Smart Manufacturing: A Machine Monitoring Success Story
When pen-and-paper methods of tracking job efficiency left AccuRounds’ engineers and managers in the dark, the shop switched machine monitoring system. However, this brought morale challenges along with it.
The data-driven practice quickly demonstrated the benefits of real-time monitoring. It also brought some tensions to the surface among shopfloor employees. AccuRounds’ story can serve as a case study for how to implement such technology effectively.
AccuRounds, based in Avon, Massachusetts, is a second-generation, family-owned, advanced manufacturer that provides machined components to industries including medical and aerospace. Mike Tamasi, AccuRounds’ president and CEO, credits his people with the shop’s success. Because AccuRounds had a history of building a strong culture from the front office to the shop floor, management worked deliberately to manage the discomfort among machinists that arose during the first few months after installation of the new system.
Smart Manufacturing: Process Monitoring vs People Monitoring
Shop management anticipated a little resistance to such a radically different process technology, and they talked it up a bit before installation. In addition to picking higher-performing machines, management chose individual shopfloor employees who they thought would quickly grasp and welcome the technology.
One of the challenges through implementation was getting past the whole human element of, ‘Why are you watching what I’m doing?’”
The focus of machine monitoring is on process, not individuals. Rather than using the technology to discipline individual workers, it’s used to see where a process is breaking down. For example, monitoring might reveal that a lack of training has set up a worker to fail. A person could be on a machine that he or she shouldn’t be on, and it’s red because they just don’t have the proper training. So it’s on the company to get that individual the proper training. The more those instances came about, the more they were addressed the right way, and the more comfortable the team became utilizing the new system.
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