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Microsoft Best Apps Conference – FreePoint is Delivering IIoT Results Now!

FreePoint Technologies is featured at this weeks Microsoft Best Apps Conference, taking place live Thursday, May 20, 2021 from 1:30 – 3:00pm EST.  Manufacturers will be participating virtually and listening to various industry leaders presenting on the Top 10 software / apps essential to help Canadian businesses achieve their Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) goals in the current economic environment.

FreePoint Technologies Microsoft Best Apps Conference

FreePoint Technologies’ ShiftWorx software delivers IIoT results now!  Presentation by Paul Hogendoorn at Microsoft’s Best Apps Conference is at 2:15pm on Thursday, May 20, 2021.

Paul Hogendoorn the founder of FreePoint will be presenting on how our SaaS solution affords manufacturers the means to connect their machines, to visualize and report data, and motivate their workforce to improve.

ShiftWorx - FreePoint Technologies Inc.

The barrier to entry has never been so low – ShiftWorx provides manufacturers of any size, with any number of machines regardless of age or type the ability to connect those assets in the cloud, improve productivity, understand data, and engage their people.

ShiftWorx manufacturing KPI dashboards provide visualized data in an easy-to-understand layout that empowers the user with integral knowledge needed to improve; including productivity data such as machine status (is the machine operating and adding-value, or not?), uptime and downtime tracking, quality and waste tracking, and more with powerful Business Intelligence (BI) reports accessible at the press of a button.

Ultimately, ShiftWorx connects every machine, and reports accordingly so that all involved are on the same page and equipped to always make informed decisions.  We live by the credo that one cannot improve what is not measured, and we have proven the information ShiftWorx provides is pivotal to achieve that goal.

As a leader in Industry 4.0 innovation, we have developed a machine connectivity and reporting solution any manufacturer can benefit from; and we have truly reduced the obstacles to entry with a software product that is not expensive, and not difficult to integrate or use – so we ask, what are you waiting for?  Contact us today to get started!

FreePoint Technologies CEO Paul Hogendoorn

Three Reasons for Manufacturing’s Resilience

FreePoint Technologies CEO Paul Hogendoorn

Paul Hogendoorn – FreePoint Founder

Earlier this month, FreePoint Founder and CRO, Paul Hogendoorn was featured in Manufacturing Automation Magazine for his article titled “Three Reasons for Manufacturing’s Resilience During the Pandemic”. Throughout his article, Paul explains that demand remains strong for the “higher value” products where North American manufacturers primarily focus, as consumers spend their discretionary income on “durables” instead “consumables” like entertainment, vacations, and services.

As value-adding activity has retuned to pre-COVID-19 levels, technology allows a lot of the administration and management to be done remotely. While COVID-19 has been tumultuous for life outside of the factory, for some, life in the factory has provided a period of near normalcy as PPE was already part of many jobs and breaks and interactions were largely structured.

Paul goes on to explain that manufacturing’s resilience can directly be attributed to the efforts of our great people – from operators, to management, to the c-suite. Our people are dedicated, dependable and deliver tangible results every day. Employees are buying what they are making and manufacturers are creating both the product and the market for the product.

As Paul says in the culmination of the article “The companies that have come through this stronger have done so by sharpening their focus on their value adding activities, getting more done in less time, and by unleashing the adaptive, dedicated and innovative potential of their people. ”

Get all the expert insights by reading the full article here.

FreePoint Technologies CEO Paul Hogendoorn

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: 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/

FreePoint Founder Outlines Why Industry 4.0 is Not as Scary or Costly as You Might Think

FreePoint Technologies CEO Paul Hogendoorn

Paul Hogendoorn – FreePoint Founder

FreePoint Founder and Chair, Paul Hogendoorn has featured in CIO Application magazine’s Vendor Viewpoint and Manufacturing issue of their most recent publication with his most recent article “Why Industry 4.0 Is Not As Scary or Costly as You Might Think”

In this featured article, Paul outlines:

  1. While industry 4.0 represents the future of manufacturing, you can (and should) get started today and how to begin
  2. How it’s possible to connect to any machine – regardless of age and function.
  3. How to establish your baseline and drive production capacity improvements of up to 50+%

Throughout this article, Paul stresses why getting started today is important. Accounting for the new challenges COVID-19 has created, understanding when your machines are driving value-added work along with remote monitoring and reshoring supply chains; industry 4.0 is the catalyst to help you emerge from this pandemic ahead.

