Manufacturing Works Blog

The Benefits of Machine Monitoring

By Manufacturing Works - February 09, 2023

The Challenge

A Cleveland-based precision contract machining and assembly supplier for the dental, medical, and defense industries is growing and needed a way to better understand their overall capacity and machine utilization so that it could accurately quote cost and lead time to satisfy customer needs.

The company has over 20 different machines with various capabilities. To calculate accurate lead times, the company needed to know its capacity across all its machining centers. However, with no tools in place to measure current machine usage and/or identify problems on the manufacturing floor, it was difficult to know how much capacity was available.

The company attended a Manufacturing Works webinar on machine monitoring. From the webinar they learned that there are some simple devices that could easily be installed that would provide insights to the actual running time of their machines.

Taking Action

To start, the company engaged a fellow Manufacturing Works member to install simple sensors on 12 different machines. Television sets were installed on the factory floor to display the machine utilization.

  • The machine tracking devices established a baseline which showed that machine utilization was only about 50%, instead of the assumed 70%.
  • The data improved on-time rates by establishing accurate lead time expectations.
  • This data facilitated good discussions with shop floor personnel to help support and improve operations.
  • Machine operators now enter codes for machine downtime to communicate the reason for time lost.

Following the success of the three-month pilot program, sensors were installed on the remaining machines.

"Without machine tracking devices, we would not be where we are today in understanding our operations."

What You Should Know About Machine Monitoring

Machine monitoring can be both easy to install and cost effective. It offers basic, real-time information about how machines are performing. The range of machine monitoring devices is very broad, from basic machine power sensors to full machine feedback with multiple sensors and inputs. Depending on your needs and digital maturity, many alternatives are available.

If you have questions about machine monitoring, contact Ron Clough, Vice President of Manufacturing Services, at 216.920.1968.


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