Collecting data from sensors to monitor machine performance and product quality is not a new concept. We’re quite familiar with the “stop/start” function that signals when a part is out of place, or a process will be cued. Now, it’s much more than a stop and start scenario. Smaller, more versatile sensors offer opportunities for actionable data to be collected—and missteps corrected—in real time.
Programmable, Practical Data Collection for Machines and Parts
“The IIoT [Industrial Internet of Things] technology available for production facilities now enables direct connections to programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and smart sensors on process equipment and tooling to monitor operating parameters, such as speed, cycle time, temperature, pressure, flow rate, current, and voltage. This makes it feasible and affordable to capture both process and product measurements for each work piece in the overall measurement scheme.”¹
Compared to relays, PLCs are not only more versatile, but also less bulky, easier to use, and more energy efficient. The sensors are easier to position. Sensitivity has made great strides as well.
“Higher megapixel cameras, improvements in CMOS technology, better and brighter light sources, and new signal processing algorithms are all factors in creating improved sensors.”²
Proactive Quality Control
We’re not only gathering more information, but also handling it faster. Machines and parts can be monitored in real time, even remotely. Data can be collected continuously. This has tremendous implications for both machine maintenance and quality control.
“…Manufacturers can identify and even predict issues before they become problematic….¹
“…When automated monitoring of process parameters is combined with in-line measurements of product characteristics, the information flow and real-time analytics assures an effective transactional quality management system. …
“…An unexpected payoff is the development of a healthy “let’s decide now” culture where engaged employees are armed with real-time information to manage their operations….
“The introduction of IoT technologies in product design and smart manufacturing has brought the industry to the brink of enabling effective and efficient management of production with virtually perfect quality.”¹
Repeatability, waste reduction, and precision have always been in the Wet Tech wheelhouse. We welcome deeper integration of IIoT technologies to bring finishing processes to levels of perfection beyond what we may have thought possible.