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Older system has many new features.

Meanwhile, a new software release, Version 8.01, offers a large number of enhancements to Syscon-PlantStar's Focus-100 CIM systems. Among these are an expanded list of injection machine interfaces, including those for Van Dorn and HPM models; AGV and material-handling interfaces, and expanded PC interface capabilities. Other features include improved resolution on process inputs with alarms on critical process variables; addition of derived variables; and automatic setting of SPC limits. Also added are auto-down, auto-assist, and auto-reject functions; expanded network communication options; and the ability to connect a local PC to the network at any machine location.

One big enhancement now allows the system to monitor virtually any rate-based production system (e.g., strokes/min, or ft/min) in addition to cycle-based processes. Also, it is now possible to interface Syscon-PlantStar's proprietary shop-floor data network directly to industry-standard office data networks such as Novell NetWare.

Interfaces have been added to Van Dorn's Siemens-based Pathfinder EL control, and HPM's Command III and Command 90 controls, as well as to Accu-Data Scales and Beta Tech's Mini-Mux Gage Multiplexing System.

For AGV and automatic parts-handling equipment interface, the Job Standards screen now contains a field called "Tote Box Size." When a number is specified in this field, the system will count parts until the number is reached, then actuate the "Tote Box Full" condition and reset the count to zero.

Enhancements to the Voice Output Option include an announcement that a monitored process variable is out of range for a specified time duration, and a job-overrun announcement, when a specific machine is producing parts beyond the number needed. In addition, reject information for the current job on the previous shift is now available at the main Focus-100 terminal.

Time resolution on all process variables is now 10 millisec. Any monitored process variable may be designated as "critical." If a variable exceeds its minimum/maximum thresholds, an assigned contact (e.g., for reject diversion) will close and remain closed until the variable returns within the threshold.

A new "auto-set" capability is said to greatly reduce the time and effort needed to determine where to set SPC limits. After running a sample set of good parts, the user can simply specify "|+ or -~3-sigma (or any other number of standard deviations) and the computer will automatically calculate the SPC limits from the good-parts sample process data. Focus-100 now also makes process data collected by the system available for real-time SPC analysis and trend alarming immediately following its collection.


A touch-sensitive video monitor is available as a new option to the ProHelp production monitoring system from Mattec Corp., Loveland, Ohio. It's said to simplify checking the status of production machines by shop-floor personnel. The monitors, installed at individual machines and key plant locations, continuously display graphic icons representing each machine on the ProHelp network. Various colors and code numbers indicate at a glance which machines are running normally and which are experiencing problems. Three basic types of problems are displayed automatically: process alert, machine is down, and help needed. By touching a machine icon and subsequent menus, personnel can get further details provided by the ProHelp system.

The touchscreens are for monitoring only. Entering or changing data must be done at ProHelp machine interface units or PC user terminals. The new option is available to all models of the ProHelp system. Prices vary according to the number of touch screens and machines to be monitored. The average price is about $3000 per screen.
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Title Annotation:Syscon-PlantStar's Focus-100 computer integrated manufacturing systems
Author:Naitove, Matthew H.
Publication:Plastics Technology
Date:Aug 1, 1992
Previous Article:CIM systems upgraded.
Next Article:User-friendly features.

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