The complexity of most ERP or MES software does a lot to put many SMEs off because of how difficult they are to integrate. Being a test client integrating the first MT-LINKi software package in Switzerland did nothing to discourage the managers at CYBERIS SA; quite the opposite in fact. “The price of the software was very affordable (CHF 12,000.00 for 100 machines, editor's note), enabling us to try it without any risk to the business,” confirmed Patrick Frund. “And the aim at CYBERIS SA is to pioneer production methods,” added Christian Zanetta. Installed in production for just 40 days, the data management software was already connected to 95% of the production machines at the time of our visit.
The person responsible for this implementation was Gaëtan Sprunger, who emphasised how easy it was to install and implement the software: “All our machines, or nearly all of them, are fitted with FANUC CNC. All we needed was a physical network connection on the CNC to connect it to the software, like a plug-and-play system,” he explained. Thanks to the skills of the young IT specialist and the user-friendliness of the MT-Linkisystem, training and support offered by FANUC Switzerland were not needed for implementation. The only difficulties came from in-house software for managing the data of certain machines, but they have been resolved. The data gathered by MT-LINKi on the machine tools, robots and other numerically controlled equipment are collected using the FOCAS protocol on a dedicated PC. This data is accessible in its raw form, or in the form of tables and graphs, on any tablet or smartphone with authorised access, all thanks to Internet technology. In the workshop, a giant screen directly informs the machine regulators of the industrial reality achieved by collecting and analysing this data.
MT-LINKi is already making us money
After exchanging the usual pleasantries, these were Christian Zanetta's first words when we met on-site at CYBERIS SA. “Workshop personnel were quick to see the positives in using MT-LINKi,” stated Christian Zanetta. “Greater visibility of the risks of breakage and loss of precious materials, the true measure of product quality and much simpler overnight monitoring have all resulted in the team's acceptance of the software,” he added. The identification of causes of breakdowns, machine downtime and other malfunctions has swiftly enabled improved streamlining of solutions. The production manager estimates an increase in machine turnaround time of an additional 5% since the system was implemented. “An increase in turnaround time has a direct impact on machine profitability. With the corrective action permitted by the data analysis, the return on investment is already a reality,” confirmed Christian Zanetta. “What’s more, the openness of the MT-LINKi software will enable an efficient connection with our ERP system, whilst retaining significant ease of use,” assured Gaëtan Sprunger. CYBERIS SA is therefore already able to collect and analyse a large amount of machine data, enabling immediate corrective actions. Some of the information is also collected for subsequent analysis in the longer term. Predictive maintenance activities will benefit from this, gradually superseding corrective maintenance - the source of costly machine downtime.
Additional control and security - promising prospects of expansion
“The MT-LINKi software is perfectly in tune with our business philosophy,” emphasised Christian Zanetta. “It enables us to progress to Industry 4.0, whilst valuing people, with a software tool that is easy for everyone to assimilate.” Since the early days, the workshop professionals have been invited to take time to get to grips with the software. FANUC Switzerland offers a day of training to facilitate this integration, but that wasn’t necessary for CYBERIS SA. “In time, everyone will have their own support for monitoring their machine data,” stated Christian Zanetta. The people responsible for this implementation are also emphasising data security, protected by singular wired transmission. The overall investment was less than CHF 20,000, taking account of material recycling and existing connections. “No cloud, no hacking possible, no network breakdown, no stalling for the business, quick and easy installation, an effective tool for a very reasonable price, what more could you ask for moving into the age of 4.0?” concluded Christian Zanetta. “Besides, we are not asking for anything more than a new installation, because we anticipate investing in MT-LINKi at PIBOR ISO SA from 2022,” announced Patrick Frund, just as we were about to leave. For FANUC Switzerland, this pilot with the first test client has been much more than a validation of the software’s qualities; it has also been a veritable leap for the client towards Industry 4.0. That was the objective that the developers hoped to achieve.
Author Michel Pech