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Process and production monitoring systems: product lines reviewed.


ControlView is a supervisory control software package that runs on a DOS-based personal computer and communicates with company's Plastics Automation Control Systems to provide data collection and analysis of production for both production monitoring and SPC. At the heart of the system is an industrial data highway with redundant error checking to ensure that data, both sent and received, reaches its destination intact. All process, machine logic, and safety interlock data are stored in the Plastics Automation Controller and available over the Data Highway+ communications link, which is standard on controllers.

Data in ControlView can be viewed on SPC charts in a real-time mode in traditional X-bar and R, Histogram, and Pareto charts; saved for long-term historical analysis; and mathematically manipulated as input data for alarm checking, process changes, machine status, production reports and other purposes. Additionally, mold setups can be stored on the system and electronically transferred to production machine controllers. This increases the number of setups that can be stored for both production and testing, and decreases the time to change setups. Monitored data can direct machine operators and maintenance staff to problems as they happen, reducing downtime and troubleshooting.


CIMAC 8000 is a manufacturing network monitor with full SPC capabilities that can supervise as many as 32 machines and, with an optional integration module, can also handle auxiliary equipment. Each CIMAC 8000 captures data for display in either graphic or tabular form for on-line analysis; the data can be transmitted to the PC for review and preparation of reports on process history and trends. System has user-programmable macro function keys to call up frequently repeated tasks.


Offers two products for computer-integrated manufacturing: the PCMS personal computer-based system and the BarcoCIM minicomputer system. The application of PCMS is written in C and works with MS-DOS. Integration of the system into a LAN environment enables multiuser access. The BarcoCIM system runs on Digital Equipment Corp.'s family of VAX computers. Application software is written in Fortran 77 and functions with Digital's VMS operating system. This platform supports multiple interactive user terminals and is capable of monitoring several hundred manufacturing cells.

Both systems perform production monitoring, scheduling and planning, statistical process monitoring, statistical quality analysis, personnel monitoring and order status reporting. A 4GL report designer enables users to build customized reports, both textual and graphical. Both systems monitor machines and provide real-time and historical information regarding machine status. For machines that are running outside of standard or out of control statistically, the Barco system generates alarms for taking corrective actions. This feedback enables a reduction of scrap, improvements in product quality and an increase in the utilization of equipment and personnel. Bi-directional communication is available to facilitate the transfer of information from each machine to the host computer system and vice versa. Any data in the system database can be requested for display at the machine interface box (Barco data unit). The data collection network can connect virtually any type of machine to the Barco system. Interfaces to monitor microprocessor-based machines have been developed. Hardware and software are available to include monitoring of auxiliary equipment and integration of the Barco system with a mainframe.


Shotscope S9000 system combines on-machine and central monitoring of process and production. A high-resolution CRT at every press provides simultaneous real-time displays of shot profiles--position, velocity and pressures--as well as temperature values. Trend and X-Bar and R displays are also available, as well as capability for entering scrap codes, downtime codes, operator and job codes, and automatic entries of SQC data. The master station provides an overview of production and process activities in real time. System can save parameter data for every shot from every machine for analysis. Production monitoring and scheduling modules are integral to the system. Software is warranted for five years with all updates included.


Company's Molders Shop Automation is a real-time machine and production monitoring system with optional statistical process control. One PC enables monitoring up to 128 machines with centralized production control at various locations throughout a plant and outside the plant via modem. Each machine is equipped with a terminal containing a 5-in. CRT for displaying information from graphs to shop personnel. Output relay contacts enable actuation of external devices based on production and process performance. Features include "what-if" scheduling, flexible user-created reports, reject analysis, family molding, mold maintenance, control and capability studies, and more. The system promotes optimization of cycling efficiency, uptime, cavity utilization and good parts yield. Molders Shop Automation interfaces with the Molders Office+ plantwide MRP II system.

Newly introduced is Process Pack for SPC/SQC on machines without all the features of Molders Shop Automation, which can be added later. Entry-level Office+ offers a complete inventory control and financial package, which can be expanded to a full MRP II system. Both upgrades are without penalty.


