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Thread: Lights Out Monitoring

  1. #21
    SeymourDumore is offline Diamond
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    Quote Originally Posted by philo View Post
    sounds great but the good guys wont work nights , so they work days and thats when all the setups, inspections, programs etc get done (brainwork ).
    ...
    so thats why let the free shift go all night long

    So what?
    You still keep the good guys on the dayshift and get the average one for the night.
    If the job can be left alone, then it can be left with the average guy.
    If it shits the bed alone, it will stink 'till morning no matter what. If however the average guy is there, the worst thing that can happen is that he's smelling it all night. Best case: He fixes it and keeps going for his own sake.

    I don't see a downside there....

    I did once put a dialer on my EDM ( came ready for it out of the box ). After the 3rd or 4th time it woke me up, I've disconneccted the fucking thing and threw it out. Slowed the machine down instead and came to the conclusion that the time it wasted was more than having someone watch TV all night and tend to the wire if and when it was needed.
    This case is very much multiplied with mills and lathes. If the wire breaks, it stops. Period.
    On a VMC or a lathe, if chips bunch up, tool breaks or dimensions change for whatever reason, you won't just not make money, you likely loose a bunch, potentially a whole bunch.

  2. #22
    metaltech is offline Hot Rolled
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    The first time I was aware of lights-out machining, I was working for a machinery distributor that sold Mori, among others. Mori was running lights-out in the mid-80s (and I would imagine other builders, too). What made it successful for the Japanese was conservative speeds. They wouldn't run as fast as our typical shops here would, but they didn't have tool failures. Of course, with no labor, it's still gravy even at a lower production rate.

    I set up one of our customers to do the same, also in the 80s. We had spindle-mounted probes that would measure parts after cutting, then adjust offsets. I set a tolerance on the offset so it wouldn't just run indefinitely with worn tools. The HMC had a large enough magazine to have some spare tools. I added a toggle switch, and wired it so it could be read by User Macro. The spindle speeds were programmed as a variable. During day-shift, when someone was around to solve problems, higher speeds were used. At night, they changed the switch, which would reduce spindle speeds. I connected a printer to the serial port, so any parts not passing the probing would be flagged. The day-shift guy would check the printer, which would tell which pallet and which face would be holding a bad part.

    On the lathe, it had a magazine auto-loading barfeed. I mounted a 12-liter wayoil tank in place of the stocker. It had a turret-mounted probe that would check parts and update offsets. With a full rack of bars, it could run 48 hours with no attention.

    User Macro (these were Fanuc-controlled) was what made most of this possible. It's not so hard, just takes some creativity.

  3. #23
    philo is offline Aluminum
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    nice work metal tech , that will keep companies in the us competitive . thats how we won some major work , quoting on the fact that we wont be paying labor, benefits , etc for some dumbass to slack off all night , instead just run a proven process unmanned and let it rip. even if we ever had some fallout its still cheaper and less headaches. tools and machines and software is so advanced these days.

  4. #24
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    cmailco is offline Hot Rolled
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    One thing I've learned in my time is... if you want to do a thing, talk to those doing it, not those who don't or, don't believe it can be done. You'll learn very little from those types.

    It wasn't so long ago that most people were saying, "You can't machine materials over 50 HRc", because they couldn't apply typical machining strategies and make it work. Now it's rather routine up to 60+ HRc.

    Get in touch with those doing lights-out. You'll find it wasn't a simple plug-and-play, but that with some work, they made it work, and continue to do so.

    GL

  5. #25
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    litlerob is offline Hot Rolled
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    I personally need to run lights, almost every night. Once the set-up is sound enough. In fact I am right now and my sphincter is a little tight. But if it's gonna crash it's gonna crash.

    So here is a question; if you are running lights out and monitoring the process remotely, what are you going to do in case of a catastrophe?___Lose sleep? Go in early? Jump in your car show up at the shop and hit the E-stop?

    Remote monitoring sounds good but is only effective if you are also the remote operator, can you index inserts from home? Okay maybe you have a pool of tools waiting, then you can use programmable load monitoring to change tools.

    my 2

    Robert

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by litlerob View Post
    So here is a question; if you are running lights out and monitoring the process remotely, what are you going to do in case of a catastrophe?___Lose sleep? Go in early? Jump in your car show up at the shop and hit the E-stop?
    Most shops, serious about doing this are utilizing machine tools with tool-life-monitoring; set load % thresholds, broken tool detection, etc..

    If one of our machines loses a tool, the machine will simply stop due to the load threshold, or it may pick up a sister tool, and continue on its way.

    You can avoid lot of this by running more conservative feeds & speeds and/or accumulating a lot of data in regard to tool life, and applying that to your processing. Good data collection is everything here... and programming practices that yield consistent tool life.

    Not exactly plug-and-play, but what is.

    Remote monitoring sounds good but is only effective if you are also the remote operator, can you index inserts from home? Okay maybe you have a pool of tools waiting, then you can use programmable load monitoring to change tools.

    my 2

    Robert
    Remote operating is a no-go per OSHA, fwiw.

  7. #27
    SeymourDumore is offline Diamond
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    Ok guys, since I'm the only party pooper here, let me ask a question.
    What is your hourly rate and how is it affected when you run conservative cycle times? 10% slower? 20% slower?

    If tool monitoring is on the conservative side, how much shorter is the accepted tool life? 1 part? 10 parts? 100?

    If tolerance variations need to be monitored, does it affect cycle time? Meaning if it is mid-process checking, what is the cycle time penalty?

    If it is external measuring device, it will likely be dedicated and somehow automated. What is the amortized cost of it?

