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Seamless Digital Connectivity for Machine Tools

Feb. 18, 2021
GFMS has implemented OPC/UA for common communication across all its products, technologies, and services, simplifying the links to ERP systems and a range of other manufacturing platforms.

GF MACHINING SOLUTIONS is making available the Open Platform Communications (OPC) Unified Architecture (UA) interface Version 1.0 as a single connectivity solution to North American manufacturers. The standard cross-platform interface, developed by the OPC Foundation, provides a common communication language across GFMS products, technologies and services, for easy connection to existing enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems and other manufacturing solutions. Users will have seamless data exchange for collecting and assembling specific key performance indicator (KPI) measurements.

Working with the OPC UA interface, GF’s other digital solutions -- including the rConnect Dashboard -- can help manufacturers reduce machine downtime, monitor performance across facilities, automate operations, and ensure manufacturing process compliance. Version 1.0 of the OPC UA collects a vast range of comparable data and, with the rConnect Dashboard, makes that data accessible on the shop floor and/or remotely and via mobile devices.

GF Machining Solutions deploys OPC UA to gather information from five major data groups: machine identity, state/status information, process information, utilization and logs.

  Machine identity includes meta information, such as serial numbers, user-provided nicknames and software versions for GF Machining Solutions machines, all of which can be retrieved from the OPC UA server.

  The machine state data group lists basic information, such as the machine’s current assigned job, its activity status and more. With this data, manufacturers can then implement their own algorithms for tracking specific KPIs or overall equipment efficiency (OEE).

  For updates on process information, the OPC UA server provides remote access to messages from a machine itself, including user messages, warnings and errors, for effective remote communications.

  With the OPC UA server, users can trace different KPIs since machine installation, including actual production time (APT), actual unit setup time (AUST), actual unit delay time (ADET), actual unit busy time (AUBT) and actual unit processing time (AUPT). In addition to these KPIs, the UnitTime and the UnitOnTime are trackable.

  For logging machine and job activity, users can access the OPC UA server to track the start and end times of jobs as well as multiple executions of a same job. The server also lists other key information about the last job the machine ran, such as lead time, start/end time and the numerical control (NC) program name used.

Because the interface involves connectivity to office networks and the internet, OPC UA features built-in security based on recognized standa,rds such as Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), Transport Layer Security (TLS) and Encrypted Communication Data based on Advanced Encryption Standards (AES). This makes for a secure, robust, and reliable communication infrastructure. Learn more at www.gfms.com

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