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Manufacturing Information Platform | Dan Peavoy on our toolkit to support manufacturers to invest in digital

Manufacturing Information Platform | Dan Peavoy on our toolkit to support manufacturers to invest in digital

You can contact Dan directly on D.Peavoy.1@warwick.ac.uk

We developed the Manufacturing Information Platform (MIP) as a quick way to digitalise existing manufacturing equipment and processes, particularly machines that don’t currently have any monitoring or connectivity. It’s a core part of our toolkit to support small manufacturers to find productivity improvements through investment in digital technologies. Sometimes, the applications are simple – perhaps monitoring process throughput or counting machine cycles. But for other, more complex challenges, we apply machine learning algorithms to detect subtle changes in the data that could indicate that the equipment is not performing properly or being used incorrectly. In either case, the relevant data is displayed in a graphical interface to assist the user, as well as giving insights for decision-makers.

Pen reader records unique tool ID

Sensors are connected through a Raspberry PI CANOpen Industrial Protocol

Accelerometer, thermocouple, and connectors

It’s been really exciting to work on the development of the MIP, as it’s a completely new system that combines our team’s skills in electronics, sensors, software and data analytics to create something useful for industry. It’s an ongoing project as we develop new sensors and discover new applications. We’ve recently added a smart tool sensor that uses a pen-reader to record tool changes. Coupled with the accelerometer, we can quickly set up a system to record the cycling of a tool and record the part being worked on. At Pressmark Pressings Ltd, we are using this data to show a dashboard of the production rate compared with targets. This helps the management team see where issues are arising that impact productivity. This is critical in the very challenging environment as industries recover from lockdown restrictions.

Installation at Raleigh Coatings Ltd

Installation at Pressmark Pressings Ltd

The applications are novel and innovative. At Raleigh Coatings Ltd, we are using the MIP to control a vision system that monitors product quality, with all data displayed in real time and backed up in a cloud database. Manual processes are another challenging application, often overlooked in digital transformation projects. At Exactaform, we are using a CT clamp to monitor the current draw on their braising process, aiming to detect different data signatures related to each part.

To find out more about how simple digital technologies could improve your processes and grow your bottom line, get in touch with me D.Peavoy.1@warwick.ac.uk.