Mazak and Memex Data Driven Manufacturing Article in Modern Machine Shop

March 22, 2014 – There is no better writer in manufacturing than Mark Albert of Modern Machine Shop and certainly no better MTConnect advocate.

Modern Machine Shop has an excellent article titled, Data-Driven Manufacturing Moves Ahead at Mazak”that discusses Mazak utilizing MTConnect at Mazak’s North American Headquarters and Technology Center in Florence, Ky.

This is a great quote in the article by Brian Papke, President of Mazak USA:  “This total embrace of MTConnect was intended to make a statement,” Mr. Papke says. “We wanted to be a leader in both promoting and implementing MTConnect. We wanted our example to show the country the importance of moving toward data-driven manufacturing. MTConnect is an essential part of what makes data-driven manufacturing possible.”

Every machine tool monitoring company went after this business that I can think of and Memex Automation ended up winning by a landslide.  Below is a snippet of the article that discusses our solutions at Memex, called MERLIN:

Since November, all of these machines have been connected to the machine monitoring system, which uses MERLIN MES monitoring software developed by Memex Automation (Burlington, Ontario). MERLIN (Manufacturing Execution Real-time Lean Information Network) is a manufacturing execution system and machine-to-machine communications platform. Memex has been providing network connectivity, DNC software and machine monitoring systems since 1992 and has offered MTConnect-compatible versions of its MERLIN machine monitoring and manufacturing execution systems since 2010.

Dave McPhail, President and Chairman of the Board for Memex Automation stated the value proposition below:

“Rather than offering an expensive, custom installation for every client, we’ve produced a packaged, machine-to-machine toolkit adaptable by all manufacturers. The technological breakthrough here is that MERLIN is an MTConnect-based hardware and software module that does not require programming or setting up of PLCs. The MES leverages a company’s existing investment in plant, equipment and enterprise software,” says David McPhail, president and CEO of Memex Automation.”

Neil Desrosiers of Mazak stated the history of the task force and why Memex’s MERLIN was selected:

“This supplier was selected after a task force headed by Neil Desrosiers, Mazak’s developer of digital solutions, evaluated numerous commercial monitoring systems. This task force included IT personnel, machine operators, shopfloor supervisors and managers from the machining department. Two factors tipped the choice to MERLIN. The most important of these was the apparent ease with which reports could be configured for various users within the company. The other was the ability to store collected data and archived reports locally on a dedicated network server rather than on remote storage accessible on the Internet (the “cloud”), a concession to security concerns raised by the IT team.”

Ben Schwawe, VP of Manufacturing at the Florence, KY Mazak facility stated:

“The machine monitoring system appears to be a good example of this sort of technology. In operation since November, the system has yielded significant benefits, initially by uncovering some easily fixed inefficiencies and practices. Mr. Schawe says that these fixes have increased uptime by 6.2 percent across the 15 machines that are fully integrated into the system. “This was that low-hanging fruit, so to speak,” he says. “We’ve also recognized some opportunities to make additional gains from efforts such as putting greater emphasis on having replacements for worn tools ready to go.” Taken together, these efforts have yielded a 17 percent improvement in utilization for the monitored machines so far.

But over and above these benefits is the advantage of having a system that takes the guesswork out of tracking machine utilization. “We can tell at a glance how we are doing, and the basis is in real-time data,” Mr. Schawe explains.”

This is a true inflection point in not only MTConnect, but in Mazak’s and Memex Automation’s history.

Thanks to Mark Albert for writing this fantastic article!

– Dave Edstrom

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