Data Collection

The foundation for MDC-Max is its ability to efficiently collect data from equipment and personnel on the shop floor. While data from equipment can be collected accurately, error-free and unattended, data from personnel provides the contextual feedback required to fully understand reasons for downtime, reasons for scrap or other aspects that impact production negatively.

All data that MDC-Max collects are processed and stored in a central location. From this data, MDC-Max can generate a huge variety of both historic and real-time production reports (see Reporting). Data can also be directed to different kinds of status screens for visual monitoring of machines, visual shop floor overviews, dashboards and more (see Monitoring). Further, data can be used to control tower lights and other kinds of signalling units (Andons) or to dispatch email and text notifications (SMS) if production issues arise on the shop floor (see Andon / Signaling Units).

Automatic data collection

Accurate data from machines is collected automatically and unattended through a companys existing network or a dedicated network. Each time an event occurs at a machine, such as the machine starting or stopping, the signals associated with those events are received by MDC-Max where they are processed and stored. Internally and using specialized machine port protocols, MDC-Max converts any piece of data it receives into an MDC Message. Most installations will, as a minimum, collect data on Cycle Start, Cycle Stop, and Part Complete. The number of data collection events can be expanded as required and is only limited by the monitoring capabilities of each specific machine.

Manual data collection

Data from personnel, such as from machine operators, provides the contextual feedback required to fully understand reasons for downtime, reasons for scrap or other aspects that impact production negatively. MDC-Max provides a streamlined operator interface for PC/mobile/touch devices and also comes with full support for using barcode readers.

Operator Interface

The operator interface (also referred to as the Operator Screen) enables operators to view essential information and enter data manually such as downtime reasons, current job/operator/shift, scrap reasons and more. The Operator Screen is entirely customizable, easy to understand and designed to be used on the shop floor where it can be operated from any touch-enabled mobile device (tablet/smartphone) or PC. Use-cases such as having a tablet mounted at every machine or managing multiple machine-specific operator interfaces from a single mobile device are fully supported.

Barcode reader support

MDC-Max supports barcode readers and comes with easy instructions for configuring and printing new barcodes. Similar to the Operator Screen, barcodes can be used to send data to MDC-Max such as current job, operator, shift, scrapped part or provide downtime reasons. Using barcode readers can be a good solution if your company already has readers available. Otherwise, we recommend using Operator Screens since they provide more options and flexibility.

Types of data collection

There is no limit as to how much and what kind of data can be collected by MDC-Max, however, more data does not necessarily equal more value. Similarly, data collection from personnel requires training and getting used to new workflows. The path to success on any MDC project is to keep the project simple initially by analyzing only three to five data points and reaping the low-hanging fruit. Then, building upon experiences, the MDC system can be gradually expanded as the need arises. The examples below describe a basic and a more advanced setup. In the advanced setup, the operator feedback makes it clear why the machine was not running.

Basic machine data collection

Some companies only need to know if a particular machine is running and producing or if it has stopped. The basic data collection setup will produce charts to show the amount of time the machine has been in production and the amount of time allocated to downtime. It is then up to the supervisor to ask the operator why the machine was not running. This setup only rely on automatic data collection from the machine.

Advanced machine data collection

With an advanced setup we can provide accurate reporting of the machine tool efficiency on any job. We can show the total percentage of downtime for each type of machine stoppage such as Tooling, Setting, Machine Maintenance, etc. This additional information is provided by the operator using an Operator Screen or a barcode reader. This information can then help pinpoint exactly what is causing a loss of production. This setup relies on both automatic and manual data collection.

Example of wireless setup

The diagram below shows how machine- and operator data can be collected. Machine signals and operator feedback are transmitted through a wireless network to MDC-Max. As an example, each machine is equipped with a different option for entering operator feedback: a touch screen PC, barcode reader and tablet.