Information silos are one of the major areas of inefficiency in any manufacturing operation.

Those with management responsibility will make better decisions if they can access high quality, real time machine and production data.

With Industry 4.0, information silos are broken down and data can be quickly analysed and shared with all levels of an organisation, from factory floor to management suite, purchasing, finance and logistics.

SMOOTH Monitor breaks down information silos, by ensuring that operational results of each machine can be accessed by all the relevant people, using a LAN connection.

SMOOTH Monitor graphically represents the status of each machine and offers an overall visualisation of factory status. Dashboards can be displayed in the factory or monitored via a smartphone or other mobile device with key information, such as spindle load, available for analysis at all times.

Crucially, with SMOOTH Monitor, other manufacturers’ machines and equipment can be managed from the tablet. SMOOTH Monitor uses MTConnect, an open, royalty-free manufacturing communications protocol that has the ability to connect different machines and automation systems on the factory floor, enabling third party suppliers of equipment to connect with CNC systems, such as SMOOTH Technology.

The software facilitates communication between different manufacturing devices and software from different suppliers, enabling the implementation of Industry 4.0 principles that will ultimately generate productivity improvements.

The ability of different systems, within a factory or machine shop, to connect and work together is central to the Industry 4.0 philosophy.

The Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system lies at the very heart of most organisations, integrating core business processes, from product planning and procurement, through to manufacturing, inventory management and logistics.

It is vital therefore that the machines on the factory floor are connected to the ERP system. Mazak’s SMOOTH Technology has been specifically designed to work with ERP systems, to ensure that organisation can place the workings of individual machines into the overall production plan.

SMOOTH Scheduler automatically configures efficient production schedules which take into account multiple different parameters, including cycle times, batch numbers and workpieces in a lot. The software then prepares an optimum production plan, for multiple machines and multiple machining operations, offering complete visualisation of the factory floor and links into the ERP system.

The benefits include reduction in in-process inventory, fast responses to delivery deadlines, improved overviews of production capacity and increased machine utilisation.

In recent years, the issue of energy saving has become more important for machine tool users. Savings on energy translate directly to the cost of running the machine, have a major impact on profitability and a factory’s impact on the environment.

Mazak’s SMOOTH Technology is equipped with a SMOOTH Energy Dashboard that displays a range of power consumption metrics, including tonnage of CO2, electricity charges and daily peak power.