information is more easily streamed into your MES/ERP with little to no interaction required from the machine operator. We can’t wait for you to experience this!
What Recently Changed
We added a new header menu item called Production that was added to group production monitoring related features such as Jobs, Job Runs, Activities, Operators, and Operator Runs. These features were previously located in Reports and Settings. We also removed the requirement of a cycle time standard on the Job. This provides additional flexibility for our upcoming changes. Finally, we expanded on machine connectivity, with the ability to parse operational information from program and subprogram header files into unique data items that can indicate the operation running on the machine.
What's Changing Soon
Jobs in MachineMetrics are changing to Operations and the experience has been simplified. We will no longer be supporting the use of Jobs as Work Orders. We are also removing the ability to store different cycle time standards for different machines in the same job record as this was rarely used. You will now need to create different Operations for each machine where you wish to track standards separately for the same operation. The Machine Dispatch list is removed in favor of Machine Filters, which allows you to filter which machines or machine groups an Operation can be run on. Part, Lot, Operation fields also go away. To aid in the transition from Work Orders to Operations, there will still be a link to the old form which will include these removed fields for a period of time.
Job Runs in MachineMetrics are changing to Production Runs and will contain more information related to work orders. Information such as WorkOrderID and Quantity Required, if needed, will be stored here instead of the Job. WorkOrderID is only required to link the Production Run with your MES/ERP. This can be changed at any time by editing the Production Run or entered by the operator in the Operator Dashboard. This is the only manual interaction required, but only if your MES/ERP integration requires the Work Order number to associate the Production Run with the Work Order in the MES/ERP.
The Machine edit form includes a new section called Production Monitoring. There are three choices for starting production runs, Operator, Machine, and API.
- Operator - By default, the operator will start the Production Run by using the operator dashboard to start and stop buttons that appear only when this option is selected. This is necessary for legacy machines that do not contain a data item that represents a unique program or an operation. We will be adding the ability for the operator to also create a new Operation from the operator dashboard.
- Machine - Production Runs are started from machine data. A data item is chosen that represents a unique operation name. Typically this is a program name or a parsed header file that includes a part number. When a new Operation runs on a machine, the system will search for an existing operation of the same name. If it doesn’t exist, a new Operation is created and a Production Run started. If it already exists, a Production Run of the existing operation is started.
- API - Production Runs are started by a 3rd party system such as an MES.
Production Runs will be created automatically, initially without a cycle time standard. Existing dashboards will display a gray tile, and be in a “baselining” state as the actual cycle time is determined. After a few cycles, or when the Production Run ends, the actual cycle time is added to the Production Run and newly created Operation.
After the Production Run begins, the operator will have the ability to update the WorkOrderID within the Operator Dashboard or by editing the Production Run at his or her convenience. This is only required when the Work Order is necessary for MES/ERP Integrations. Workflow actions are available that can automatically send production run data to an MES/ERP, or our APIs can be used to pull data from MachineMetrics directly into the MES/ERP.
How do I take advantage?
If you use Jobs as Parts or Operations today, you won’t need to change anything to take advantage of automated production monitoring other than identifying the unique Operation ID in the machine settings. The addition of the WorkOrderID field in the Production Run will make it easier for you to integrate with your MES/ERP should you decide to go in this direction.
If you use Jobs as Work Orders today, you will have to change your process to take advantage. Don’t worry though, you can continue using our new Operations as Work Orders for some time, but you won’t be able to take full advantage of these benefits. Reach out to your MachineMetrics CSM and they can schedule a time to migrate your Work Orders to Operations. This migration will move your existing Work Orders into Production Runs and merge Jobs of the same Operation into a single Operation.