The Midas 1000, 1500, 2000 and 3000 family of production and process monitoring systems provides injection molders a full range of products to monitor basic production variables such as cycle times and downtime, as well as complex process variables. The systems monitor, in real time, a range of selected analog and digital process points such as cycle times, injection pressures, zone pressures, chiller water temperatures, position velocity and counts. The systems are open-ended to allow variables and process points to be added or deleted. Up to 64 process points per machine are available. Systems interface with several industry-standard programmable logic controllers and allow for input from alternative methods of interfacing for those molding machines not equipped with PLCs.

Data are acquired in real time to determine process trends, real-time status, and production quality for each machine and the plant as a whole. Status and trend information, as well as out-of-limit controls, are distributed on-line. The systems provide for storage of upper and lower control limits and all process setpoint criteria in a relational database, which can be downloaded to each machine in the network. Machine process data are correlated with part-quality data to identify, predict and prevent potential causes of defective production.

The systems provide real-time SPC/SQC capability on as many production or process variables as required. The upper end of the Midas line can monitor up to 100 production machines. These integrated systems utilize industry-standard hardware and software. The host system utilizes Unix-based workstations. Modular software design allows for tailoring to specific requirements without having to customize each installation. Design is open-ended and can be connected to plantwide MIS systems.


Company's Plastics Management System is a turnkey manufacturing, distribution and financial management computer system designed specifically for discrete and process-type manufacturing, including custom and proprietary injection molders; blown film, profile or pipe extruders; compounders; blow molders; thermoformers; rotational molders or compression molders who produce just-in-time make-to-order, make-to-stock items. A quotation module accurately quotes suggested product pricing, determines production costs and develops manufacturing standards. Order-entry and release-entry modules automatically update information for the production scheduling module. The scheduling module graphically provides forward and backward--finite, and infinite--scheduling and production capacity planning for all production machines and any secondary operations. There are a variety of reports on material planning, manufacturing efficiency, utilization, analysis and product costing. Daily manufacturing data are entered manually on a keyboard or read via process-monitoring equipment. The inventory-control module maintains raw materials, WIP and finished goods; offers three user-defined units of measure; costs items to five decimal places; maintains lot-code traceability; and provides a multilevel bill of materials to include resin formulations.

The tool-quoting and tracking module maintains development and revision costs of tools. The electronic data interchange (EDI) requirements are provided from the automotive and appliance "accum" release module. Bar-code labeling and reading capabilities provide for better shop-floor control and inventory management. Process control and monitoring interconnects are provided for production machines to include SPC/SQC charting.

Financial management modules include purchase ordering, accounts receivable, accounts payable, payroll, general ledger and financial statements. Complete historical and analysis reports of sales, sales commissions and purchasing are also available.


Company's EPM Series 5000 integrates hardware and software to provide a complete solution for production and engineering monitoring. The system provides reports and graphs that detail downtimes and defects throughout the plant, performs statistical analysis on parameters important to the production process, provides detailed engineering data on the real-time operation of the molding machine, and allows statistical verification of the quality of production. The IMAC operator interface is a rugged unit with a full touch keypad and a 2 x 40 VFD display. It accepts a maximum of 10 digital inputs (four configurable as outputs), 15 thermocouple and 8 analog inputs. An RS232 port on the IMAC serves as a QC instrument interface to permit gaging on the floor.

Information for molding machines is obtained through the IMAC data acquisition unit, which performs three functions: it continually monitors up to 32 production/process parameters and reports any deviations that exceed established limits; it provides an interface which allows downtime and defect codes to be entered, production and engineering data to be reviewed, and the addition of stacklights for additional status information on the plant floor; and it furnishes an interface to quality control instruments such as digital scales, digital calipers and digital micrometers.

Company's two other Series 300 and 4000 utilize the same software as Series 5000, allowing for across-the-board integration within the same system to best fit the needs of the customer.


Company's Factory Data Manager provides a factory network to collect and validate data that are entered by a worker and data entered by sensors and programmable controllers. At the base level, it is a labor data collection system that can track, to the second, who worked on what job, what component was worked on, and the process involved. Data are then used to cut paychecks and update the cost and material requirements planning systems. Similarly, material issues and production status are provided.

