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Automate maintenance of auxiliaries.

As if equipment maintenance isn't enough of a chore, it also creates paperwork - looking up specifications, ordering parts, developing maintenance schedules. A new software package designed specifically for auxiliary equipment in an injection molding plant can automate the pencil-pushing side of maintenance.

Techware Designs, a subsidiary of Spirex Corp. in Youngstown, Ohio, recently introduced the Auxiliary Equipment Module (AEM) as part of "The Maintenance Professional" - software that oversees upkeep of the injection machine itself (see PT, Jan. '94, p. 18).

"Support from the OEMs is what makes this different from any other maintenance software on the market," says Techware president Brad Smith. He says several primary and auxiliary machinery OEMs will soon offer equipment specifications and maintenance recommendations on diskettes compatible with The Maintenance Professional. Users can import the OEM data into the maintenance database with the click of a mouse instead of manually entering parts lists and catalog numbers.


The new auxiliary-equipment module can track up to 14,000 separate items and can schedule maintenance activities up to 27 years in advance. "You can track any piece of equipment in the plant," says Smith, citing chillers, feeders, and robots as just a few examples.

Users operate this Microsoft Windows-based PC program by clicking on "speed buttons" at the top of the screen. These icons then trigger a number of software features:

* Maintenance database - Parts orders, inventory levels, component specifications, and maintenance schedules reside here. Besides spreadsheet-like tables, the database also supports graphics capabilities such as drawings or photos of machinery components.

* Set-up - The AEM comes with a list of predefined maintenance categories, including ones for mold and plant maintenance. But users can customize the module by adding, for instance, maintenance of lab equipment, forklifts, or plant lighting. The AEM can even track inventories of non-machine items such as office supplies.

* Search engine - Users can search the database by part number, vendor, or machine number.

* Report generation - Automatic reports detail inventory levels and maintenance costs. The report function can also create parts orders. Search and report functions can work together: The search can identify a part that has dropped below reorder quantities, while the report generator can produce a completed order form. With a fax modem, the AEM can automatically send that order to the machinery supplier.


Several major machinery suppliers will support The Maintenance Professional by offering equipment specifications, part lists, and maintenance recommendations in a diskette format developed by Techware. Sterling Inc., the Milwaukee-based supplier of chillers and mold-temperature controllers, recently issued the first such electronic equipment database for use with The Maintenance Professional. Conair and Universal Dynamics will soon offer similar electronic maintenance databases for auxiliary equipment. Smith says Engel and Van Dorn Demag plan to do the same for injection machinery.

Custom molder Nypro Inc. will be the first to benefit from AEM-compatible OEM data. For a new 60-machine plant being outfitted in Asheville, N.C., Nypro chose Sterling mold-temperature controllers - in part because hardware data can be imported directly into the AEM.

The Maintenance Professional with its auxiliary module costs $2999.

RELATED ARTICLE: Computer Requirements

* IBM-compatible 486 PC or better.

* At least 4 MB RAM.

* Windows 3.1 or later version.
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1995, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Ogando, Joseph
Publication:Plastics Technology
Date:Jun 1, 1995
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