Manufacturers can do more to ensure their success by taking a systematic approach to industry 4.0 and digitization in their shop. By properly combining people and technology, manufacturers will be much better positioned to take full advantage of their industry 4.0 technologies and drive future growth. Industry 4.0 isn’t just the future state of manufacturing, it’s available and driving meaningful improvement in large and small manufacturing environments now. FreePoint makes this technology accessible today, to any manufacturer.

Read the full article here.

Don’t struggle to get the most out of your IIoT solution. Make sure you are leveraging both your people and your technology in order to ensure the highest levels of success in your organization.

 

FreePoint Technologies CEO Paul Hogendoorn

Forbes Article: Industry 4.0 – Are Companies Doing Enough?

Industry 4.0 is the latest industrial revolution to shake up the manufacturing industry. As organizations begin to transition into this new, universally connected ecosystem, it can become challenging to leverage all of the data and information at their disposal.

An article published by Forbes Magazine explores industry 4.0 adoption, and how companies have been handling the transition:

“while connecting things and even gathering and analyzing the data supplied by those things has been growing, the actual application of data to inform better business decisions is still elusive for many organizations.”

Even though many manufacturers have begun collecting data throughout their shop floor, they are still having trouble taking full advantage of it. More than 60% of survey respondents mentioned in the article claim data-informed decision making has led to significant ROI, making it no surprise why so many manufacturers are eager to start putting their data to work. Corroborating Forbes findings is another study we referenced in a past article that found 66% of early IIoT adopters say IIoT is now a critical advantage for their business.

Some key takeaways from the article include:

  • “The B2B IIoT device market is expected to increase to 5.4 billion in 2020 from 2.5 billion in 2017.”
  • “+90% of respondents gather data from traditional sources such as enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM), product lifecycle management (PLM) systems, or non-transactional internal systems such as email – whereas than half of respondents collect data from some form of IoT.”
  • “Just over half of respondents rated themselves as capable of using data to make decisions in real time, while 45% said they don’t currently have the capability”

Read the full Forbes article here.

Discussing Project Launches in Manufacturing Automation Magazine

FreePoint Technologies CEO Paul Hogendoorn

Paul Hogendoorn – FreePoint Founder

Paul’s latest publication featuring in Manufacturing Automation Magazine discusses the challenge of project launches, stating:

“The hardest thing to do is often just to get started. Stepping into the unknown, or perhaps looking forward into a big, indeterminate and not fully defined project, is easy to avoid doing.”

Throughout the article, Paul explains the best approach to tackling a big, new endeavor like IIoT and Industry 4.0 – break it into more manageable chunks:

  • Zero to One
  • One to Ten
  • Ten to One Hundred

Zero to one, also known as project launch, is often the most difficult (and most critical) stage. This is primarily because it requires a significant leap of faith few are willing, or even able to take. As you move past the launch stage, more people begin to get on-board, adding momentum, and mitigating some resistance. Manufacturers will find the same amount of energy they applied in the beginning will get them a lot farther and a lot faster in the final stages of the project.

The mistake some companies make is trying to map out and enact the plan from start to finish in one fell swoop, making project launches more overwhelming than they need to be. Learn how to better tackle your next manufacturing project by reading the full article here.

FreePoint Technologies CEO Paul Hogendoorn

The Secret Behind Monitoring Manual Processes

From a machine monitoring standpoint, the wide range of equipment and tactics used by manufacturers pose a challenge. For instance, Some equipment is newer and digitally compatible, whereas others are older and analog. Also, some processes are done manually by an employee instead of a machine. Manufacturers may find themselves wondering: is it possible to monitor manual processes? Luckily, at FreePoint, the answer is yes.

As the global supply of computing power and storage capacity continues to grow rapidly, the cost to access these resources continues to drop. The same is true for IIoT technologies. Sensory devices and the technology needed to interpret them have become more compact and affordable in recent years. Because of these advancements, we can monitor more than just machines, but the manual processes of factory workers as well.

Cyber physical systems freepoint technologies

By leveraging different sensors, you can create cyber-physical systems to monitor tasks ranging from welding and brazing to painting and sanding. These sensors include:

  1. Electrical Current Sensors
  2. Switch/Button Recognition Sensors
  3. Pressure Plate Sensors

Electrical Current Sensors

FreePoint Technologies Electrical Symbol

One of the easiest manual processes to monitor are those which produce an electrical current. For example, if you are performing a task involving a MIG Welder, an electrical current will pass through the tool whenever it is in use. By installing an electrical current sensor, you can monitor the use of the welder and its efficiency based on the amount of time the tool spent having an electrical current run through it. If there is no current running through the tool, that would be considered downtime. Obviously, the more time the tool spends with current running through it, the more value-added time it contributes.

