The goal of any factory is to enhance quality, reduce waste, and lower material costs while manufacturing a product. These can be accomplished by either increasing the speed and efficiency as the product moves through the factory floor, or by improving the quality accuracy of the product being built.  

Both efficiency and quality accuracy can be improved by reducing the necessity of reworking and recutting a product.  The necessity of reworking and recutting products can be reduced by the constant evolution of technology.

Visual Set-up Control (VSC)

According to Manufacturing Tomorrow, VSC, similar to face recognition on newer smartphones, is a new technology that visually sets up the part manufacturing process within the machine.  

First, the VSC will take a picture of a “golden” setup or a setup that didn’t cause any quality problems to the part when finished.  That image is then saved.  When the next part is loaded into the machine, the VSC will take another picture and compare that to the “golden” image to make sure the part is set up correctly.  When it verifies that it is correct, the manufacturing process can begin.  If the setup doesn’t compare to the “golden” image, an error message is generated, the process is stopped, or the next part is loaded into the machine, repeating the process.  Only when the go-ahead is received will the manufacturing process proceed.

Networking The Machines

The time it takes to save the VSC “perfect setup” picture of one part or to save multiple VSC “golden” images of different part setups, can take some time away from the actual manufacturing process.  But, once they’re done, they are saved in the machine ready to start the process immediately.  What if multiple machines were required to handle the workload to manufacture those parts?  

That’s when the networking of the machines come in handy.  If all the machines are connected to the network, the VSC “golden” images could be shared among the multiple machines.  This definitely saves a lot of time because each and every machine, individually, does not have to go through the manufacturing setup process.  Only one machine has to be set up and stored, sharing that info with the other machines.

If the goal is to consistently enhance quality, reduce waste, and lower material costs, having access to technology, like VSC and machines that have the ability to network with one another, can get a factory’s manufacturing process on the right path.  

Tom Kohm of Premier Equipment, a leading seller of used CNC Machines explains, “With smart technology, more information is available in a faster time frame so decisions can be made on the shop floor in real-time as opposed to days later.”