FMS Insight Mazak Palletech Integration

FMS Insight works with all Palletech cell controller versions from Mazak: Version E, Web Version, and Smooth PMC. FMS Insight can read all events from the cell controller and can also edit almost all the data in the cell controller.

Open Database Kit

To facilitate the communication between FMS Insight and the Mazak cell controller, you must acquire a program called "Mazak Open Database Kit". This is a software program developed by Mazak which allows safe access to the data inside the cell controller. Please contact your Mazak representative and ask to obtain "Open Database Kit" that matches the specific cell controller (Version E, Web, or Smooth PMC).

Enable Log CSV

For Mazak Web and Mazak Smooth PMC, you must enable a setting in the Mazak cell controller which will cause the Mazak cell controller to create log files of all events (pallet movements, machine cycles, etc.) in the c:\Mazak\FMS\Log directory. Once enabled, FMS Insight will automatically find any log entries from this directory.

To enable, go to the c:\Mazak\FMS directory. Rename the file log-parameters.ini.sample to log-parameters.ini and restart the Mazak Palletech software. The log-parameters.ini file contains settings for the path to use and how often to delete, but FMS Insight works fine with the default settings. If you want, you can change the log directory in log-parameters.ini and then specify the same folder in the FMS Insight server configuration file.

Load Instructions

On Version E and MazakWeb, one parameter must be changed. If you are using Mazak Smooth PMC, this step can be skipped! Open the Mazak Palletech software, go to the parameter edit screen, select X, and scroll to the setting X-31. Set the X-31 setting from 0 to 1. This setting will cause CSV files describing the current load and unload operation at the load station to be output to the c:\Mazak\FMS\LDS directory. FMS Insight monitors this directory and uses the CSV files to display the parts being loaded and unloaded from each pallet at the load station.

Simulation Lab

The Mazak Palletech cell controller software has a great ability to be run in a simulation mode without any machines or carts attached. In this mode, the Mazak cell controller software has all features active but instead of sending commands to the actual machines and carts, just simulates their operation.

We recommend that you set up what we call a simulation lab, which consists of two computers in an office. One computer will run the Mazak cell controller software in simulation mode, Open Database Kit, and the FMS Insight server. The second computer will run a browser and access the FMS Insight client. This mimics the actual layout in operations, where the cell controller computer runs Open Database Kit and the FMS Insight server and a separate computer on the factory floor or in the office runs the client views.

A simulation lab allows testing, training, and experimentation. You can set up some dummy orders, create a schedule, copy the schedule into the Mazak cell controller, run the schedule inside the Mazak cell controller, see the assigned serial numbers, view inspection decisions, and examine efficiency reports of cell operations, all without impacting the real system.

The simulation lab is also great for training before the machines are even installed, testing out new scheduling or inspection signaling techniques, or training new operators and managers.

Starting Offset and Decrement Priority

The Mazak config.ini contains a setting Use Starting Offset which control how new schedules are added into the cell controller.

When Use Starting Offset is enabled, new Mazak schedules will be created with a "Due Date" and "Priority" field based on the simulation's prediction of its actual start time. If disabled, a due date of January 1, 2008 and priority of 91 is used for all Mazak schedules, effectively disabling the use of due dates. Since Mazak uses due dates to decide which part or pallet to start producing first, due dates can help smooth production flow.

The main downside to using due dates and priorities is that Mazak will empty out a pallet before switching schedules. For example, consider a situation where you have a part PPP with two processes and a fixture which can hold one process 1 material and one process 2 material. Also, consider there are two schedules for part PPP; a schedule AAA for today's production and a schedule BBB for tomorrow's production. Say that the AAA and BBB schedules have different due dates (say AAA has the earlier due date). Then Mazak will first run the entire AAA schedule. In particular, the very last cycle of AAA will run with a process 2 part and an empty process 1 location. Instead, if the due dates of AAA and BBB are the same, Mazak will not empty out the pallet and instead on the very last cycle of AAA in the process 2 location will add the very first cycle of BBB in the process 1 location.

In our opinion, due dates and priorities should be enabled; the pallet running empty is not typically that big of a deal. The primary goal of the system is to keep the machines busy and a pallet with an empty location will return to the load station after cutting just the material on the pallet (as long as each process has a separate program). This increases slightly the burden on the cart and load station, but these are not the bottleneck and there should be enough work in the system to keep the machines busy. In addition, occasionally a pallet will empty out in any case because today's schedule had a limited quantity to allow a different part some time on the machines. Finally, occasionally emptying out a pallet seems to help tremendously with preventing traffic jams.

Finally, when FMS Insight adds a new day's schedule into the cell controller, then FMS Insight will first decrement the priority on all existing uncompleted schedules. Since each day a new schedule is downloaded, if priorities of existing schedules are first decrement then any unfinished work from the previous day gains higher priority and will finish before today's schedule starts.

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