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See FreePoint & CIMx Software at the AME Show August 26 & 27

Advanced Manufacturing Technology Show

See CIMx Software and FreePoint Technologies at the Advanced Manufacturing Expo (AME) Show this Thursday, August 26 and 27, 2021.

Thank you to the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center (MMTC) for hosting us in their new “Smart Technology Zone” area highlighting Industry 4.0 applications.

https://www.the-center.org/
https://www.advancedmanufacturingexpo.com/
https://www.cimx.com/

#Manufacturing #Industry40 #IoT #CNCMachineMonitoringSystem #ManufacturingExecutionSystem #MES

MES System Basics Video: Operator Workstation View Setup

In this video we demonstrate how easy it is to build an operator view in ShiftWorx that captures data in real time and makes machine data accessible to your ERP. A screen with many machines and KPI’s is great for managers looking to see the whole factory at a glance. Learn more about ShiftWorx and book your free demo today: https://getfreepoint.com/products/shiftworx-plus/

#Manufacturing #Industry40 #IIoT #ManufacturingExecutionSystem #MachineMonitoringSystem

MANUFACTURING AUTOMATION | Industry Watch: The Importance of Finishing Well

manufacturing automation paul hogendoorn

“…it often takes a whole career to learn how to finish well. We get so much more practice starting than we do finishing.” ~Paul Hogendoorn, Founder, FreePoint Technologies

See Paul Hogendoorn’s full article in MANUFACTURING AUTOMATION Industry Watch:

https://www.automationmag.com/industry-watch-the-importance-of-finishing-well/

MANUFACTURING AUTOMATION | Industry Watch: Three Key Words for Economic Recovery

economy

“Rank may designate you as the leader, but being able to find a way is actually what makes you a leader.” ~Paul Hogendoorn, Founder, FreePoint Technologies

See Paul Hogendoorn’s full article in this month’s MANUFACTURING AUTOMATION Industry Watch:

https://www.automationmag.com/three-key-words-for-economic-recovery/

FreePoint Connect Unlocks New Connection Options (Kepware, OPC-UA)

We have taken another huge leap forward with our release of FreePoint Connect, which fundamentally cloud-connects machines of any age, type or brand; although, it now opens up even greater flexibility via Kepware and direct machine controller connections. Machine connection is step one, and with FreePoint Connect it is easily managed in a web browser using ShiftWorx Plus MES software!

Option One – Connecting Through Kepware
Kepware is an industry leading industrial connectivity platform that can aggregate data from your machine controllers and PLC’s and send that data to FreePoint Connect.

Option Two – Connecting Directly Through the Machine Controller or PLC
FreePoint Connect allows your machine to directly communicate with ShiftWorx through OPC-UA. This machine-to-machine communication protocol removes the need for additional hardware to connect.

Option Three – Connecting Through our FreePoint Remote Module
Our “Black Boxes” will continue to provide non-invasive, secure, and reliable connections to any type, age or brand of machine independent of machine PLC’s.

 

How FreePoint Connect Works Graphic (Click to Expand)

Contact Us today to learn more and see a demo.

MANUFACTURING AUTOMATION | Industry Watch: The Critical Value of Purposeful Work in Manufacturing

work

“…the first lesson is that work has inherent human purpose, far more than just a means to earn a living. There is a tactile and palpable sense of satisfaction that comes from completing tasks that have tangible and visible results, which most people have an inherent need for – especially people who are drawn to manufacturing careers.” ~Paul Hogendoorn, Founder, FreePoint Technologies

See Paul Hogendoorn’s full article in this month’s MANUFACTURING AUTOMATION Industry Watch:

https://www.automationmag.com/the-critical-value-of-purposeful-work-in-manufacturing/

Top 5 Ways Manufacturers Should be Using Their Data

If you’re already collecting data in your organization, great! However, if you’re collecting data, and dropping it into a repository where it’s never seen again, what’s the point?

