One of the many partnership solutions formed at Partners in THINC include Kennametal?s ToolBoss tool crib/inventory management system, the Zoller pre-setter and the Okuma Captain L370 with the THINC-OSP control to create a tool data management center. The combination eliminates redundancy in terms of what an operator or engineer needs to manage tool data as it moves through the system along with the tools.
?Typically all the necessary tool attributes and information had resided in three different places: On the machine tool, on the pre-setter and perhaps in the tool crib/inventory manager such as ToolBoss,? says Joe Alhafi, senior engineer at Okuma America Corporation (Charlotte, NC). ?Without an interconnected system, an operator may have entered data such as part or inventory numbers twice ? both at the pre-setter and the data inventory manager. Back at the machine tool, all this data would need to be entered into the machine again, probably from handwritten notes on a slip of paper. There had to be a better way to do this.?
With the tool data management system developed by Partners in THINC, everything gets tied together by a job, work, or unique ID number for that job. This information includes tool data, set up information, the part program, the part drawing, or any other information that the factory uses for managing a job. The part number or the components that will make up a tool assembly can now be set up at either the Zoller pre-setter or the inventory manager.
?Once it is set ? it?s set,? says Alhafi. ?The systems are interconnected or networked via wireless or cable, sharing the information no matter which machine you start with in the process.?
Let?s say your first tool needs three pieces to make a tool assembly. With information already pre-set, a call over to the ToolBoss? through the THINC-OSP control cues up those exact three pieces from the specific tool requirement list previously set in the system. Simply remove the tool pieces from the ToolBoss?, assemble them and place the completed tool into the Zoller pre-setter. After measurements are taken and stored, a new part number with attributes is now associated with that part number. Simply inventory that new part number into ToolBoss? which will then inform the machine that the transaction has taken place.
The operator then returns to the machine and inserts the tool(s). The computer prompts for insertion completion and/or other required functions. Stored tool data can now be retrieved by the Zoller pre-setter including links, the radius and tool life information. No looking for that slip of paper or potentially keying incorrect data.
All the communications happen over Ethernet. In addition to a paperless process, the job ID number can be input with a bar code or other electronic method to eliminate the process of keying data into the system. With the THINC-OSP controls ability to plug and play a USB barcode reader, the scanned barcode opens in an application window where the tool data management process can continue.
Inputting an incorrect tool, machine or offset number could cause a crash or the production or a bad part. The new Partners in THINC system eliminates operator redundancy and potential mistakes ? saving a company time and money.
As tool life progresses, radiuses change and tool lengths shorten. If you know a tool can cut satisfactorily for five hours, but only use it for 2.5 hours, how do you remember this information when you need it later? What if you have several machines with the same tooling ? how do you share the tools or information?
Enter Exact JobBOSS, just one ERP application available to not only manage your data, but share it throughout the factory among databases. All of these are standard, non-proprietary databases, accessible for sharing historical, current or planning information ? even from a remote location. With all of this data stored, you can now begin to predict the future regarding tool use and supply chain needs. Kennametal and Zoller have their own utilities for tool management that can link to supply chain systems capable of issuing purchase orders for upcoming tool needs.
Tool management is just one opportunity afforded by the THINC open architecture control. The big picture is growing with many possibilities as Partners in THINC continue to spark new combinations of application solutions for a wide range of customers. Just think what THINC can do for your company.
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