Realtime Machine-Performance Communication from Equipment to Human

February 1, 2017

At the Komatsu booth, MetalForming spied the Squeaks IIoT messaging platform from iGear, Louisville, KY, used to ‘squeak’ (think Tweet) real-time press performance, raw-material needs or assistance requests to human supervisors equipped with Apple watches. The same technology was on display on a robotic-welding system at the Genesis Systems Group booth.

IGear, a developer of supply-chain and smart-manufacturing solutions, showcased the Squeaks technology, which ran live at each of the booths. In practice, robotic systems and presses, along with other plant-floor machinery, squeak when raw material, such as welding wire, is running low or out; when help is needed—i.e., requests for engineering and maintenance support; to relay real-time performance information such as: strokes per minute, die height, tonnage, production target and pieces produced; to communicate operation modes—running, idle, faulted; and in instances of other critical alerts, such as die change, e-stops and robot collisions.

Getting machines and robots to be team players and communicate effectively with their human manufacturing-floor stewards is essential as the demand for industrial robots has accelerated considerably due to the ongoing trend toward automation and the continued innovative technical improvements in industrial robots, explain iGear officials.

Squeaks is a mobile-first industrial messaging app that facilitates rapid decision-making, and closed-loop collaboration, with machines as part of the conversation. It integrates messaging across machines and personnel, and enables algorithms, rules and analysis to be applied across multiple data environments to formulate insights and prescriptive actions. This keeps front-line workers and management in the know on events driven by both simple conditional alerts and complex event triggers, say company officials, and enables workers to respond quickly to broaden the understanding of an event root cause, and validate ownership and closure, with timestamps.

“We believe the true power of IIoT messaging comes from a combination of generating insightful data from industrial equipment, and its ability to share this data among selected individuals, via mobile technology, to ensure clarity, ownership, accountability and interaction,” says Don Korfhage, IGear president and CEO. “When people and machines communicate as one and in real-time, manufacturers benefit from: improved uptime and overall equipment effectiveness; Six-Sigma product quality resulting in less scrap and rework: lower operating costs (personnel, material management and flow, floor-space utilization); and continuous improvement and heightened workforce engagement.



Genesis Systems Group:

Industry-Related Terms: Die, Scrap
View Glossary of Metalforming Terms


See also: Genesis Systems Group, Komatsu America Industries, LLC Press Technology Division

Technologies: Management, Sensing/Electronics/IOT


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