    If a catastrophe happens, what is the possible expense to correct it?
    Or, if it was not expensive, how much is the cost of lost production for the night?


    Now, if you weigh all of the above against a living person's wage, does it still pay off?

  8. #28
    litlerob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmailco View Post
    Most shops, serious about doing this are utilizing machine tools with tool-life-monitoring; set load % thresholds, broken tool detection, etc..

    If one of our machines loses a tool, the machine will simply stop due to the load threshold, or it may pick up a sister tool, and continue on its way.
    I have never seen a lathe that loads it's own tools, not that they aren't out there, just never seen one. I guess Okuma Multus has a pool, but have not seen it.


    Quote Originally Posted by cmailco View Post
    Remote operating is a no-go per OSHA, fwiw.
    Interesting, I know a couple of people who are doing it, it's a pain but they do it. Also one man operations.

    Robert

  9. #29
    metaltech is offline Hot Rolled
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    Quote Originally Posted by philo View Post
    nice work metal tech , that will keep companies in the us competitive . thats how we won some major work , quoting on the fact that we wont be paying labor, benefits , etc for some dumbass to slack off all night , instead just run a proven process unmanned and let it rip.
    That customer was an interesting story. He was making replacement parts for sheet-metal equipment that would regularly get trashed. A high percentage of his sales were international, so he really was helping the trade imbalance. (Yep, it was an imbalance even in the 80s.) The HMCs were so productive that it kept 2 guys per machine busy on day shift removing finished parts, deburring, loading blanks, checking tools, fluids. The 10-station pallet pool actually had 2 set-up stations, custom-ordered by the customer.

  10. #30
    bryan_machine is online now Titanium
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    I have seen, and seen live demos of (but not operated nor owned) machines that have some good lights out properties. I've also heard from the owner of one setup.

    There's a maker of hydraulic actuators in the area who uses a pair of DMG 5 axis machines attached to an FMS system. The machines have elaborate probing and tool setting (as does mine). And if memory serves each machine has 200+ tool slots in its magazine. Built in macros to measure tools in process, swap for alternates, etc. (Of course you have to buy all of those tools and install them.)

    Owner of that company claims that once it was going full speed, it saved huge boatloads of money. Because it runs over a 3 day weekend (they are maybe 4x10?) unattended. Completely unattended. Making high value, complicated parts.

    Very costly installation. But if it's running all the time, and saving lots and lots of labor costs, can be worth it. Think about running 72 hours without paying overtime, night, or even weekend day work. 50 some weekends a year.

    By the way Seymour - these were/are high value weldments - each part is already quite a pile of money before it gets to the machine - and so conservative speeds, feeds, probing, etc. would be required anyway because the cost of scrapping the part is so high. If you are making parts out of 0.30 of material, different rules likely apply.

    I have seen, seen demos of, and seen actual part production in a live shop, of the Okuma Multus. I will admit to having wanted one for some time. One reason is the capto tool holders - as many as 60 I think, and some can have more than 1 bit on them?

    BUT - probing and tool setting on lathes doesn't seem as mature as for mills - and I see more lathes with tool setters that won't work when there's a part in the chuck. On the other hand, bar stock is surely the ultimate automatic feed material. Though both DMG and Okuma (and surely other brands I don't study as much) support robots loading and unloading.

  11. #31
    philo is offline Aluminum
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeymourDumore View Post
    Ok guys, since I'm the only party pooper here, let me ask a question.
    What is your hourly rate and how is it affected when you run conservative cycle times? 10% slower? 20% slower?
    If tool monitoring is on the conservative side, how much shorter is the accepted tool life? 1 part? 10 parts? 100?

    as above change to your metrics

    If tolerance variations need to be monitored, does it affect cycle time? Meaning if it is mid-process checking, what is the cycle time penalty?

    If it is external measuring device, it will likely be dedicated and somehow automated. What is the amortized cost of it?

    n/a

    If a catastrophe happens, what is the possible expense to correct it?
    Or, if it was not expensive, how much is the cost of lost production for the night?



    Now, if you weigh all of the above against a living person's wage, does it still pay off?
    why run slower you balance your cycle and use spare tools, replacing them after xxx amount of time, cycles or load, whether your running attented or unattended

    if you add cycle time to probe in cycle it may add 20 seconds. you dont need to measure every tool or every part . so we run 5- 11 hour shifts and can gain up to 5 13 hour shifts plus all weekend if fully tooled. not only are we saving labor at night , its the fully burdened labor rate: health insurance , work comp, social security etc. we were able to win a major assembly based on an aggressive delivery schedule running machines day and night without adding workforce. and you can quote more competitely as well if necessary to win. obviously your not trying to put your biggest tool munching problem job in here, but pick good running long cycle jobs and rip it

    only cost is power and tooling, if it crashes it crashes , could crash during the day as well, but yes could be worse at night. machines all have load detection and should alarm out day or night with overload.


    how about the night shift vs day shift mentality , slow it down it'll run better?

    or day shift messed it up , no night shift messed it up!!

    we use to spend half the day fixing night shift troubles!!

    we're small shop had only 5 guys at night , couple call out now there's only 1 2 or three people here and that's harldy worth it as well. look at the machines and watch operators many jobs people hardly make offsetts all day and many times the offsetts they are making are just steering the process closer to basic than is necessary, you have tolerance, use it.
    again job must run decent but you can find that sweet spot, and remember if you had to slow down a little to maximize a tool, your doing just that and you'll have better toollife and lower tooling cost while running for free at night. turn and burn during the day and make free money at night.
    Last edited by philo; 02-24-2012 at 04:54 AM. Reason: spelling

  12. #32
    troyscrew is offline Plastic
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    Philo, who do you use for the load detection?

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