CHICAGO — Mascon Products Division debuted its Advanced Integrated Manufacturing Software Version 5.0 for plastics processors at Plastics USA in Chicago.
New features include tools for improved communication, new scheduling capabilities and a comprehensive preventive maintenance module.
The firm plans to retrofit existing customers' computers with the updated version and train employees to use it. Depending on the number of modules purchased, the number of users and other factors, AIMS costs $20,000-$125,000.
AIMS added supports for Microsoft SQLServer, a relational database, and MS Exchange, a product designed to enhance communication among work groups.
``Windows NT is rapidly becoming the operating system of choice in midsize companies, and SQLServer is optimized for Windows NT,'' said Amir Raza, general manager. ``Compatibility at the individual desktop is the key for AIMS to be effective in integrating information flow within an organization. Since Microsoft has the lion's share of most desktops, the decision to add support for MS SQLServer and MS Exchange, in addition to the existing AIMS data exchange capabilities with most MS Office applications, makes us very compatible with almost everything you have on your desktop.''
Mascon's AutoMail can send a message automatically to any e-mail address whenever a triggering event occurs. For instance, as soon as a parts shipment is logged as complete, AutoMail can send an e-mail, including purchase order number, carrier name, number of packages and other information, to the customer's purchasing agent, account salesman or company president.
Maintenance management allows users to program preventive maintenance schedules into the AIMS system and track actual maintenance performed. The system tracks primary machinery, auxiliary equipment or any other plant system, such as air conditioning. In addition, the new function automatically incorporates scheduled maintenance into production schedules.
``The biggest disadvantage of stand-alone production monitoring systems is that [they do] not provide for interaction with the production schedule,'' Raza said.
Other features include:
After a customer returns parts and a quality-control analysis identifies the root problem, AIMS can automate creation and distribution of corrective action reports, which prescribe the action required to prevent the problem from recurring.
Labor planning enables the user to define crew sizes for each production function. By correlating that information with the production schedule, the system is able to provide an estimate of short- and long-term labor needs.
AIMS automatically will generate a work order when a production trigger is reached. The work order is integrated with inventory or shipping and an updated production schedule.
The unit can specify a second-choice machine to run the same job if the primary processing machine already is in use.
Mascon of Schaumburg, Ill., employs more than 200 worldwide.
Plastics USA was held Oct. 6-8.