Adding smart technologies to material working machines in the new digital economy

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Material working machinesFrom heavy metalworking machinery to precision glass cutting systems, material working systems are part of the new digital OEM enterprise. To increase customer satisfaction, you must supply safe, efficient and reliable material-working machines at a reduced cost and with shorter lead times. When you have the right control solutions, you can make the most of “smart manufacturing” and distinguish yourself from the competition.

Smart manufacturing

Repeated downtime leads to lost productivity, late deliveries and dissatisfied customers. Downtime costs plants an average of $500 per hour, per stand-alone machine.1

Three big benefits of safer, more efficient machines

Benefit #1: Stamp out downtime

Smart manufacturing technologies such as predictive analytics software can reduce unexpected failures by identifying subtle deviations in operating behavior that are often the early warning signs of equipment problems. Such software can be integrated with existing sensors and systems for increased data access and ease of implementation. Using a smart manufacturing program, Toyota Motor North America slashed 40,000 minutes in downtime at one plant for a total cost savings of $6 million.2

Benefit #2: Supercharge productivity

Mobility tools – also called the “augmented operator” – give operators more information for greater productivity. Sensors affixed to equipment or materials can feed critical information on energy usage, machine speed, maintenance or inventory to employees’ mobile devices. Stanley Black & Decker’s DeWalt Power Tools plant in Reynosa, Mexico, for example, uses RFID (radio-frequency identification) tags to give employees real-time location and line status to help spot problems faster.3 The system helped the plant improve line efficiency by 96%, increase throughput by 10% and reduce material inventory carrying costs by 10%.

Benefit #3: Boost quality 

Smart technologies can help manufacturers quickly identify and troubleshoot product quality issues during production and in the field. Manufacturers can also embed smart technologies, such as sensors, into products to for real-time, automated information about warranty claims or product defects. Smart technologies also can help with post-sales service. Xerox logs data from its devices located at customer sites, with set parameters which signal maintenance needs or possible equipment failure. The result is fewer on-site trips and more efficient maintenance.4

Wireless – safer, more efficient and more ergonomic 

When it comes to machine safety, wireless technology is beginning to emerge as a core machine technology. The more information that operators can access, the better positioned they are to avoid and manage unexpected machine stops.

  • Operator proximity and mobility – Remote control devices enable operators to distance themselves from potential hazards. Diagnostics and preventive maintenance data from the asset can easily be accessed on the remote control device without moving from the floor, improving overall efficiency by preventing downtime.
  • Installation and maintenance – In a wired control device situation, the cabling of the control station accounts for 15% of the installation cost. Replacement time and maintenance of damaged cabling can result in machinery being down for prolonged periods of time. With a wireless remote control system, installation and commissioning time is reduced significantly. Maintenance and ongoing lifecycle management are also improved due to the ability to quickly swap remote control devices, which can easily be paired at distance with the base station installed on the asset.

 Rely on our complete automation solutions material-working machines

Building smarter machines and equipment faster can make your business more effective, profitable and sustainable.  Selecting complete automation solutions to help you design cost-effective, energy-efficient material-working machines can maximize performance throughout the life cycle of your machine.

To learn more about material working solutions, read our white papers: 


  1. Plant Maintenance (Cooper, Howard), Lean Maintenance for Lean Manufacturing
  2. IndustryWeek, “IoT at M&T: An Inside Look at Toyota Operations Technology,” May 5, 2016
  3. IndustryWeek, “IoT’s March From Docks to Drills,” May 9, 2016
  4. IndustryWeek, “Six Ways the Internet of Things Can Boost Quality,” Sept. 4, 2014

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    7 years ago

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