The software provides an interface for the host manufacturing computer. Direct and indirect plant labor recording, quality-control data entry, material movement, job and employee status, and time and attendance are standard features. The system supports a factory network of portables and fixed micro-terminals with attached bar-code or magnetic-card readers. It provides generation of ID cards, plant travellers, material tickets, etc., for fast entry via simple wand and keyboard operations. Edit files can be downloaded from the host computer to ensure 100% shop data accuracy. The software also supports SPC data collection, product liability tracking and mainframe-style restart/recovery capability. It supports AIAG-approved bar-code label generation for laserjet and Epson emulation printers. MAP capability is assured.


Provides a complete line of systems for computer integrated manufacturing. CIM-1 provides data acquisition terminals on all molding machines along with up- and downstream processes. Local area networks (LANs) connect the data acquisition terminals to a supervisor's command center, which in turn, connects up to 92 other users throughout the company. Remote terminals allow off-site users to communicate with the system. The CIM-1 system provides total SPC, SQC and MIS programs, which take advantage of programs to guide analysis and identify root causes of machine problems. Unlimited reporting is made possible by a combination of pre-formatted and user-formattable report options. Custom programmable DAT acquisition terminals allow the system to be applied to virtually any process in the plant. The DAT unit may be upgraded to the DAC-III process control and monitor for a full closed-loop system for injection units with no such control.


Company's Rubber/Glass/Plastic Industry Center provides both hardware and software products for process and production monitoring and control. Hardware products include industrialized PS/2 models suitable for the manufacturing environment, which are available in a variety of hard disk and memory sizes. Industrialized monitors come in two sizes, 13 in. or 19 in.

Software for either industrialized PS/2s or standard PS/2s includes company's Distributed Automation Edition (DAE) and Plantworks products. DAE and Plantworks are complementary software products and are both user-configurable. DAE provides a set of communication and database utilities, which supports a networking environment if several production monitoring stations are required. Typical networks supported include Token Ring, Ethernet, MAP, and others. In addition, DAE supports interfaces to programmable logic controllers such as Allen-Bradley, General Electric, Texas Instruments, and others.

Plantworks is the user interface into the production process, which uses custom graphics from a Plantworks library of graphic symbols. Graphic screens are used to display process/production information to operators and also to display production information to supervisors and managers. In addition, Plantworks contains a reporting capability allowing for generation of custom production/quality reports for management.


Company has two major product families for production monitoring and management: Dataccess and Datacom II. Dataccess products are for the small- to mid-sized manufacturer with 8 to 64 individual production machines or lines. Datacom II family of products are for the larger manufacturer that has over 64 machines up to 2000. Systems provide real-time production data at every level from operator to manager. They automate scheduling, reduce overhead costs and provide accurate labor records.

Both systems are based on Intel Fileservers (a 386 for Dataccess, and one or more networked 486s for Datacom II), fourth-generation software, and the company's microprocessor-based workstation terminals. The networked workstation terminals collect production data automatically from each machine and accept data input from other devices such as bar-code readers and gauges. Several "off-the-shelf" packages are available.

Company will also customize software based on a detailed study of a plant's requirements. The labor-tracking software modules handle sophisticated labor-reporting needs for measured day-work and incentive-based payroll systems.


Provides interactive software systems for complete business and user-oriented solutions. Applications use the Oracle platform, a high-level relational database management system. Company's products are CIIM (computer interactive integrated manufacturing), CIID (computer interactive integrated distribution), and IFAS (integrated financial accounting system). CIIM, as a complete MRP-II solution, incorporates all of CIID and IFAS. Both CIID and IFAS may stand alone as independent operating solution segments. Each segment consists of interactive modules that can be purchased in starter kits or complete sets; all can be installed collectively or individually, allowing customers to phase in, reducing business interruption costs. All three segments can be used to control and monitor manufacturing, distribution, and accounting systems.


Offers a new version of AIMS (Advanced Integrated Manufacturing Software), which is an MRP II software package written for injection molding, blow molding, vacuum molding, compression molding, rotational molding, extrusion, thermoforming, and mold making. AIMS offers automated tools for production scheduling, planning and shop floor control; sales and marketing management; material management, material requirements and inventory control; as well as complete financial analysis, accounts receivable, accounts payable and general ledger. Because the system is completely integrated, information is entered into the system once and then shared by all modules. Simple to understand and operate, the package can be implemented in its entirety or in a modular fashion. AIMS will operate on a standalone IBM PC or compatible, or multiple PCs networked together for sharing information.


