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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!

Improvements To Productivity By Minimizing Downtime With FreePoint’s Notifications

FreePoint’s Notifications product uses the ShiftWorx platform to send out alert messages by e-mail or SMS text message when a specific machine condition has been met. These conditions are typically when a machine is off or not performing as expected.

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How Reason Codes Help Reduce Machine Downtime

The worst enemy of any manufacturer is machine downtime. How to control and mitigate downtime is a constant battle for manufacturers trying to increase efficiency and maintain peak production. At FreePoint, through machine monitoring and production tracking technologies, we work with manufacturers to minimize downtime as much as possible, while maximizing machine output.

One of the ways we help manufacturers control their machine downtime is with Reason Codes, the backbone of downtime narration in our ShiftWorx platform. When a machine becomes idle, operators can apply a reason code to categorize that downtime period. Rather than seeing a machine offline for 20 minutes with no explanation, plant managers can see in real-time what the cause of the delay is— and address it. Those small increments of time add up, 10 minutes here or there can be worth over 6 figures in a year.

Using Reason Codes, you can:

  • Diagnose Machine Downtime Causes and Apply Solutions
  • Alert Decision Makers in Real-Time to Plant Floor Issues
  • Identify Machine Maintenance Needs
  • Empower Employees to be Part of the Solution

FreePoint’s ShiftWorx dashboard visualizes machine performance with one-click application of downtime reason codes.

Identify Downtime Causes

With reason codes, employees and managers can easily identify factors impacting machine downtime. Whether the reason is “waiting on materials” or “needs repair”, everybody is made aware of what factors are contributing to delays— valuable data for plant managers seeking to increase efficiency and achieve seamless production in real time. If someone has transparency into delay causes, they are more motivated to solve the cause of the delay. This makes the overall process more efficient and engaging.

Keeping Everyone in the Know

Reason codes also help mitigate machine downtime with real-time alerts. When reduced productivity or machine delays are detected, notifications are sent to all devices connected to our ShiftWorx platform, through SMS or email. Real-time alerts increase response time to problems that impact production—meaning solutions are found faster, and the length as well as the frequency of downtime can be decreased.

Identifying Downtime Patterns

By comparing actual performance to projected performance, you can benchmark productivity against past data to identify opportunities for improvement. A recurring reason code could indicate a machine issue in need of maintenance, or another machine consistently causing delays. Identifying these factors better positions plant managers to rectify them and prevent them from happening in the future.

It is important to understand that all data is good data. Even un-anticipated downtime, machine breakdowns or inefficient scheduling can give you crucial insight into your operation. When machine monitoring hardware works in tandem with data visualization, you can see every performance detail from any machine, regardless of industry or age of machine.

Schedule a demo today and learn what ShiftWorx can do for you!

FreePoint and Intellacor Team Up To Reinvigorate US Manufacturing

Using ShiftWorx, Intellacor brings Industry 4.0 to existing factory equipment across the United States

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Increasing Efficiency With FreePoint

About Caldwell

For more +130 years, Caldwell has created quality spring balances for window manufacturers around the world. Their products are everywhere from homes to schools, offices to hotels, even the United Nations Secretariat Building and the Empire State Building.

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FreePoint Opens First US Office

As a growing company that strives to think globally and act locally, FreePoint recognizes the importance of establishing permanent offices closer to the major markets and customers we serve. FreePoint recently opened its first US office, strategically located in the Seattle area. With existing offices in London, Ontario and Toronto, FreePoint looked further west for the site of its next office. Seattle is a gateway to Asia and the South Pacific, where FreePoint has a growing number of customer installations, and closer to FreePoint’s existing customers in Mexico. Washington state is also a major force in the Internet of Things (IoT) market and is home to cloud providers Amazon (AWS) and Microsoft (Azure) as well as major facilities for Boeing and many other aerospace manufacturers.

FreePoint Senior Vice-President John Traynor is responsible for growing and expanding FreePoint operations globally and will be based in the Seattle office. He has lived in the Seattle area for nearly 20 years and is a member of the Washington State IoT Council. John recently spoke at the Intelligence in Data Symposium held at the University of Washington. His presentation titled “Realtime Data in Industrial IoT” addressed the importance of getting meaningful live information to people on the plant floor so they can take action right away to improve manufacturing operations.

To contact the US office, please call +1 425.979.5990 or email Email Us: info@getfreepoint.com.

US Office:

8201 164th Ave NE, Suite 200
Redmond, WA 98052

FreePoint Expands Into Soft Goods With TexTempo Partnership

TexTempo brings deep experience in textile and related industries to FreePoint ShiftWorx platform

LONDON, Ont. and ATLANTA, Jan. 30, 2019FreePoint Technologies, an award-winning provider of software for the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) to manufacturers worldwide, today announced that it has entered into a strategic relationship with TexTempo, a leading provider of software for labor efficiency tracking in the soft goods industries. Through this partnership, TexTempo will bring new capabilities for machine monitoring, downtime tracking, and operating efficiency to its existing portfolio of labor efficiency and payroll processing products.

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FreePoint Doubles Down On Industrial IoT Growth In Manufacturing

Company announces acquisition of CoreSolutions to address demand from customers worldwide

LONDON, Ont., Jan. 9, 2019FreePoint Technologies, an award-winning provider of software for the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) to manufacturers worldwide, today announced that it has acquired CoreSolutions, a software development company with offices in London, Ontario and Toronto. Through the acquisition, FreePoint will accelerate the development of its industry-leading ShiftWorx platform for machine monitoring in manufacturing while providing enhanced flexibility for configuration and customization to meet enterprise customer needs.

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In The News: FreePoint At NRCC Innovation Hub

On November 30th the National Research Council, opened its doors to introduce the new $5-million Manufacturing and Automotive Innovation Hub. FreePoint was onsite demonstrating our machine monitoring capabilities and discussing the impact of this emerging technology on local manufacturers.

5 Reasons You Need IIoT Technology In Your Factory Today

The business of manufacturing is rapidly evolving. Being coined the Fourth Industrial Revolution, or Industry 4.0, it’s all about retrieving big data that couldn’t be accessed before. By bringing the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) into factories across the globe manufacturers can streamline production and push products to market faster. Are you ready to gain a competitive edge?

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