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Newly enhanced plantwide CIM.

New features to simplify operation by "computer-shy" personnel, tighter integration of business accounting software with real-time production monitoring, and added tools for processing operations management and analysis were introduced recently by Hunkar Laboratories Inc., Cincinnati.

The latest version of Hunkar's CIM system for multi-machine process and production monitoring has touchscreen displays to eliminate the need for "hunt-and-peck" typing. Pull-down menus put all options on the screen, so you don't have to remember file names or commands. User-configurable displays and reports minimize dependency on the supplier's programmers for customization. A new bulletin board feature further enhances plantwide communications. An extended database capacity adapts the system for use in continuous processes such as extrusion or wheel-type extrusion blow molding. The enhanced database can now also keep track of production of each separate part in a family mold with up to six cavities. These and other new features described below are retrofittable to previously installed Hunkar CIM systems.


Hunkar has also added to the CIM system capabilities what the company calls "Total Business Solutions." This is a result of integrating third-party software packages with the Hunkar monitoring network. One new features is a real-time communication link between the Hunkar CIM system and a mainframe business computer, typically an IBM AS/400. The latter would be running the Plastics Advisor, a comprehensive package of cost-accounting, scheduling MRP, production/inventory control, and other business programs from Keller, Shroeder & Associates, Inc., Evansville, Ind. Until now, production data gathered by the CIM system had to be batch-transmitted to the mainframe, necessitating some delay in updating the business-management software. But with the new software "bridge" between the two systems, data can be transmitted in smaller batches after only a 3-sec delay. In effect, says president Denes Hunkar, the result is "real-time MRP." Thus, master production schedules, inventories, and shipping information can be kept up to date with events on the plant floor, rather than being a shift or a day out of sync, as is commonly the case.

Complementing the latter is the formation of a new business partnership between Hunkar and True Data Corp. of San Diego. True Data offers Perform barco data-management software (which runs on IBM's OS/2 and DOS operating systems), together with a variety of hardware, including barcode label printers and fixed-station and portable barcode data-entry terminals with scanners, either of which can employ radio-frequency transmission instead of wire links to the data network. The True Data network can also integrate data input from electronic calipers and scales. A single network supports up to 4096 source data processors, with an Ethernet protocol and up to 38.4K baud transmission rate.

Through links between the True Data network, the Hunkar CIM system, and the Plastics Advisor mainframe, users can track raw materials, work-in-process and finished-product inventories, and personnel time and attendance in essentially real time--a necessity for Just-in-Time operations. Standardized EDI (electronic data interchange) templates are included in the Perform package to permit computer-to-computer communications between vendors and customers and between a plant and a corporate home office.


Also new is a CIM software update for "smart scheduling"--i.e., matching a mold to the machine with the quality capability needed to run that particular mold. Based on monitoring many thousands of machines in actual production, Hunkar has come up with a nine-level process-capability rating system. Each level specifies a degree of repeatability for 14 variables. The size of the window gets larger as you go down the rating scale. Hunkar has used its "expert" software to size the window for each variable at each rating level in proportion to its effect on product dimensions. Thus, a step to the next-level window for any one variable would have the same consequences on product quality as the same step change for any other variable.

This is not only provides an objective yardstick by which to evaluate machine capability and to track any changes over time, but it also enables you to match the machine capability to the product quality desired. After a trial run on a mold using "Design-of-Experiment" (DOE) techniques (also known as the Taguchi method), you can determine what window of repeatability is required to achieve satisfactory quality with that mold.

Then the "smart scheduling" software searches for machines with the appropriate quality rating, as well as required clamp tonnage and tiebar spacing, and shows the availability of each candidate press. The scheduler allows you to keep track of current jobs running on a machine plus the next three jobs in queue. What's more, the CIM system's PC monitoring function automatically tracks the current quality level of each machine, in case wear or some other factor causes it to change over time.


Hunkar has streamlined operation of its Expert-Manager program in the CIM system to make it easier and faster to use. For example, the user can now go directly from a bar-chart display of the number of process alarms of each type logged at a particular machine during a shift to an SPC chart for the process variable corresponding to an alarm category.

Expert-Managr now also provides a plant overview of downtime at each processing station in both cumulative minutes and dollars' worth of machine time (weighted according to that machine's hourly rate). From that plant overview display, the user can go directly to a new Pareto bar chart of down-time causes for that machine.

Another newly available Pareto chart of operator "activities" categorizes machine-operator messages entered via a code from a menu list customized for each use. For instance, the operator could enter a code every time "Runner Hang-Up" occurs.

Also new are reports of mean time between alarms for each machine station, mean time between downtime occurrences, mean time to acknowledge alarms, and mean time to get a machine back up and running again; as well as total available machine hours, downtime hours, and idle hours per machine. (CIRCLE 1)
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Title Annotation:Technology News, computer integrated manufacturing
Author:Naitove, Matthew H.
Publication:Plastics Technology
Date:Nov 1, 1991
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Next Article:The AI factory; how artificial intelligence will create 'smart plants.' (Cover Story)

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