Put Machining Productivity in the Fast Lane with Athena

Feb 9, 2022

Are you looking down the road at your company’s future and seeing nothing but roadblocks? You’re not alone. COVID, sluggish supply chains and a skilled labor shortage are just a few of the obstacles in the way of anyone trying to build a business in today’s economy. Whether you’re a major manufacturer or a small job shop turning out precision parts, this is no time to leave anything on the table when it comes to increasing productivity. That’s why we suggest having Athena ride shotgun in the front seat of your operation.

Imagine having Mario Andretti sitting in your passenger seat giving you racing tips as you drive across the Nevada desert or on the Autobahn. Do you think you would go faster? Pretty sure that’s a big “yes.” Athena does the same thing on your shop floor, providing machining tips as the operator sets up and runs a job. Do you think they would go faster? Same answer.

Let’s take a look at a few of the ways that Athena can break through roadblocks and give your operators a performance tune-up using the same techniques as professional racing teams.

Driver input

Race car drivers take years to memorize every curve on each track. Rookie drivers are assigned a mentor to instruct them on what they’ve learned through experience on a particular course and speed up the learning curve (literally).

As a digital assistant, Athena was specifically designed to be an easy-to-use interface between manufacturing machines and humans. She acts as a mentor who can make a big difference when a rookie is driving your expensive equipment. Whether on the track or in the shop, “crash” is not a word you want to hear.

Setup

Racing teams maintain records obtained from on-board telemetry so they know tire pressures, springs, wing angle, etc. to use for the optimal car setup for each track. Each member of the crew receives documentation on the data for their area of responsibility.

Best practices, settings, instructions and up-to-date job information are stored in Athena’s memory so each job setup can be standardized. She makes this knowledge immediately accessible to a broad range of people who need it (management, supervisors, set-up personnel, operators of all skill levels). Tribal knowledge is stored for new generations of workers, not lost when a key operator walks out the door.

Instant technical assistance

During a race, technicians in the pits can advise the driver of possible actions to take in the cockpit to correct issues on an ill-handling car, based on the data from the on-board telemetry.

While data is being generated for analysis by management, Athena is also providing the operator with whatever information they need to complete the immediate task at hand, including proper tooling, how-to instructions, videos and checklists.

Crash avoidance

The pit crew can also tell if the car cannot be adjusted in the cockpit and advise the driver to drive into the pits before a wreck is caused due to a mechanical failure.

Data being collected from a monitored machine component, such as a spindle, may contain values that show vibration, heat, noise, etc. Athena can take that data and provide it in a usable format that can be readily analyzed. The data might show that maintenance is required to avoid mechanical failure. The same holds true for using alerts to help you avoid crashes caused by many other types of errors and unplanned conditions. Athena can give you a heads up by time interval, number of parts and more.

Equipment management

Tire, brakes and fuel management can win races. Carefully monitoring these components via telemetry data allows a driver to go the distance.

Athena can help notify an operator how much life is left on a tool, or whether it needs to be changed for production to continue without a failure.

Victory lane

Making your company grow when facing the challenges of today’s business environment can be daunting. Formula One, IndyCar and NASCAR teams improve their chances of taking the checkered flag by giving their drivers the advantage of digital technology. It stands to reason that the drivers of your equipment could benefit from having Athena on their crew. Contact Us if you’d like to learn more.

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