The ProHelp system is a process quality control and real-time production monitoring system, which includes among its functions production counts, shift production reports, scrap and downtime reports and machine efficiency reports. Multi-user capabilities allow as many as 10 interactive terminals on the system. Information collected by the central computer is available to management and production personnel throughout the plant. In-process quality control techniques can be applied to all molds and dies and all types of machines. Color CRTs are used to show the status of all production machines in the plant. Machines running outside of standard values for cycle time, temperatures, or pressures actuate alarms to alert management to take corrective action. The process parameters the system can monitor include: melt, mold and water temperatures; shot size; injection time; and injection and hold pressures. SPC software lets the computer automatically collect samples of every machine's process values. Upper and lower control limits are compared to actual recordings, and alarms are generated if processes go outside of limits, or if shifts or trends are detected in the sample. The system can also interface with a variety of machine controllers.


Company's MopacNet combines molding floor data gathering and remote setup with the process-control capability of its Mopac 22 injection process controller. The network monitors production quantities, rejects, operators, and downtime from up to 100 machines. Also monitored are 15 process variables that are compared with control limits and may be used to segregate parts at the machine. The monitored data are stored for immediate analysis or for later retrieval. Analysis may be done with the supplied SQC-pack tools, or using other common software programs.

Each machine is equipped with a machine interface unit, which gathers data from the machine. Machines having Mopac 22 do not require an additional interface unit. Non-Mopac equipped machines require an S*entry (System-entry) data acquisition unit. Machine units are connected as branches on a four-wire cable, which leads to a PC located in the office. The computer may be connected to a network such as Ethernet, where it acts as a distribution point to the other PCs.

MopacNet polls the connected machines at a periodic rate. The status of each machine is displayed at the central computer along with job information, production data and process data. Data are recorded on the computer's hard drive, which can retain up to 31 days of data before it is stored in archives. Recorded data may be recalled for analysis or transferred to another computer for analysis. The computer automatically prints job and shift reports and provides audit trail reports for changes to production and process data if desired. Operator tracking and downtime analysis reports are available on demand.

Production data are stored indefinitely by date and shift. Printouts for any dates or shift and for any or all machines include production reports, downtime reports, reject reports, management summaries, and process-variable alarm reports. Downtime for any period and machine may be displayed as a bar chart for analysis and also printed out.

Data are stored in DBase files, which may be read and organized by the user with DBase software.


Company's Guaranteed MRP system, which incorporates Digital Corp.'s DEC-forms, features two levels of on-line help, novice and expert user modes, data entry from pop-up selection lists, multiple natural language capability, and more. Fully integrated modules include: shop-floor control, inventory management, purchasing, material requirements planning, order processing and sales analysis, and bill of materials. Accounts payable, accounts receivable, general ledger and fixed asset modules complete the system. RMS files are used, and common data dictionary formats are provided for ease of use with all report writers. The system is equipped with file purge and reorganization functions, as well as restart functions to recover from processing interruptions.


OPM family of products are shop floor data-collection solutions that facilitate a step-by-step approach to real-time data collection and SQC/SPC, and provide a migration path from standalone monitors to plant-wide data collection, to corporate-wide information systems.

* OPM8 Standalone Multifunction Monitor tracks and displays cycle time, machine rate, shift averages, production rate, setup time, downtime, rejects, and parts fabricated. Displays cycle time to 0.1 or 0.01 sec and production rate in minutes or hours. Key switches are available for reset of shift/job totals.

* OPM9 Networked Production Monitoring System tracks, displays, and communicates cycle time, machine rate, parts to go, hours to go, batch count, shift averages, production rate, setup time, downtime, rejects, and parts fabricated. Information collected by OPM9s is logged on an off-the-shelf PC. Easy-to-use PC software provides management reporting, SPC charting, job scheduling and tracking, real-time status displays, and supports up to 99 monitors as far as 4000 ft away. OPM9 uses existing machine signals.

* OPM20 Networked SQC/SPC monitoring System monitors production, run time, downtime, setup time, unscheduled time, scrap, machine productivity and job scheduling. It collects analyzes, stores, trends, and communicates real-time shop-floor data from pressure and temperature sensors, digital gauges and scales, and direct machine inputs. And it maintains the quality of the manufacturing processes and products with SPC on machine and in real time as the products are fabricated.

