Note to CNC machine shop owners: Texting is not just for teenagers

While users of larger systems have enjoyed such technology for a while, owners and operators of small machine shops can now get alarm alerts by phone, fax, e-mail or mobile phone text message with software embedded in Siemens Sinumerik 840D CNC controller.

01/13/2010


Siemens CNC: Get a text message alarm on your phone.

Siemens CNC: Get a text message alarm on your phone.

Randy Pearson, a longtime veteran of the machine tool industry, is the Siemens sales support manager for U.S. dealers and OEMs. His special interest is training on CNC machine tools, which he does through various seminars and classes the company conducts at schools, on-site at shops, and at Siemens training facilities around the U.S.

One of his recent lessons involved technology that can call, text or e-mail machine shop owners with alarm alerts. While users of larger systems have enjoyed this technology for a while, systems are now available for small machine shops that run unattended cycles over the weekend and on holidays, he says.
When you would setup your machines for unattended operations in the past, says Pearson, you often had the following scenario: Load the bar feeder, set the program, go home and pray nothing goes wrong.
"About 15 years ago, some machine tool and fabricating equipment companies began to institute call centers to flag you on an alarm, but those systems were often hit-or-miss, depending on the quality of the personnel and the chances of reaching you at your designated phone number. One laser manufacturer had this system running, in fact, but the success rate was far less than optimal. Entire weekends might have meant lost production due to a single tool break, bar jam, low lube or coolant level, air compressor stall, spindle speed slowdown or just a power spike," he says.

Siemens CNC trainer Randy Pearson

Siemens CNC trainer Randy Pearson

"You set the program, go home, and enjoy the weekend.... With the purchase of a pre-paid SIM card, the machine becomes another one of your kids, who calls you only when he gets into trouble!" --Randy Peterson

 

With the @Event software embedded on the Siemens Sinumerik 840D CNC, machine shop owners and operators can get alarm alerts by phone, fax, e-mail or mobile phone via a call or SMS text message. "A message telling you what alarm has tripped comes to you automatically, because the software is encrypted right on the CNC.
There is no human intervention needed, except by the shop owner or production supervisor.
The above scenario now can look like this: You load the bar feeder, and setup the machine for a pre-determined alarm tag or sequence of alarms, since the machine can now periodically alert you to various parameter checks. Then, you set the program, go home, and enjoy the weekend. There's no chance of a shutdown that isn't flagged for you, depending on the way you program the machine. Since the alarm is set off the fault code on the machine, there's no human intervention whatsoever, and the messages are completely automated.
With the purchase of a pre-paid SIM card, the machine becomes another one of your kids, who calls you only when he gets into trouble!
"This is a relatively simple system to setup. With the purchase of a pre-paid SIM card, the machine becomes another one of your kids, who calls you only when he gets into trouble!" says Pearson. "Of course, what such systems do is keep your productivity in motion, all weekend or anytime you can reasonably run unattended. Especially for the shops where you have more machines than operators, this can be an instant journey into the world of remote alarm sequencing, formerly the realm of only the biggest shops and captive production departments in automotive, aerospace and other dedicated production operations."
On a higher-level CNC, you can get this feature as part of the production software embedded in the controller. The savings from just one occurrence will more than pay for the upgrade. Most popular CNC brands currently have some type of e-mail client server such as Outlook Express, but the @Event system is the next step up, because the software is fully automated to send messages to selectable locations in different modes for an array of messages. The e-mail or text message, for example, can contain one or more alarm messages, with details provided as attachments. One e-mail or text can be set for each alarm or sent periodically with all the alarm messages that have been generated during a specified period of time.

alarm button art
This piece was adapted from an advice column for machine shop owners and production supervisors.

Reach Randy Pearson at 1-800-879-8079.

- Edited by Renee Robbins, senior editor
Control Engineering News Desk

 

See also:

 

CNC: Job shops get new numerical control choice from Siemens

 

Machine control: Long bed CNC gantry mills achieve unprecedented accuracy





No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
Big Data and IIoT value; Monitoring Big Data; Robotics safety standards and programming; Learning about PID
Motor specification guidelines; Understanding multivariable control; Improving a safety instrumented system; 2017 Engineers' Choice Award Winners
Selecting the best controller from several viewpoints; System integrator advice for the IIoT; TSN and real-time Ethernet; Questions to ask when selecting a VFD; Action items for an aging PLC/DCS
This digital report will explore several aspects of how IIoT will transform manufacturing in the coming years.
Motion control advances and solutions can help with machine control, automated control on assembly lines, integration of robotics and automation, and machine safety.
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

Future of oil and gas projects; Reservoir models; The importance of SCADA to oil and gas
Big Data and bigger solutions; Tablet technologies; SCADA developments
SCADA at the junction, Managing risk through maintenance, Moving at the speed of data
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
click me