Switch/Button Recognition Sensors

Another straight-forward means of monitoring a manual process is with switch/button recognition sensors. When using a tool that is button or switch activated, a switch recognition sensor will be able to determine when a switch has been flipped on or off. Like electrical current sensors, by tracking whether the switch/button is on or off – you can identify when a machine is experiencing uptime or downtime. Using downtime narration, you can attribute reasons to justify downtime, some of which may be preventable moving forward.

Pressure Plate SensorsFreePoint Technologies Pressure Plate Sensor

Pressure plates are useful to monitor any piece of equipment that exerts pressure—like a drill press. Using this in tandem with an electrical current sensor will give you valuable insight into the efficiency of certain manual processes. In addition, using a pressure plate sensor alongside an electrical current sensor allows you to tell when a machine is running, as well as performing a value-adding task. In the case of a drill press, the value-adding task would be drilling. Just because electricity is running through the machine does not mean the machine is being productive. With both sensors, you will be able to more accurately assess your processes productivity.

With our IIoT software, FreePoint can connect any machine on your shop floor and start collecting data within 24 hours. You can literally monitor any machine with an electrical current. The oldest machine we are currently monitoring is from 1914! Reach out today and let us walk you through how to monitor your manual processes!

FreePoint Named One of Manufacturing Technology Insights Top Industrial IoT Solution Providers of 2019

Manufacturing Technology Insights IIOT Top Logo

FreePoint Technologies is excited to announce that we have been named one of Manufacturing Technology Insights Top 10 Industrial IoT Solution Providers of 2019.

Manufacturing Technology Insights discussed how FreePoint is helping manufacturing organizations discover and achieve their true operational potential through IoT.

Referencing our ShiftWorx Platform, our CEO John Traynor explained how the “Visualization of real-time data triggers the Hawthorne Effect and supports collaboration among management and workers to use equipment for maximum efficiency.” As the article outlines, many manufacturers aren’t sure where to start with IoT, especially as they consider connecting new and old equipment. It’s better to start simple, by building a foundation to collect leverage data.

Using non-invasive sensors, FreePoint is able to connect to new and legacy machines to give greater visibility into shop floor performance and help contextualize that data to identify and improve performance issues and engage operators and management.

Read the full article to learn more about how FreePoint is helping to revolutionize the manufacturing industry.

FreePoint Founder Hits the Trifecta in Manufacturing Automation Magazine

FreePoint Technologies CEO Paul Hogendoorn

Paul Hogendoorn – FreePoint Founder

FreePoint Founder and Chair, Paul Hogendoorn has featured in Manufacturing Automation Magazine’s October issue with his article titled “Hitting the Trifecta”. In his article, Paul outlines a simple three-step approach that will enable manufacturers to take full advantage of IIoT and industry 4.0 technologies:

  1. Establish Empirical Baseline Metrics
  2. Engage Your People in the Process of Improvement
  3. Connect Your Data to Your People in Real-Time

By properly implementing these steps, manufacturers can typically expect to see anywhere from 45-79% increases in capacity and/or productivity. With such a significant opportunity for ROI, Paul strongly encourages manufacturers to not only leverage new and emerging technologies on the shop floor, but to engage with their operators – making them part of the continuous improvement process.

Throughout his article, Paul stresses the importance of the order in which these steps are performed – likening the approach to horse-racing wagers:

“If you had the knowledge of which horses to bet on and which order to bet on them, would you?”

Manufacturers can do more to ensure their success by taking a systematic approach to industry 4.0 and digitization in their shop. By focusing on just one of the three points Paul discusses in his article, manufacturers may limit the success of their digitization efforts. But by properly combining people and technology, manufacturers will be much better positioned to take full advantage of their industry 4.0 technologies.

Don’t struggle to get the most out of your IIoT solution. Make sure you are leveraging both your people and your technology in order to ensure the highest levels of success in your organization.

Learn more about how you can hit the manufacturing trifecta by reading Paul’s full article here.

FreePoint Technologies CEO Paul Hogendoorn