Plant Conversion Allows OEM to Monitor Equipment and Gather Data in Real Time

As a first in the machine tool OEM industry, Mazak Corporation is converting its Florence, Kentucky, manufacturing plant over to the MTConnect open communications protocol. The transformation will allow Mazak to monitor its manufacturing equipment and gather valuable data that will be used to further improve manufacturing operations. These improvements, in turn, will ensure that Mazak customers are provided the advanced technology they need as quickly as possible to keep pace with today's increased manufacturing production demands.

Mazak has been an ardent supporter of MTConnect since its inception, offering all its machines with MTConnect compatibility. Currently, over 100 Mazak customers are at various stages of MTConnect integration within their own facilities involving approximately 300 machines within a wide range of model types.

"We continue to take a leadership position in propagating the MTConnect open protocol," said Brian Papke, president of Mazak Corporation. "MTConnect's value to our customers is in the ability for them to establish extensive and open channels of communication for plug-and-play interconnectivity between devices. MTConnect allows software to be universally applied between different types of machine models so that information is readily available for improving machine tool utilization. Using this capability, Mazak is taking another positive step in further increasing the productivity of our North American operations and ensuring the strong competitiveness of our Kentucky manufacturing."

With MTConnect, Mazak will initially monitor overall equipment efficiency. The company will also use MTConnect for several custom applications unique to its manufacturing operations. These applications include monitoring machine tool spindle sensors for valuable maintenance data, as well as tracking part cycle times to benefit the company's scheduling department. But most significant, MTConnect working with third-party software will make it possible for Mazak to incorporate the use of mobile apps as methods for monitoring its manufacturing in real time.

With these apps, Mazak managers and other key personnel will have access to live real-time data from equipment monitoring dashboards via mobile devices. Additionally, text and/or email alerts and notifications can be received instantaneously when certain manufacturing or equipment issues or conditions arise.

According to Neil Desrosiers, Mazak's developer of digital solutions, the full improvement potential resulting from MTConnect at the Kentucky plant will be achieved when the measurement data is collected and full potential machine tool utilization is realized in the factory. This data will then be made available for review to those attending Mazak's DISCOVER 2013 event beginning October 8. By that time, most machines in the Kentucky factory will be able to be monitored via iPhones.

"We want to demonstrate to our customers that they, too, can improve their productivity through MTConnect machine monitoring capability. Because when it comes to machine tool performance, you have to measure it before you can improve it," said Desrosiers.

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