Considering shifting your manufacturing into the cloud? Read the practical steps from Naveen Nadesan, ANCA Motion Global Marketing Manager, to make the most of the move.
Connectivity with the world is now something we take for granted in our everyday lives. We no longer need to be in the office to check emails, receive calls or even access our files. We can be anywhere in the world and, thanks to the cloud and mobile technology, still be connected. It’s a world of digital transformation that now applies to CNC machines.
New cloud-based management software, along with the Internet of Things – that is the networking of machines that send and receive data – are helping us design, test and produce parts no matter where we are, or where our facilities are. Pooling of live data in t he cloud means we can now optimise our processes in real time, even from the other side of the world.
Here are five ways the cloud will enhance CNC machines.
1. The cloud improves CNC machine productivity
“We need more of it and faster.” Ever heard that one? Cloud-based management of CNC machines can improve productivity through the removal of complex workflows, reduced costs for installation and manufacturing and the big one… automation.
Think also of the productivity gains that are possible when operation staff can access information and collaborate remotely as well as make updates in real time from multiple locations.
Automation on machines also means you can reduce the cost of doing business as manufacturers can run part batches ‘lights out’. This means that no matter where in the world you can be competitive – even in traditionally higher cost labour regions.
2. The cloud offers greater visibility
Cloud-based management of your machines gives you the ability to monitor them and production in real time and make faster, informed decisions about your capabilities.
This greater visibility provides insight into your supply chain and usage patterns including production levels, inventory, available capacity, quality levels and order status – without delay. This in turn will help you manage customer expectations around delivery.
3. Less downtime for more business continuity
How much time did you lose last year to unplanned machine downtime? CNC machines that are connected to the cloud provide constant data about their health and productivity. Sharing this information across the business can help identify production problems, including root causes, and also help predict machine failures before they happen.
The cloud is also your secure, offsite data backup. If and when something goes wrong there’s no need to worry about when the last manual back up was done – it’s automatically taken care of.
4. More solid security
There is often a concern that the cloud may not provide the same IP protection as on-site data management. The truth is that the cloud may be less risky than your existing setup. Moving to the cloud means your business can access the policies and controls of your cloud host, without paying for the cost of maintaining facilities and hardware.
According to the World Intellectual Property Association, most IP data breaches occur internally as a result of access and privilege abuse. The cloud allows you to create levels of security and encryption to better protect your IP from internal abuse.
A proper cloud management suite can provide data encryption, automated software updates, automated backup and data centre grade security without the cost of having a full-time IT department.
5. Improved CNC Machine quality
Quality and precision are everything when it comes to high end CNC machined parts. Even small variances in performance can cause manufacturing disruption and costly recalls.
Cloud technology is helping tool manufacturers more easily develop customer scripting and maintain a high level of accuracy, even on large batches.
It also helps enable virtual simulation of tooling and modelling which can reduce waste and speed up trials.
Cloud-connectivity is the next big step for CNC machines. By taking the leap your business can reap the time, security, cost and productivity rewards, not to mention increasing visibility over operations no matter where you are in the world.
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