New version of Virtual Factory? allows for a direct interface with any DNC-controlled machine, enabling automatic user notification and data logging in response to changing machine states
 

Virtual Factory? now features a programmable DNC interface that allows users to receive automatic notifications via mobile phone, e-mail, or status panel based upon changes in states of DNC-controlled machines. The interface extends the powerful "monitoring and control" features of Virtual Factory? to DNC software applications to allow direct access to machines' operational data.

December 17 2003--Virtual Factory?, the "monitoring and control" software solution from Orbit Technology Corporation, now features a direct DNC software interface. Users can access the customizable interface to set up states to which Virtual Factory? can respond with its advanced alarm, event triggering, automatic notification, and data logging features. A large number of features concerning vital project-related DNC information can also be configured and accessed using the new interface. See below for a description of states and features.

Examples of configurable state values are "Idle," "Working," "Alarm," and "Resetting." Machine states tend to change frequently as a machine is used over time. A state change detected by Virtual Factory? via the DNC interface can trigger an event to enable immediate user notification via mobile phone, e-mail, or status panel. Virtual Factory? also automatically logs all data concerning state changes for later analysis.

There are currently over 35 default features available, along with an unlimited number of possible custom features. Examples of features are project and programmer names, machine start and stop times, maximum and minimum values of X, Y, and Z cutting dimensions, tool names, and part numbers. The user can view feature values during a machine work process, and the user also can instruct Virtual Factory? to log particular feature values for later analysis.

The new Virtual Factory? DNC interface can be configured using either Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) or Component Object Model (COM) technologies, both of which are leading data exchange protocols. These allow Virtual Factory? to interface with DNC software written in any of the following languages: Visual Basic, C++, FoxPro, Delphi, and .NET.

About Virtual Factory?

Virtual Factory? gives its users the power to monitor and control any machine or device in their factory from any place with an Internet connection. It treats each real-world machine, device, and worker in the facility as a virtual object that can be viewed or controlled using an ergonomic user interface. Data constantly flows between Virtual Factory? and machines/devices/ workers in the factory in real time. The software can poll the current status of machines, PLCs, RTUs, HVAC systems, RFID tags and workers every few seconds and then keep track of data about their activities in a data log for future reference. The data can also be used to instantly trigger actions by other devices using the event feature. Notifications can be sent to managers via telephone, e-mail, or pager about real or potential problem situations. A recently added status panel, or andon, feature can also be used to notify users. This feature leverages the best in Just-in-Time (JIT) process technology to alert users of status changes via an attention-getting, colorful visual display on their computer monitors.

Virtual Factory? can also automatically carry out video monitoring and recording task. It can accommodate USB-based video cameras and has built-in video buffering capabilities. It can interface with any number of external software modules, including scheduling and nesting programs and DNC software. Virtual Factory? can be configured to interface with any digital or analog input/output hardware device.

Sample Applications:

,    Have Virtual Factory? automatically call your mobile phone to alert you that a machine scheduled to run until 3:30 a.m. actually stopped at 1:14 a.m.
,    Monitor the exact location of assets such as equipment and inventory items using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) scanners and tags.
,    Check in on remotely located workers via video link or digital monitoring device to be sure they are following proper safety procedures.
,    Run a report based on log data that lists all start/stop times for a particular machine over a two-week period in order to determine optimal usage patterns.
,    Automatically track and monitor the status of each stage of a laser cutting process for sheet metal - from nesting to scheduling to cutting - to ensure on-schedule operation.
,    Have Virtual Factory? send an alert to the mobile phone of security personnel whenever someone is detected entering your facility without the proper RFID-equipped badge, or if an RFID-equipped piece of equipment is detected leaving the grounds.
,    Program Virtual Factory? to e-mail the shop floor supervisor with an MPEG or AVI video file containing footage of the machine immediately before and after an unscheduled stoppage occurred.

For more information about how you can put Virtual Factory? to work for your company, please contact Jed Jones at e-mail protected from spam bots or at 1-714-427-0553. Visit us at www.otc.net.

About Orbit Technology Corporation

Founded by manufacturing automation experts in 1993, Orbit has made its name supplying factory automation, CAD/CAM and Web-based collaboration software solutions to its international base of clients.

Orbit employs a staff of highly educated, multi-lingual software solution experts who specialize in the manufacturing sector. The company's innovations continue to give its clients the power to access, manage, and control the data essential to their manufacturing success. Orbit maintains close ties with private industry and leading universities.

 
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