Swiss Machine, Weekend Alert

The more aware you are of the state of your machines, the more productive you can make them be for you.  This is where Nanospark: CNC Machine Monitor can be quite helpful.  Alert notifications can be applied to nearly any machine- enabling it to talk to you.  Here’s an example.

    Our parent company, Senasys, has a machine shop for stamping parts, making fixtures, etc.  In said shop we have a Knowledge MT SA-32 CNC swiss machine with a Hydrobar Express 332 S2 bar feeder .  Since it can run unattended, the expectation is that we can continue to crank out parts all night and all weekend.

CNC Swiss Machine in Senasys' shop

CNC Swiss Machine in Senasys’ shop

    Except, of course, that bar stock (crafty as they are) seem to feel that Friday evening about an hour after everyone has left is the ideal time to not load properly.  Monday morning we were coming in to find a red light and an empty bin rather than a pile of parts. Irritating enough, true, but add to it the fact that the owner and several employees who could fix the bar loading issue and restore production, live close by.

    If only the swiss machine could tell us that it has stopped running; we would quickly resume making parts.  Now, through Nanospark, the swiss machine does just that.

Light Stack on CNC Screw Machine

Stack Light

How We Did It

   The swiss machine has a stack light to indicate status (red, yellow, green).  The stack light uses 24V LEDs.  So we found the terminals in the control panel for each light and wired them in parallel with inputs 1-3 on Nanospark.  Now when the swiss machine stops running and lights the red stack light, input 3 on Nanospark turns on.

Nanospark lets the swiss machine tell us when it's experienced an error.

Nanospark lets the swiss machine tell us when it’s experienced an error.

    Finally, we setup an alert in the Nanospark: CNC Machine Monitor app so that if input 3 (now renamed “red”) turns on during hours when no one is in the shop, we receive a text message notifying us that the machine is down.  Whoever is “on call” fixes the swiss machine- and we walk in Monday to see a pile of parts.

(Note: Since the alert comes through text message, there is no need for the various employees to standardize phones.  Apple, Android, Blackberry, and even plain old cell phones, Nanospark sends the swiss machine’s messages to them all.)

    With 8 inputs, Nanospark can monitor up to 8 machines; though to use the monitor most effectively we recommend not more than 4 machines per monitor. The alerts doen’t have to be ‘I’m down’, perhaps you could use to ensure tools stay sharp (ie, tool is dull by 500 parts, get an alert to come change tool at 490 parts).  Nanospark is extremely (and economically) versatile- so your machines can give you just the information you need.
   If your machines could talk to you, what would you like them to tell you?  How will you use Nanospark to be more in touch with your equipment?

**UPDATE**
Senasys is now using Nanospark: CNC Machine Monitor’s reports as well. They use reports to track machine use by week and by job. They report that this has helped them improving setups and alerted them as to their readiness to purchase new equipment.

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