There are many great articles written on how companies should use their data, but manufacturers are quite different than retailers, or service providers, of any business that deal directly with the end user customer of their product. According to a recent article in Forbes, the common Top 5 ways to leverage data for those kinds of companies is:

  1. Make more informed decisions
  2. Understand customers, and market trends
  3. Provide smarter products and services
  4. Improve internal operations
  5. Create additional revenue opportunities

For many manufacturing plants however – those that don’t design the products they build or sell to the end customer as those functions and responsibilities belong to their customers – some of the above don’t apply ‘directly’. In the case of point 2, “Understand customers and market trends”, for many factories it would be more important to understand their workforce and the trends within the work force. Most companies in this category would not get a chance to create additional revenue opportunities, but they could use data to drive operator engagement on the plant floor, by modifying behavior, and thus creating more production capacity (i.e. revenue), or decreased cost, which creates additional earning, or improves competitiveness, which may lead to more business.

Our Top 5 list for Manufacturers would be:

  1. Make more informed decisions
  2. Understand your current workforce, and future trends to attract the best
  3. Make quicker decisions to prevent adding value to waste
  4. Improve internal operations (Lean, CI, digitization of documents etc.)
  5. Put data into action in real time to modify behavior engage workers

Arguably the most important of these 5 however, is making more informed, data-driven decisionsRandy Bean, and Thomas Davenport of the Harvard Business Review state:

“Analytical decisions and actions continue to be generally superior to those based on intuition and experience.”

There are many business cases that support this assertion, and manufacturers serve as an excellent example. Since the advent of industry 4.0, it’s become easier than ever to obtain performance metrics from manufacturing equipment. However, simply generating data in a manufacturing environment does not improve efficiency or productivity. Rather, it’s how manufacturers use their data that enables improvement. By monitoring their machine data, communicating more effectively with their operators, and scheduling dynamically, manufacturers can identify and address process bottlenecks, eliminate wasted time, material or energy, and greatly improving their overall production. This this allows manufacturers to produce more with the same amount of resources – directly benefiting the bottom line.

FreePoint Technologies CEO Paul Hogendoorn

Paul Hogendoorn
Founder
FreePoint Technologies Inc.

MANUFACTURING AUTOMATION | Industry Watch: Technology Adoption Has to Start at the Top

freepoint technologies

“…manufacturing CEOs are usually well intended when adopting Industry 4.0 technologies, but they are not comfortable with the whole technology conversation.” ~Paul Hogendoorn, Founder, FreePoint Technologies

Read Paul Hogendoorn’s full article in this month’s MANUFACTURING AUTOMATION Industry Watch:

https://www.automationmag.com/technology-adoption-has-to-start-at-the-top/

Ontario’s Automotive Modernization Program: Why You Should Care

Ontario’s automotive sector has always played a crucial role in the Canadian economy. With over 100,000 auto-related jobs across the province, investing in the sustainability and advancement of the auto industry is vitally important – which is why we are excited about Ontario’s next round of applications for the  Automotive Modernization Program (O-AMP) open until October 7th, 2020.

Aimed at helping Manufacturers adopt new technologies quickly, the new program provides eligible manufacturers with a grant up to $100,000 to support purchases and projects that fall under one or both of these two categories:

  • Technology Adoption
  • Lean Manufacturing

This program has made emerging technologies significantly more attainable for manufacturers considering a digital transformation. You can now reap the benefits of Industry 4.0 for a fraction of the cost by implementing any of our advanced manufacturing solutions. Whether you are looking to use machine monitoring, downtime tracking, or a customizable API – you could be eligible for a grant up to $100,000 . With our state-of-the-art data visualization software and extensive suite of machine monitoring solutions, you can begin your digital transformation while maintaining eligibility for government funding.

What gets measured gets improved”. Our IIoT solutions help you measure everything you need to measure to improve, including establishing an empirical baseline for where you are today. Our visualization tools will drive productivity improvements right away, and our reporting tools will help you identify the things that need to be done to get even better. If you have been considering a FreePoint system in your plant, there has never been a better time, so reach out to us today!

