Production monitoring solutions
EasyCount provides scalable solutions for production monitoring. The scalability makes it possible to start with a single machine and expand the installation with more machines when needed. Since our solutions are scalable, the investments will follow the demands for the production monitoring within the company. No big initial investments are needed.
Our solutions are easy to install and operate, so no experts are needed. Normally the EasyCount equipment is installed by the local service and maintenance teams in the factories.
All our solutions follow the same setup in hardware and software. Here below is a description of the different main parts in a standard EasyCount solution.
Basic concept of an EasyCount installation
All EasyCount solutions uses computers to measure the production output from the machines. The complete standard setup looks like this:
- external mounted sensor
- “heartbeat” output from machine
- receives sensor data
- sends data to server
- shows online data on monitor
- stores all data in a database
- handles views on monitors
- statistics and analysis
- Monitor Controller
- mounted anywhere
- shows online data on monitor
- Data analysis
- production management
- optimize output from machines
- reporting to management
- External data access
- interface to ERP system
- access to data for analysis
When the machine is producing, a sensor on the machine will send pulses to the counter. Every minute the counter sends the registrations to the server. Here all data in the production monitoring system will be updated.
Based on the data from the machines is it possible to calculate some vital production parameters:
- quantity (output)
- speed (parts/minute)
- total production time
- stop time
The data and results are available immediately on the server, when they are received from the machines. And these results can be monitored online in different places of the factory. When a Cloud server is used for the solution, data will be available everywhere in the World where there is an Internet connection.
Our solutions have an interface for other software systems (API). By using this API interface the real-time information from EasyCount can be combined with ex. the ERP systems. In this way the planned orders can be compared with the actual results in from the production. This provide some valuable information in the process of optimizing the output from the production.
Sensor – the link between machine and counter
To measure the output from a machine we need a signal when the machine is producing.
Most machines have a computer installed, that controls the functionality of the machine. It can be a challenge to retrieve a run signal from this machine controller. Some machines do not have this the kind of run signal. And some machine manufacturer don’t want to provide the signal.
Therefore an EasyCount solution uses a separate sensor mounted somewhere in the machine where the output can be measured. In this way no interface with the machine controller is needed. And by using a separate sensor the EasyCount system can be installed on all types of machines.
The sensor is connected to the counter. When the machines is producing, the signal from the sensor is registered by the by counter. This is the measurement of the output from the machine. Every minute the counter sends the registrations to the server, where it is saved into a database.
Here are some examples of using the same sensor in different setups:
Watch sensor in action. See the blink for every rotation.
Counter – read sensor data and report to server and monitor
The counter is a basic part in all EasyCount solutions. The counter registers the signals from the machine and sends the information to the server for storage in the database.
Our counters are designed for industrial environments and very easy to install. They are shipped as ‘plug-and-count’. This means, that the setup of the counter is pre-configured and ready for sending data to the server. So when the counter and sensor have been installed, the data from the machine will be online within few minutes. The installation has following steps:
- mount the counter (typical near the machine)
- connect the counter to the network in the factory
- mount the sensor on the machine for measuring the production output
- connect the sensor to the counter
- power on the counter
- verify that the signal indicator on the counter flashes when the machine is producing
- wait a few minutes and you have you first live data from the machine !
The counter has a standard HDMI output for a monitor. The counter can be setup to show production information on this monitor, so the operators of the machine can see how the machine is performing.
The installation of the monitor is also easy to do. A standard HDMI cable is used to connect the monitor to the counter. If the monitor should be placed in a long distance from the counter, special active HDMI cables can be used.
The counter has a view sequencer. This makes is possible to switch between up to four different views. This could be production information, general company information etc.
Server – save information in database for analysis and monitoring
When the counter has collected the production information from the machines, this will be sent to a central server.
When the server receives the information from the counter, this will be stored into a database. The data from the counters are reported every minute, so the database contains real-time data.
The server software has an API – Application Programming Interface. This API makes it possible on exchange data with the EasyCount system. It is possible to read out all data from the machines and use them together with other IT systems in the company. This could be the ERP system, maintenance systems etc.
The API can be used together with ex. Microsoft Excel. Excel has some great features for showing charts, tables etc. Together with the data from the database, valuable reporting for machines and their performance can be created.
We use Cloud technology for the servers. These severs are available in the Internet and they are accessible from anywhere in the world.
There are different types of server solutions:
- Cloud solution hosted by EasyCount
- Cloud solution, where the customer has its own setup in the Cloud
- “on-prem” solution, where the customer has its own servers inside the company IT infrastructure
The EasyCount solution is easy to move. So it is possible to start by using a hosted solution, where EasyCount provides the server and then move to another server later on.
By using a hosted server “time-to-data” it short, since everything is ready and data will be available online a few minutes after the counter has been connected to the network.
Monitor controller – production information everywhere
Our counters have an output for a monitor, so production information can be visualized for the machine operators in the production. But the counters have only a single output for a monitor and sometimes there are other places, when production monitoring can we interesting:
- production planning office (show actual machine status – witch machines are producing)
- maintenance departments (stop statistics)
- canteen (eveyone can see, how the current situation is)
- …. and other places
Our monitor controller ECMC2 is a computer, that controls a monitor. The device can be installed where the production monitoring is needed. And the device is connected to the network, so the online data from the server can be shown.
There is an build-in sequencer, where 4 different views can be defined. The monitor controller will switch automatically between the different views.
Most of our customers uses a standard Smart TV as monitor. They are not expensive and the life time is fine.
System configuration, data analysis and production monitoring
The EasyCount solution comes with a software package for managing the whole installation. This is the EasyCount Web Portal.
This WEB portal is operated by a standard WEB browser (ex. Edge, Google Chrome, Firefox etc.). No other software is needed to install.
Here is a list of some features in the standard solution:
- machine overview (which machines are currently producing and how fast)
- production output monitoring (show produced output in different time intervals)
- availability reports (run and stop periods in different time intervals)
- configuration of EasyCount devices (counters, monitor controllers etc.)
- user setup (assign user rights in the system)
As a part of the EasyCount solution we provide some Excel templates for data retrieval and analysis. This is an Excel workbook, where some macros have been programmed, so data can be read out from the database. These templates can freely be used by our customers for generating other kinds of reporting.
API – external access and system integration
In some company setups the EasyCount solution works as a stand-alone IT-system. But in most cases the EasyCount solution becomes a part of a bigger IT-solution and therefore it is required, that some kind of interfacing is established between these systems.
Many companies have an ERP system for managing the whole business with finance, customers, orders, inventory etc. When companies invest in an EasyCount solution, a new dimension is added: the data from the real production.
When the real production data are integrated together with the planned production data, a new tool for comparison is available. Now is it possible to validate the planned orders with the real produced orders. EasyCount data contain information about produced output, machine speeds, SETUP/RUN/STOP times. By using this new information a better prediction of the production orders duration and costs can be calculated.
In order to integrate the EasyCount solution with other IT systems, we have designed an interface – an API (Application Programming Interface). This is a standard way of exchanging data between IT systems.
We interface the EasyCount solution to some of the biggest ERP systems like Microsoft Business Central and Microsoft Navision.
We also interface to other type of ERP and production systems, that customers have designed them selves.