Tool & Die

Application Notes

About Tool & Die Manufacturing

Tool & die manufacturers run high value, low quantity production of unique parts in a production process with many dynamic variables.

Machine Uptime is the most common indication of productivity in most shops, with the belief that when the spindle is running, the company is making money and adding value.

Examples of Machines Monitored

  • CNC Lathes
  • CNC Mills
  • Machining Centers
  • EDM Machines
Manufacturing Challenges FreePoint technologies

The Challenge

Tool and die manufacturers use a wide variety of machines, many of which are not connectable in a standard or cost-efficient fashion. Modifying older machines brings with it the risk of unexpected downtime, whereas newer machines often require proprietary  software, with warranty sometimes being an issue.

In a typical machine shop, machine downtime may be close to its uptime. In order to improve productivity, it is crucial to know the reasons why a machine is not running, and collecting all the information related to every non-value added time can be time consuming and inaccurate.

FreePoint’s ‘non-invasive’ approach to machine monitoring addresses all these challenges and mitigates the risks.

The Solution

FreePoint connects non-invasively to all machines on the shop floor. Our ShiftWorx system enables manufacturers to easily identify areas of improvement while increasing the number of jobs going through one machine. By visualizing their uptime and downtime on the ShiftWorx dashboard, operators are focused on getting the machine back to a value adding condition.

Examples of Signals Being Monitored:

  • Spindle Running (or Spindle under load)
  • Axis in Motion
  • Machine “in Cycle”
  • “End of Program”
  • Machine “in Alarm”
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Placing dashboards on LCD screens throughout the plant floor has proven to drive productivity improvement by 10% to 15%, and in some cases more. WIth our “Narrative” module, Operators are more engaged as they empirically identify all downtime causes, giving management the information they need to make better decisions.

With real-time data visibility provided by ShiftWorx, manufacturers will be much better positioned to increase production as well as profitability.

  • Identify areas of improvement
  • Increase number of jobs run on the machines
  • Visualize machine uptime & downtime
  • Optimize the machine schedule
  • Aggregate available machine capacity
  • Increase production & profitability



Using our “Narrative” module, Operators are engaged in the data collection process by empirically identifying all the non-value adding periods (down time causes), which gives management the information they need to make better decisions.


Using our “Notifications” module, supervisors, managers and maintenance staff can be alerted via text or email whenever a critical machine has stopped for a defined period of time, minimizing or eliminating unnecessary down time.


Everyone wants to see more active time on the dashboard and less inactive time. However, that is not necessarily the case for these manufacturers. A high utilization number may mean that the machine is too slow and should be replaced. A low utilization number may simply mean that there is not enough work available for the machine, or not enough people scheduled to keep it running.


Determining reasons for non-productive time: equipment, scheduling, or material related?


What is the average set up time by machine, or job type?


What percentage of uptime the line has been running by hour/day/shift.

We want to help you understand your data.

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