Where Manufacturing Matters

IoT in a Job Shop. Really?

Posted by Ed Weston on Oct 17, 2018 11:40:30 AM

Industry4.0“If the machines are cutting, there’s a chance to make money.”  But how much are the machines in a job shop actually running?  How much uptime are you actually getting?  And how do you learn how to measure what you thought your capacity was compared to your actual capacity?

According to Andy McCartney, President of Willoughby’s Bowden Manufacturing, these are problems that have bugged him for 19 ½ years since he took over the company.  But, as he explained in recent Lunch n Learn, an investment a year ago in a new digital technology is providing him data that’s making a difference for his business.

“It’s funny.  I’d heard all about IoT and these crazy buzzwords and acronyms that don’t really mean anything to me.”  But after learning about a monitoring system that attaches sensors to equipment and provides real-time data on utilization, Andy made the leap and installed it on nine critical production machines in his plant.  He added a display on the floor so operators can see their results.

The Machine Utilization Tracking (MUT) system operates like a FITBIT for his company, he says, with the focus being uptime awareness.  Andy has incorporated goals, so results during the shift show as green (good) or red (below plan).  His crews use the data to address the causes of downtime and to coordinate work with oncoming shifts.  It provides a focus for planning and decision-making.

And like a FITBIT, Andy believes data affects performance.  “These guys don’t like to see red.”  It gives people a sense of how well they’re doing and when they’re moving in the right direction, he says.  “I’ve heard the definition of success is when you’re making progress toward a goal.  So, for us, this technology is a nice opportunity.”

Manufacturing 4.0 in CLE

This event was part of Manufacturing Works Manufacturing 4.0 in CLE program which is helping Greater Cleveland's small to medium sized manufacturers (SMM) utilize and adapt to new technology—which is vital to the competitiveness of our manufacturing sector and the region's economy. We define manufacturing 4.0 as the cluster of technologies emerging in robotics, automation, new processes and materials, digital manufacturing, machine-to-machine communication, among other things. Since the beginning of the year we have been learning as much as we can about these technologies and how local companies are using them to improve their businesses.

Through the end of the year we plan to continue to have conversations with local manufactures and connect them with cost effective resources and technology providers that will address problems they are having within their plants. Make plans to join us later this year for a deeper dive workshop to help local manufacturers better understand how sensors and similar IOT solutions work and then join us for a plant tour at Bowden Manufacturing to view the technology in person. The workshop is planned for December 6th and the plant tour is planned for December 11th. Please watch for announcements about these upcoming events. For more information about MUT technology, please contact Matt Ulepic at mutcloud.com.

Andy Quote-1

Manufacturing Works’ Manufacturing 4.0 in CLE is generously funded for by the Cleveland Foundation.


For 30 years WIRE-Net has been a leading force to strengthen manufacturing in Greater Cleveland. That's not changing. What has changed is our name. We're now Manufacturing Works! We continue to provide leading edge expertise and resources that assist manufacturers in understanding and adapting to fast changing trends in technology, talent, and organizational leadership. Manufacturing Works connects leaders to each other and engages them in their communities.

Topics: Manufacturing Events, Internet of Things, Cleveland Foundation, Technology, Bowden Manufacturing, Industry 4.0, MUT Technology, Sensors, Andrew McCartney

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