OPM20 Systems support up to 99 monitors as far as 4000 ft away, integrate shop-floor data with the corporate-wide data network, and close the loop between the factory and any third-party MRP system with Universal Job Queue, which also provides on-line job-end forecasting that uses actual real-time production data. Maintenance scheduler tracks run time and number of cycles on molds and machines, and flags those due for preventive maintenance.


The Focus Series of CIM systems provides real-time production control, coupled with an advanced statistical process/quality management system. Modular in design, the systems allow users to start at any level and grow into more sophisticated configurations.

The Focus 100 real-time production control and process management system includes job scheduling, material and labor tracking, machine and tool maintenance history, automatic SPC and SQC data gathering, run and trend alarming, machine process profile, "signature analysis," and storage scope graphical overlays. PC control stations make master files, historical data and real-time data available for on-screen viewing or printed reports.

Focus-2000 includes all the features of Focus-100, but incorporates an advanced X-windows-based Graphical User Interface (GUI), which is designed to be operating-system independent and simplifies system access by pointing to icons or list entries. Focus-2000 is compatible with Unix, MS-DOS, Xenix, Novell Network 386 and other operating systems and networks. It incorporates the Oracle Relational Database Manager; the user interface is built on standard SQL (Structured Query Language), allowing user-formatted displays and configurations.

Manufacturing-Cell Interface Modules (M-CIMs) can be configured to monitor 1, 2, 4, 8 or 16 machines. Different combinations of M-CIM units allow for different levels of functionality at different operations within a single system. Units can be purchased in two styles: the keypad version, which has a 40-character vacuum fluorescent display with user-definable "soft" keys and a numeric keypad; and the ELTS version, which features a 640 x 400 pixel electroluminescent touchscreen display at the machine, allowing plant-floor personnel access to the same screen shown on system PCs. Fault-tolerant design permits M-CIMs to continue operation for days in the event of a computer or network failure. Up to 4 MB of battery-backed memory provide fail-safe storage for production and SPC data.


Ultramax software to improve the quality and productivity of molding processes analyzes control settings and measured results to understand their cause-and-effect relationships. It guides the user run-by-run to process settings that deliver results that best meet quality and productivity objectives. Dimensional variations are reduced, defects are eliminated and cycle times are shortened by learning better combinations of temperatures, pressures, speeds, hold times, cooling rates and other important influences. Ultramax also advises adjustments to compensate for changes due to materials, environment and process. Ultramax is used during normal production to provide continuous improvement without production interruption. Menu-driven, it builds statistical models, provides tolerance and sensitivity analysis, data management and plotting of information. Ultramax runs on 286 and 386 PCs, Unix workstations, and a variety of mini and mainframe computers.


Company's XRP-II Resource Planning System covers the full range of conventional MRP-II planning functions and further adds critical real-time factory control and automated data collection. Support for repetitive and Just-in-Time manufacturing also has been included in the design.

XRP-II is modular, enabling users to begin with a minimal configuration and add functionality as needed. The base system includes Unix Operating system, Unify relational database system, XRP-II kernel and powerful utilities; and Datalook and Datarite for editing, query and report generation. XRP-II application modules include: data collection, inventory management, product information, customer order entry, purchasing management, work-order processing, material requirements planning, shop-floor control, master scheduling, labor performance, accounts payable and receivable, and general ledger.

XRP-II Datagate, which is Xytec's implementation of Lotus' @Factory software, combines real-time data collection with Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet. Operating on a standard DOS platform, Datagate enables the spreadsheet user to send and receive data from Xytec Model 410 operator stations monitoring critical manufacturing resources.

Data collected by @Factory software are stored directly in the 1-2-3 spreadsheet. The operator station counts product and measures production rates when machines are running. The operator station also detects downtime through sensors or manual input in 15 categories, registers scrap/defects in 10 categories, monitors setup times in 5 categories, and sends and/or receives host messages. Data are maintained by shift and work order for current and historical activity. Statistics are computed locally in real time for viewing by the machine operator.
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Title Annotation:plastics machinery
Publication:Plastics Technology
Article Type:Buyers Guide
Date:Jul 15, 1992
Previous Article:Total machine control systems: product lines reviewed.
Next Article:Heaters and heating elements.

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