BROADVIEW, IL – With the technological advancements made every year in manufacturing, bringing the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) to the factory floor with machine monitoring software is becoming a smart and necessary investment. John Brazzale, tooling manager at Principal Manufacturing Corporation, has seen firsthand how having a machine monitoring and real-time analytics software can help a company run more efficiently.
Principal Manufacturing is a one-stop-shop, offering engineering solutions for automotive, industrial, and OEM companies worldwide. Founded in 1939, it has many years of experience in fine blanking, conventional stamping, and plastic injection molding. The Broadview, IL-based manufacturer prides itself on having a diverse set of capabilities and a fully staffed, onsite toolroom.
“The fact that we are a one-stop-shop gives us an advantage,” says Brazzale. “A lot of our customers come to us because they don’t want to buy a part and then have to go to someone else to perform secondary machining—they want to buy the finished part and then put it into their assembly as soon as possible.”
Principal Manufacturing has an established relationship with MC Machinery, owning three Mitsubishi wire EDMs and one sinker. In reality, the company wasn’t actively looking for a machine monitoring solution. But when its MC Machinery representative informed Ben Barnett, president and COO at Principal Manufacturing, of what the remote360 machine monitoring application offered, Barnett knew this would help his company understand where it was losing production time.
MC Machinery’s remote360 offers an extra level of support for Mitsubishi machine owners. It is a robust monitoring and support solution geared to provide transparency to machining processes. The web-based application allows users to monitor machine performance from a desktop, cell phone, or tablet and provides real-time data to help increase productivity, improve efficiency, and reduce downtime.
“To be honest, when I first heard that remote360 was being implemented in our MV Mitsubishi EDM, I thought it would be difficult to integrate into our daily process and would potentially make things difficult,” states Brazzale. “I was wrong. Having remote360 has actually made my job easier. I can now see when there is a problem on a machine and fix it right away.”
Principal Manufacturing calculated that if all three of its EDM machines ran 24/7, it would come out to 504 running hours per week. The company was nowhere near that. After analyzing the reports remote360 provided on machine performance and several other data points for a couple of weeks, the company was able to pinpoint where problems were taking place, especially when the machine would stop working late at night when no one was in the facility.
“Without remote360, if a machine would be down at 9:00 p.m. we wouldn’t be aware of it until the next morning,” says Brazzale. “Now, knowing how our machine is performing 24/7, we can use the data to implement changes and be more proactive. For example, looking at the data acquired, we made the decision to change from 11-pound spools of wire to 22-pound spools—this has helped us pick up on lost time and increase our running hours.”
Additionally, the company has changed the way it schedules several jobs. Having full visibility to how machines are performing, it can run large jobs on Friday afternoon all through the weekend. Principal Manufacturing is comfortable knowing notifications are shared with its machine operators if something isn’t performing correctly; if that happens, someone can dial in and troubleshoot no matter where they are. This change has been advantageous as it has increased the company’s running time.
Along with remote360, Principal Manufacturing decided to have MC Machinery engineers perform preventative maintenance on its two older SA wire EDM machines. They went through each machine, fixed any issues, and made sure each performed to the best of their abilities. Before remote360, the company’s machinery was usually running between 54 and 56 percent capacity. With remote360 implemented and preventative maintenance complete, they are up in the 74 percent range.
“Sometimes you don’t see a problem, but it’s there,” says Brazzale. “Having remote360 helps us see beyond what is visible when simply looking at a machine and has allowed us to make more informed decisions to improve processes.”