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Machine data collection and shop floor data collection in comparison

Published: · Last updated: · 8 min reading time

Machine data collection is used to ensure that progress towards complete digitalization is successful. Machines that are networked with each other record, store and evaluate data.

Machine data collection is, therefore, one of the core components in Industry 4.0. In the digital age, where machines are networked with each other, a vast amount of data from the devices is evaluated and visualized, and capacities that were previously not used can be better recognized and tapped.

The data obtained from machine data acquisition can be used and processed for various areas of application:

  • Machine control:They serve as parameters for controlling the machines
  • Production planning:Production orders are planned and controlled with them. This is done, for example, by commissioning work in a time window that would otherwise be unproductive
  • Process optimization:The data serve as a basis for the statistical regulation of processes. For example, machine running times are displayed visually to show productivity or utilization graphically

Machine data acquisition (MDA), which automatically collects information and processes it in real-time, is the foundation for effective production in the context of an intelligent factory.

MDA is one of the components of production data acquisition (PDA). Shop floor data collection is an umbrella term for collecting data and actual conditions as well as processes within a company. Machine data collection is the data source for shop floor data collection. It is used for various purposes, such as controlling processes through automatic and statistical methods or planning and controlling orders from production.

Machine data collection (MDC for short) digitally connects machines, production technology, and data processing (EDP) with each other.

It is, therefore, the process of recording information related to production and manufacturing:

  • to record,
  • store, and
  • make it available

With the digital capture of data, the first step is taken towards digitalizing the entire production process. As the information is automatically collected, stored, and made available, the manufacturing processes become transparent.

What is shop floor data collection?

Production data acquisition (PDA) records and collects actual data. This is done through the states and processes that take place in a company. Especially for companies in the manufacturing sector, it is crucial to have up-to-date production data acquisition to be competitive. PDA provides essential information for production planning and control.

How shop floor data collection works in production

With the help of shop floor data collection, manufacturing companies take a decisive step towards digital transformation in the age of Industry 4.0. The manufacturing company obtains a tangible construct of production only when factual data is available that can be relied on. Shop floor data collection is also the starting point for automating production planning and control.

Since digitalization is advancing more and more and Industry 4.0 is the future, intelligent production data acquisition systems that automatically record production data in real-time are playing an increasingly important role in companies.

What kind of operational data is there?

A distinction is made between organisational and technical operational data.

What are the tasks and objectives of shop floor data collection?

The most important task of shop floor data collection is to record technical and organisational data. This leads to a transparent overview of the information provided. The PDA is intended to show costs incurred, services rendered, and consumption of resources. Based on this, the PDA leads to important conclusions regarding production planning and control.

The main objective of PDA is to create the ideal data basis for production optimization.

What are the advantages of shop floor data collection?

Production data acquisition, if implemented consistently, ensures that processes run more efficiently in the long term and costs are reduced. This results in companies remaining competitive in the long run.

The benefits include:

  • All operating data is displayed transparently and clearly
  • Faults are reported in real time
  • Risks are minimized
  • Man and machine are used optimally
  • Orders can be better calculated
  • By comparing target and actual data, it becomes clear where there is potential and weaknesses
  • Customer satisfaction increases because there is more reliable information on deadlines and time limits
  • Processes are continuously optimized, due to the current data collected by the PDA. Resources are better utilized and productivity increases. As a result, the company can react more quickly and gain a competitive advantage.

Difference between machine data collection and shop floor data collection

With machine data collection (MDC), information is primarily collected on production resources within production.

In contrast to MDC, Production data acquisition (PDA), as the name suggests, collects all possible data from the entire plant. MDC therefore concentrates more on the production area and PDA on the entire operation. With PDA, data on the order, such as the material flow, is primarily recorded. So-called PDA terminals are used to see where and when which order is being processed.

Machine data collection is about generating and passing on ACTUAL data that is relevant to machines and production. Therefore, it is the opposite of order data, which only has the end product in mind and logs the TARGET status, which is the case with shop floor data collection.

For full transparency of processes in a company, it makes sense to use both shop floor data collection and machine data collection. For this purpose, the MDC is used to record the use of resources, and the PDA is used to record the material flow as well as the order situation. Together, they form an unbeatable combination for digitizing all processes in a company and recording them in an Industry 4.0-compliant manner.

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What are the goals of machine data acquisition?

The goals of MDC include:

  • Analyze manufacturing processes
  • Optimize machine running times
  • Evaluate machine downtimes
  • In the event of machine malfunctions, report this to the responsible person via a message, for example, by SMS or e-mail.
  • Collect data for the continuous improvement process

How is machine data collection carried out?

Ideally, the data is transferred from the machine’s control system. This can be done, for example, via a data logger or the OPC architecture. A microcontroller in the machine control or a separate unit with connected sensors is required for the data to be processed automatically. Modern machines usually already have a process-controlled unit that uses detailed information. Special interfaces and software then ensure that the data is forwarded to an ERP, APS, or MES system.

These systems use the data received from the machines to display online, for example, where the products are currently located in production and the current status of production. The combination between the machine data collection and an ERP, APS, or MES system ensures high-quality planning and control. The information now obtained enables the company to draw conclusions about set-up times and throughput times and reduce them if necessary. In addition, the company creates the possibility to reduce half-finished parts in production. This approach has a direct impact on the company’s tied-up capital. On-time delivery to meet delivery deadlines is greatly improved.

The use of machine data is a key factor in quality assurance in production. The use of machine data also makes it possible to increase performance within production. This significantly increases the competitiveness of a company. This can be measured, for example, by the overall equipment effectiveness (OEE).

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