CHICAGO (June 27, 2:55 p.m. EDT) — IQMS Corp.'s latest product is so high-tech that the company cannot sell it in China.
The computer chips and software that are part of the network technology built into the company's new wireless Production Monitoring System have potential applications in defense, meaning that the U.S. government limits where the company can sell the system.
But throughout most of the world, the wireless system introduced at NPE 2006 allows remote monitoring of molding machines in real time and saves the $500 cost of hard wiring those machines into the network, said President and Chief Executive Officer Randy Flamm.
Each wireless box costs $300, saving molders $200 per press, which adds up over a global press fleet, Flamm said during a June 19 interview at NPE.
IQMS of Paso Robles, Calif., has its hard-wired monitoring system in use within 750 plants globally. Manufacturers and managers can access information about what is running in each machine and if the machine is operating within normal guidelines.
IQMS teamed with chip supplier Crossbow Technology Inc. to create the wireless version of its system. The wireless components use a mesh network technology, which prevents glitches in communication by allowing the sensor on one machine to access others around it, to link into the central database, essentially bouncing the signal until it finds a clear path — while still maintaining speed needed to collect the data in real time.
Molders also can shift presses and adjust plant floor layout more easily if they do not have to rewire the network, he said.