 

Check out the following links for additional information:

www.ontario.ca/page/ontario-automotive-modernization-program#section-2

APMA – Applications open for the Ontario Automotive Modernization Program (O-AMP)

www.cbc.ca/news/canada/windsor/vic-fedeli-announces-10-million-automotive-sector-modernization-program-1.5277165

www.ontario.ca/page/driving-prosperity-future-ontarios-automotive-sector

The Manufacturing Trifecta

Just in case you don’t know the term, “hitting the Trifecta” is an expression used to describe the ultimate winning bet on a horse race. It refers to picking the top 3 finishers of the race, in the correct order. Since the odds against doing so are extremely low, the winning payouts are often extremely high. If you picked the right horses in the right order, a two-dollar bet could return a 4-digit payout.

Wouldn’t it be great to know which 3 horses to bet on, and in which order?

In many manufacturing companies in North America today, there are many competing ideas and priorities being considered by companies:

  • What is the most important improvement to make first?
  • What investment will yield the biggest return?
  • Which improvements will prove critical, and which ones will result in minimal, if any, gain?

There is an approach that your manufacturing company can follow to “hit the trifecta”. It’s a simple 3 step process. The first step is easy, and relatively low cost. The second step requires a bit more effort but is risk mitigated because it is based on the results delivered in step 1. The third step requires the most investment, but since it is based on the results delivered in the first 2 steps, it is not only risk mitigated, but the cost of the investment may have already been paid for by the results of the first 2 steps. Picking the order is just as important as picking the horses.

I want to show you how you can hit the trifecta in your plant.

Pulling off the Manufacturing Trifecta

Step 1 Icon that is a circleStep 1: Establish an empirical baseline to truly understand the critical “value-adding” activities on your plant floor. This is done simply by connecting your machines to FreePoint’s ShiftWorx system. It is remarkably inexpensive and can be typically be done in less than an hour without modifying the machine or your current infrastructure. Within 30 days of placing this small bet, you will not only have established an empirical baseline of your plant, but you will also have given real-time visibility to the plant that puts everyone on the same page, aiming for the same thing you are: productivity and profit improvement.

Step 2 Icon that is a circleStep 2: Engage your people in the process of improvement by using FreePoint’s Narrative software. You will now be collecting all the information you need to determine all the reasons your equipment and processes aren’t running as effectively as they should be. And more importantly than that, you will have made your people a part of the solution and improvement process, every hour of every day. They will be engaged. FreePoint’s Narrative software is embraced by workers when they conclude that management is not monitoring them, but rather listening to them. This is a powerful game-changer for many companies, especially those companies where people are their biggest input cost. Those same people can also be their biggest asset.

Step 3 Icon that is a circleStep 3: Connect your live, empirical machine data, and your fully engaged people, to your schedule and workflow plan dynamically – in real-time. Most plants use a combination of accounting systems, whiteboards, even excel spreadsheets, to plan and then report on the performance of their productivity. Some may have an ERP system deployed and some may even be considering an MES system. The problem with most ERP and MES system deployments is that it represents a single, very large bet, that will take a very long time to pay out if it pays out at all. FreePoint’s approach is to use what was gained (knowledge, insight, plus early financial payback) from the first 2 stages, tying them together in a process using visualization tools that line up with your plant’s current effective processes. Placing a bet on a system that takes years to fully implement and requires your manufacturing processes to be modified for the system to work is not just a bad bet, it’s often a losing bet.

The Outcome

factory clip art freepoint technologiesIf you are still reading, you are probably wondering how long it should take to hit this trifecta. The first step should take 30 days and should result in a payback 30 days later. The second step should take 30 days, and it too should result in a payback in 30 days. The third step should take about 120 days, but it can take as long as you like, because at that point, you will already have great empirical data, engaged and motivated people, and your system can be built to match your improved, and continually improving, manufacturing processes.

What is the expected payback on hitting this trifecta? From our experience, our customers typically see a 10% to 15% improvement at step 1, a further 10% to 15% improvement after step 2, and a 20% to 30% improvement after step 3. Doing the math, that would work out to productivity improvement, or capacity increase, of between 45% and 79%.

There it is, now you have the knowledge on which horses to bet on! Our suggestion: bet on achieving empirical data first, engaging your people second, and digitizing your plan third.

Call FreePoint to get started today.

FreePoint Technologies CEO Paul Hogendoorn