Implementation & Support
"The ShopFloorConnect roll-out was the smoothest and fastest software implementation that we've ever had."
Prior to the deployment, you fill out a simple workbook that will tell us about your factory and your machines. You send us the completed workbook, provide us with access to a server (either physical or virtual) on your network. We will install and cofigure the software so that it is ready to collect data from your machines.
The ShopFloorConnect deployment was absolutely painless. The application support for the machine mounted hardware was outstanding. When we received our pre-configured server, all we did was plug it in and it started collecting data right away!
While we're installing and configuring the software, you can get busy installing a ShopFloorConnect Machine Interface (SMI) onto each machine. Installation is simple; in addition to connecting it to 120V AC power, the SMI requires only one or two inputs from each machine, and has a single output that is connected to the machine's stop circuitry:
If your machine has a short cycle time (a few seconds or less), the SMI can monitor uptime and downtime with a single "Cycles" input. The SMI has a built-in timer that maintains the device in the 'Running' state as long as it is retriggered by the Cycles input within a user-proscribed time period. If the timer is not retriggered in time (because of a machine stoppage), the SMI will change the machine state to "Idle".
The Cycles input can come directly from a machine's controller, or from a simple sensor installed so that it actuates once per machine cycle. In addition to determining machine state, the Cycles input can also be used to count parts or machine cycles.
For machines with a long cycle time, an additional input (called the "Running" input) is required. This input should be active while the machine is running, and off when the machine is stopped. For application where cycles or parts counting is required, the Cycles input can be used in conjunction with the Running input.
The signal for the Running input can come from the machine controller, or can be 'piggybacked' onto a control signal for something, such as a coolant pump or an "ON" lamp. that is active when the machine is running.
The "Inhibit" Output
The Inhibit Output is the key to collecting accurate downtime data. If a machine stops for longer than a preset amount of time, the Inhibit Output prevents renewed operation until the machine operator indicates (via the SMI's touch screen interface) the reason for the stoppage. The Inhibit output is connected into the machines stop circuit, or in series with any existing safety interlock.
Once the SMIs are installed on the machines, connect them to your Ethernet using the built-in RJ45 connector, and they're ready to send data to the ShopFloorConnect server.
We support ShopFloorConnect from our main location in Acton, MA, as well as field offices in Chicago and Nashville. Our technicians are available from 8:00AM to 5:00PM Eastern time, and can provide phone and/or live VPN support.
The first year of the annually-renewable maintenance is included in the price of the software. The maintenance contract covers VPN and phone support including all updates, maintenance, application help, and troubleshooting.