Lots of factories, which are not connected to unified communication system, are facing lots of problems where it comes to transferring the NC programs from the repository to the machines, and vice versa.
Some common problems are:
Transferring the programs is done using an externak device, where each machine has its own device
Connection with the factory network
Disk on Key
Designated USB device
Connecting a laptop directly to the machine
Using a designated software on the machine
Writing the NC program directly on the machine
Why is this so problematic?
Several reasons make the subject problematic and even dangerous to the factory:
Viruses: external devices are more vulnerable and exposed to viruses which can harm the machines. Monitoring and controlling external devices is complicated to the point of impossible for the factory's IT people, and using such devices can easily cause malfunctions and viruses on the machines or factory network, even without malicious intent.
Malfunctions of the external devices themselves: it's common knowledge that when using external devices there is higher probability for malfunctions in the device. Laptop is just causing problems, old floppy disks just not working, the device is changing many hands, some not practiced in using it and might break it by mistake, and many more possible problems. Adding to this the fact that old obsolete devices are being used, which are hard to impossible to acquire these days. The damage caused from the machine lockout as result of these is very big.
Unavailabilityof the devices: whether it's a USB device which should wait to be authorized to transfer programs, or laptop which is currently in use on different machine, this delays work and harms production.
Difference between machines: in the same factory there are usually machines with different types, where each type has its own unique way of communicating with it. Worker who want to transfer NC programs to the machines has to use different method each time, which makes their work more complicated and slows it down.
Mismatch between the planned version and final NC program: in a factory with several functionaries who touch the product NC program and change it during the process, starting with the product engineer, through the production engineer and even the worker, there is the need to ever update the NC program, so that the most updated version for the product will be on the machine.
In practice, without management system, the technologist creates the initial program, which is then changed by the setup operator, then the machine operator who is supposed to return the NC program to the repository with the changes. There is no synchronization between those different functionaries, and no confirmation from the qualified functionary that the change is valid. These actions can be managed by using PDM system, but most of the times the PDM systems being used more for the components drawings, and less for managing the NC programs, and even so the PDM can’t communicate with all the different machine types, which cause changes made on the machine, or between the technologist confirmation and the actual send of the program, are not monitored.
Inconsistency in the way NC programs are being transferred prevents NC program transfer protocol from being set.
Each worker is doing what fits their own machine
So, what to do?
With MIR Integral Repository all the problems mentioned above can be easily fixed. The system is connected with all the machines in the factory, of any type, and allows managing and transferring of NC programs in a unified way to and from all machines, in a way which is transparent to the end user.
Managing the NC programs by having per-user permissions
NC programs version control
Simple and fast search for the desired progeam, out of the repository
Showing only the NC programs relevant to the desired machine
Sending the file to the machine to the proper place in the machine
Ability to upload programs from the machine into the repository
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