When computers are deployed on to CNC machining factory, they always need protecting, due to the non standard environment they are in. This is essential when thousands of pounds are being invested in to a factory information system. Factory information systems are used to record daily production figures, so that anyone in the management can see at a glance the stage any one order is at. Without these systems it would be down to a paper trail throughout the factory and if you ever have worked on a production line, you will know so many things can happen to paperwork.
This is why one engineering company have invested in large displays on the production line that show engineering drawings in full size and the operator can even zoom in on specific detail, this project had a return on its investment in 4 months, due to the amount of replacements drawing that did not need printing as well as the drawing offices time finding the drawings to reproduce. Factory information systems are used for multiple applications and can even be used for displaying new production practices, for example on how to work new CNC machinery, from one central location normally the head office, a tutorial can be broadcast throughout the company in it’s global locations so every one is up to speed with the operation of the new machine.
So what is needed?
Well firstly a data network on the production floor, this can be either wireless, however this can be interrupted by EMC waves, so the majority of networks use shielded twisted pair, (FTP also called foiled, twisted pair) Cat 5 cables. Once this is fitted the computers need to be housed in a protective case, these cases can either be for a PC based solution or a thin client solution. Another solution is a PC enclosure.