Most manufacturing environments fit into one of four production process types. These include mass production, batch production, continuous flow and one-off production. This article will look at how you can apply Evocon to automate your data collection depending on what it is the output of your production.
How Evocon monitors different production process types?
Evocon is a very versatile OEE tracking software and you can apply it to monitor all the different production process types.
What is a production signal?
No matter the production process type, there is always an output that is the result of the process. As the main purpose of Evocon is to automate the data collection from your machines or lines, we need an input signal that reflects the output of your production. In most cases, we use different kinds of sensors and PLC I/Os (inputs/outputs) to get that input. You can read more about this in our article: “How to get production signals from machines?”
Since each product, in essence, is a signal for the sensor then it is important to look at what production process types Evocon can monitor together with the different production signals that we can use.
It is also important to point out that the Evocon system registers only ON/OFF signals. This means for example that we know if the machine is working or not. Or we know if the product passes the sensor or not. Once we have the signal, then we can interpret these ON/OFF signals into different statuses. For example, if the production cycle is normal or not or if there is a machine breakdown or not.
If you want to learn more about choosing the right production signal, then make sure you read our article: “How to choose what production signal to monitor?”
Counting single products
Counting single products is the most widely used method for measuring production, OEE and machine downtime. And depending on the specifics of the production process, we can use this method to monitor all the four different production process types.
There are four ways to get a signal from your machine or production line, using this method: an output signal from a sensor, a PLC output, a relay contact or HTTPS request.
When an item or product moves in front of the sensor, that item creates a signal and our device registers it. The device then sends this signal to our server, where it is processed. Afterwards, the systems displays collected data in real-time on the shop floor or in the office.
A very common use for this method is on bottling lines where we count single bottles using a sensor.
Converting signals based on product type
Another popular way to monitor the different production process types is to convert ON/OFF production signals based on the specifics of your production.
For example, let’s say the input signal represents a box that is moving on a conveyor. Then it is possible to define the number of products that represent this signal. So if there are ten items in a box, we can convert one signal to represent ten products. This way, it is possible to register boxes with a sensor but see the total quantities in actual product units.
Or if you are producing bags but want to monitor production in weight, then we can convert all registered bags to kilos (or whichever unit you prefer). Another example is counting wooden boards using a sensor and displaying information in meters.
The quantities Evocon registers are based on products that you define in the system. It means that different products of one production line can have a different parameter for “units per signal”.
Using control signals to monitor production
Depending on what production process you have, you might have to have control signals to track OEE accurately. By using our device, it is possible to connect up to three additional signals that act as control signals for what you are measuring.
Control signals are useful when you need to remove accidental signals that are created by the maintenance or cleaning process. For example, we can use a “machine on” signal as a control signal. This way, if the machine is turned off, our device does not register any signals.
Another example is the extrusion of pipes, in which case we use multiple control signals from the machine to get accurate production data.
Counting fast signals
Fast signal counting is suitable if your production is continuous. We often use this with planers and flow processes. Where the system measures meters using a rotary encoder (measuring wheel) or fast signals from a PLC output.
Monitoring machine running time
At Evocon we use this method to register working time (“machine running”, “program running”) of a production machine or line. Usually, we obtain the necessary production signal from an Andon light, a “cycle start” button or PLC output. It is also possible to use a blinking status light of your production machine as the ON indicator.
This mode of measuring is widely in use with CNC or laser-cutting machinery where cycle-times may vary. If production cycles and order information is available in your ERP system, then connecting that to Evocon and registering actual times when cycles end can give better insight into the actual performance of the machine and the operator.
You can read more about how we apply the techniques above to the different production process types by reading this article: “What production process types can Evocon monitor?”
If you want to start monitoring your production but are not sure how to start or what the best method is, then you can always contact our team, and we are more than happy to help.