4 Ways to Drive Factory Efficiency with Robot Downtime Reporting

Connecting your production line equipment to the network may be the key to unlocking factory efficiency. If done properly, your data will remain secure and help reduce cycle time, minimize expected downtime, or better yet – predict failures before they happen. Robot downtime reporting provides a simple way of delivering on these goals.

Start by gaining an understanding of what’s happening on a daily basis. Combine that with tools that help you analyze trends and diagnose and recover from failures quickly, even when you’re not on the factory floor.

We’ll show you how to:

  • Monitor your production line in real time
  • Analyze the cause of downtime
  • Diagnose and recover from problems quickly
  • Predict failures before they happen
  • Secure your infrastructure

Monitor your production line in real time

Alarms, faults, program changes, and unexpected outages happen throughout each shift. Keeping track of what is going on can be difficult, especially across a large number of automation cells.

Monitor program status and receive alerts when they occur

By communicating with the robot controller and PLC, these changes should be monitored and the urgent information sent to you via text or email, allowing you to react quickly.

Be notified immediately when there are alarms that cause downtime or program changes that may go unnoticed

Analyze the cause of downtime

Review shift reports nightly and weekly to identify the leading cause of downtime. Track unexpected failures as well as intentional wait time to understand where the most significant areas for improvement are.

By quantifying the efficiency of your production line, you’re able to track improvements over time.

Track when program changes occur in addition to downtime events

Diagnose and recover from problems quickly

When issues inevitably arise, it’s important to be able to remotely troubleshoot issues and diagnose the root cause. Without access to the HMI, PLC, or robot controller, this may be a difficult thing to do.

As a first step after receiving a notification that something has occurred, you should review the robot log history to see what led to the failure:

If more detail is needed, review the files directly on the robot controller:

Finally, if you need the equivalent of being on the factory floor, use VNC to remotely view HMI screens, or VPN to use PLC management software from your PC to diagnose problems as if you were connected to the local network.

Tend’s edge device includes functionality to support remote troubleshooting

Predict failure before it happens

In some cases it’s possible to identify anomalies in machine or robot data that may indicate the onset of a problem. By monitoring motor current, temperature, and other metrics, variations can be detected based on historical averages. If the trend increases by a signficant amount over time, you may have a mechanical problem surfacing that can be corrected before it fails unexpectedly.

Analyze the health of your robots over time to predict potential issues before they cause unexpected downtime

Be sure to secure your infrastructure

As with anything connected to your network, devices must be secure so that they do not create an unwanted entrypoint into your factory. This can be done in part by preventing any inbound connections through your firewall to a device, and restricting the servers that the device can communicate with.

In addition, you should try to keep all of your factory data within your factory. Use edge devices that store data locally rather than sending it all to the cloud.

When using VPN access, be sure to retain strict control over who is authorized to use the service, and disable it whenever not in use.

All of these security measures are covered with the Tend edge device as a standard requirement for our customers.

For a demo of how Tend can help you drive factory efficiency using robot downtime reporting, contact us!

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