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Swiss sheet metalworking machinery manufacturer, Bystronic, has introduced a new app that monitors in real time all processes taking place within its laser cutting machines, press brakes and water jet cutting machines. Called ByCockpit, the software fits neatly with the digital networking requirements of Industry 4.0. It evaluates the collected data and generates status reports, allowing factory output to be optimised.

During its development, Bystronic’s IT specialists asked a number of companies how they retrieve information from their sheet metalworking machines to analyse and improve their production. Most said that extracting data and subsequently translating it into usable information is very time consuming. Often, results were only available infrequently, for example at the end of the month or even once per quarter, rendering the information virtually useless for process optimisation.

Running on a laptop, smartphone or tablet, ByCockpit generates reports while the machines are producing parts, providing immediate feedback so that action can be taken, if necessary. One report is the ‘sunburst’ view, which displays the status of the factory at a glance. Green bars indicate machines that are currently in operation, while a red bar signifies idle time. A blue bar denotes machines that are connected to an assembly line.

A tap on the screen switches the app from the sunburst view to, for example, the cutting overview for a ByStar Fiber. Six windows open to provide information about the laser cutting process. The status window shows the laser power output in kilowatts, the total operating hours of the machine and whether maintenance is due.

The performance window quantifies how efficiently the ByStar Fiber’s production potential is being utilised, making it easy to see if processes are not running optimally. Maybe there were idle times, the target number of parts was not produced in the scheduled time, or the parts did not meet the required quality standard. If so, other windows show where the problem lies.

The material performance window shows how many usable parts have been cut using the ByStar Fiber and the amount of waste. The machine availability window breaks down the machine’s run times, idle times and changeover times. If idle times are too long, another window provides information about the cause. Did the ByStar Fiber have to wait too long for raw metal sheets, or did parts that were not removed fast enough block the machine’s shuttle table?

The bending symbol is tapped to monitor press brake performance, which displays different windows to provide the information. For example, the ratio between the parts produced and the number of tool changes on a Bystronic Xpert press brake is an important parameter. If the number of tool changes is too high, overall production time increases, affecting productivity. All this information is provided in the performance window.

Tapping on the warehouse symbol reveals how many tons of aluminum, stainless steel, mild steel, copper or other materials are in stock, enabling timely reordering. ByCockpit also calculates the purchase value of the raw materials.

A menu of around 30 windows can be dragged, dropped and rescaled by the user so that the most appropriate modes are displayed to provide the best possible overview of a factory. The windows dynamically adapt to suit the size of the device’s screen.

All Bystronic’s latest-generation machines are ready to be connected to ByCockpit. A connectivity kit is installed as a gateway to each machine, which also acts as a firewall. Via this connection, machine data is collected, encrypted and sent to a cloud server. The highest standards of security ensure that no conclusions can be drawn in the cloud about a user’s data. It is analysed and processed so that it can be visualised only in the customer’s ByCockpit-enabled devices.

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