This article covers frequently asked questions as well as best practices around Automated Production Monitoring (APM).
Please watch this recorded webinar to learn about the new Automated Production Features and watch a demonstration in the product.
Q) Can you explain what an Operation and Production Run are?
- An Operation in MachineMetrics – which was adapted from the general manufacturing term, “part operation” – refers to the set of specific steps that occur on a machine to produce a part. For example, if a lathe machine first roughs the part to the proper dimensions and then finish turns it to achieve the required surface finish , within the same cycle, those two steps comprise a single Operation. MachineMetrics tracks the performance of specific Operations, including the expected versus actual cycle times and the number of rejected parts produced. Operations were previously known as “Jobs” within MachineMetrics.
- A Production Run in MachineMetrics tracks the performance of an Operation over the specific period of time it is running on a machine. For customers who wish to do so, a Production Run can be used to align production performance data with work orders within an MES or ERP system. Production Runs were previously known as “Job Runs” within MachineMetrics.
Q) How does the new automated functionality change what I’m doing right now with MachineMetrics “Jobs”?
This depends on how you use the Jobs feature today:
- Are you using Jobs to track Job performance? The vast majority of users are already using the Jobs feature for its intended purpose: to track Job performance. If you are one of these users, the new functionality will not fundamentally impact how you use the feature now known as “Operations.” The big difference is that you now have the ability to automatically create Operations using machine data instead of manually creating them in the system.
- Are you using Jobs to track Work Orders? For the small minority of users who use Jobs as a method for tracking Work Orders, the process will change slightly. If you are one of these users, you will see that the feature now known as “Operations” are going to be treated as separate entities from Work Order numbers within MachineMetrics. However, if you wish to continue associating the Operations in MachineMetrics with your Work Orders generated in their other systems, we will provide you the ability to do so. Beginning in June, the Work Order capability will be handled within the Production Run (formerly Job Runs) feature. This move will be completed in June, so you have another few weeks to continue using Operations in the previous way and learn how you will need to adjust your process before you need to change anything.
Q) What do I need to do to get Automated Production Monitoring working?
Your ability to use the automated functionality is determined by your machines' data capabilities. If your machine is advanced and sends MachineMetrics a program/header/macro data point that is unique to the operation being done on the machine, it will be available to choose from in your Machine Settings. Go to your individual Machine’s Settings page, select the Production & Operations tab, choose Machine Data (Automatic) from the drop down, and select the specific data point that we will associate and create Operations from.
Q) Are there criteria for what makes me a good candidate for APM?
Do you answer yes to any of these questions?
- MACHINE TYPE: Do you have advanced machines that have a Program-type data point available? Check the machine's diagnostics if you’re unsure. As a rule of thumb, FANUC, MTConnect, Haas, and OPC-UA data collection methods typically have something available.
- STANDARD PROGRAM STRUCTURE: Do you use a standard structure when creating programs? Examples include:
- Utilizing the program header for part and operation information.
- Naming your programs based on the part/operation.
- PROGRAM-OPERATION ALIGNMENT: Do your programs match operations on a one-to-one basis? In other words, is each program unique to the operation being run?
- If not, are you using Family or Looping programs in which multiple part types (i.e. different sizes of the same part) use a single program but include a qualifier data point to differentiate between them?
If you’ve answered yes to all of these questions, you’re a great candidate to use the new automated functionality.