Demystifying IIoT at Mazak technology and education event

May 05, 2017 - 03:15pm
Demystifying IIoT

Florence, Ky.-headquartered Mazak Corp. hosted its Midwest Technology + Education Event May 2-4 at the machine tool builder’s Midwest Technology Center, Schaumburg, Ill. The event featured a broad range of Mazak machines on display, exhibits and demonstrations presented by Mazak Value Inspired Partners and six daily seminars.

In the seminar titled “Demystifying IIoT: Getting Started and Expected Value from Job Shops to Large Manufacturers,” Rick Mosca, COO/CTO for MEMEX Inc., Burlington, Ontario, said some incorrectly view the Industrial Internet of Things as a magic bullet or even a theoretical construct without any practical application. Instead, he emphasized IIoT, or Industry 4.0, leads to data-driven manufacturing and opens up data to enable shops to operate more efficiently and profitably.

IIoT is disrupting and transformative in a good way, Mosca added, and benefits all stakeholders in a manufacturing operation, including engineers, production personnel and management. When IIoT is applied successfully, a company can achieve payback in 3 to 4 months.

Nonetheless, adopting IIoT requires buy-in from both the information technology and operational technology departments, which typically focus on different risks and objectives. “They have to figure out how to work together,” he said. “Convergence is required.”

Mosca said MEMEX’s MERLIN software platform connects machines via MTConnect open-source and royalty-free protocol to produce real-time data. According to Mosca, the software enables parts manufacturers to quickly “grab the low-hanging fruit” and achieve a fast return on investment before going into a continuous-improvement loop. “We have yet to see less than a 10 percent productivity improvement,” Mosca said.

For example, Mazak chose the MERLIN platform for its ability to collect data using MTConnect adapters for newer machine and through MEMEX’s Universal Machine Interface for legacy equipment. “Mazak hoped for 1 percent improvement and got 42 percent,” Mosca said.

During the event, Brian J. Papke, chairman of Mazak, told CTE that 60 machine tools, plus some auxiliary equipment, are on MTConnect at the company’s Florence facility, where about 100 of the roughly 400 Mazak machine models are built.

He added that Mazak is creating 10 “smart factories” around the globe that are all different but achieving productivity gains at a comparable level. “Smart includes having the right machines,” Papke said.



Alan holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Including his 20 years at CTE, Alan has more than 30 years of trade journalism experience.


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