basis for competition in manufacturing is changing rapidly and is no longer
defined by national boundaries. It is global in scope, with the number of
countries effectively competing for a piece of the world market steadily
increasing daily. Companies that want to survive over the long term are
striving to become world-class competitors. They are replacing obsolete
methods, systems, and cultures with a competitive structure based on both
technological and human resource utilization in the integration of all aspects
of the manufacturing enterprise.
companies are actively introducing new initiatives in order to bring maximum
value to their customers. Old factory management techniques are being
reevaluated and being replaced with more efficient methods that will result in
reducing delays, reducing cost, and improving overall quality. Lean
manufacturing provides an overriding structure that can help to create a
culture for change resulting in continuous improvement in all areas of
today’s extremely competitive world, manufacturers that use machine tools need
to improve their productivity by taking advantage of any new automation
technology available. Every metalworking manufacturer must look for ways to
reduce machining time, optimize labor efficiency, and reach higher levels of
quality. Until now, automation technologies have been the key to minimizing
costs and maintaining consistent quality. Now the question is, can the advances
of the process control world and the networked office be applied to the shop
floor? In other words, how can the automation be automated?
The goal is to create an “inter-networking” standard that makes
every machine tool a node on the corporate communications network.
machine tools on the shop floor into an overall plant nervous system will
unleash the information from each machine and allow management to increase
profitability. This dynamic infrastructure extends information related to
production beyond the factory floor. Machine tools then become servers of
information in real time, feeding their information to other functions within
the corporation anywhere in the world.
Giving every machine tool a hardware and software upgrade to
enable it to host Internet Protocol (IP) addresses shatters the glass wall
between the factory floor and the world that depends upon it.