Flexible Manufacturing with Robot and CNC

Machine Monitoring & Control with OEE + DNC Enables Flexibility for Manufacturing Productivity

For the first time, integrated machine monitoring and adaptive control with OEE+DNC has been demonstrated using a robot to aid loading a CNC machine, offering automation for manufacturing flexibility and productivity that can increase profitability.

A showcase, hosted by the Canadian Tooling & Machining Association at the New Age Robotics site, demonstrated an ABB robot loading and unloading various materials integrated with a CNC machine to manufacture several discrete parts. The two machines were controlled by one Memex Ax9150 Universal Machine Interface (UMI) board. The Memex ProductionACE OEE+DNC (Overall Equipment Effectiveness + Digital Numerical Control) server software was connected to the UMI board, which in turn was connected to the robot and the CNC machine. OEE software monitored the machines in real-time and determined production status linked to the scheduled work orders. When the CNC machine was ready, the command was given to the robot to begin the load sequence for the material defined in the work order. The CNC machine was then given the specific DNC part program to be loaded, also referenced in the work order, and the command to begin machining. The mixed production material was loaded by the robot and the different parts were dynamically machined by the CNC. It was a masterful demonstration of flexible manufacturing, with all the benefits of an expensive FMS system done on a budget.

Manufacturing today demands both the adoption of new practices and new technology. “In order to improve productivity, including unmanned production shifts, machines on the shop floor need to be analyzed continuously and adapted to real-time conditions. If you can measure it, then you can manage it. This plug-and-play technology reduces the cost of integration.” said Memex President & CEO Dave McPhail. The Ax9150 UMI offers CNC machines real-time OEE machine monitoring and DNC control. As a co-processor installed next to the CNC control, the Ax9150 UMI provides local memory, onboard DNC and embedded OEE, and effectively “listens” to the heartbeat of the machines, reporting and logging what is happening inside. Because it has both data inputs and outputs, the Ax9150 UMI can pre-process machine instructions (G-Code) and then post-process real-time machining data in order to adapt to changing conditions at the machine. In short, Memex has succeeded in implementing adaptive control on existing CNC machines – a low cost upgrade that offers significant productivity improvements.

Memex and MatrikonOPC Showcases Open OPC Connectivity to Machine Tools at IMTS08

Thursday, September 12, 2008- The next evolution in manufacturing connectivity was unveiled by Memex Automation Inc. and MatrikonOPC, the world’s largest OPC connectivity provider, at the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) held this week in Chicago, September 8–13, 2008.

“In this competitive manufacturing world, the factory floor needs real-time connectivity to all production assets to effectively manage manufacturing productivity. Utilizing MatrikonOPC’s standards-based connectivity, Memex is now able to connect virtually all CNC machine tools leveraging our Dynamic Computer Aided Machining (DCAM) model. Our goal is to provide a universal machine interface that makes every machine a node on the corporate network,” said Memex President & CEO Dave McPhail.

By leveraging MatrikonOPC’s secure, reliable interconnectivity tools, Memex intends to have the entire factory floor benefit from a wide variety of off-the-shelf software, OPC clients and Human Machine Interaces (HMI’s). “The choice to partner with MatrikonOPC was easy – they are the recognized leader in industrial connectivity in this space,” said Memex President & CEO Dave McPhail.

“Working with Memex to bridge the gap between the new XML connectivity standard – MTConnect – and the plant floor using OPC connectivity is an extremely exciting opportunity. MatrikonOPC is proud to be partnering with Memex to be on the forefront of development with MTConnect and OPC,” said Sean Leonard, Vice President OPC.

Production Managers can now monitor the status of every machine in their plant, giving real time visibility of production. “The benefits of machine monitoring and Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) numbers lead directly to increased productivity. Our customers have seen up to 20% increase in shop floor efficiency, delivering more value than the cost of a new machine.” says Memex President & CEO Dave McPhail. Large multi-national manufacturers and leading aerospace companies have started adopting this technology. McPhail adds, “It’s like a low cost retrofit – we now can start automating the automation.”

The IMTS show is held in Chicago at McCormick Place September 8-13; 10am – 6pm, www.imts.com for more details. Memex Automation is located in Lakeside Center East, Hall D at Booth D-4574.

About Memex Automation Inc.

Memex Automation Inc., part of the Astrix Networks Inc group of companies. was created to leverage the research and development of Memex Electronics, which was founded in 1992. Memex continues the tradition of serving the discrete manufacturing sector providing electronic components such as advanced memory upgrades for CNC’s, BTR’s, handheld devices and PC cards. A focus on visionary shop floor communication technology helps customers to Automate the Automation so as to increase productivity and decrease cost. Memex’s patent-pending Dynamic Computer Aided Machining technology model delivers value with real-time production machine monitoring utilizing our “OEE + DNC” software solutions. More information can be found at www.memex.ca or by email to salesgroup@memex.ca

About MatrikonOPC (a division of Matrikon Inc. [TSX: MTK])

With a collection of more than 500 OPC products and over 100,000 installations worldwide, MatrikonOPC is the world’s largest supplier of OPC connectivity products. Matrikon is a charter member of the OPC Foundation, and has demonstrated a commitment to developing OPC as the industrial connectivity standard.
Matrikon’s international customer base includes a wide range of companies from process to discrete manufacturers in industrial, commercial and military applications. With offices throughout North America, Australia, Europe and the Middle East, Matrikon’s reach is global.
Visit MatrikonOPC at www.MatrikonOPC.com.

MatrikonOPC and Matrikon are trademarks or registered trademarks of Matrikon Inc.

For more information, contact:
Manny Mandrusiak
MatrikonOPC Marketing Manager
+1 780-448-1010 extension 4606
email: manny.mandrusiak@matrikonopc.com

“Automate the Automation” and “Dynamic Computer Aided Machining” are trademarks of Memex Automation Inc. All other trademarks referenced are the property of their respective owners. The product and service offerings depicted in this document are produced by Memex Automation Inc. © Memex Automation Inc., a unit of Astrix Networks Inc.