Popular apps allow you to play games, listen to music or keep up with friends on social media.
The new mySAS app, available for both Apple and Android devices, does none of those. But Bob Lord has no doubt that it will make life easier for his customers at end-of-arm tooling company SAS Automation LLC.
Launched at K 2016 in Düsseldorf, Germany, by the Xenia, Ohio-based company, the application allows customers to track and order inventory and even virtually build tooling online. A third aspect, to remotely monitor performance of the tooling, is currently being developed for expected introduction in 2017.
SAS Automation makes a living by creating end-of-arm tooling for robots serving the plastics industry and is a strong believer in the future of Industry 4.0.
Here's how Lord, director of sales and marketing for SAS, sees it:
“Industry 4.0 is the connection of manufacturing to the internet to provide information on a real-time basis. So we've developed a series of tools. We call it mySAS ... that does service work for the end users and customers,” he said.
For inventory management, companies can use the application to keep track of their tooling inventories and automatically replenish as necessary.
“One of the big challenges for maintenance guys is that they don't have the product readily available when they need it to either maintain an existing tool or build a new one,” Lord said from the K show floor. “So what we've done is create this inventory management system.”
The application scans bar codes on a company's inventory drawers to allow the automatic reorder of parts.
“When the end user is ready, they can either send the order,” Lord said, or route it through its purchasing department that will then make the request. “It has the advantage of letting them see the parts they use on a regular basis. It gives them their volume pricing, and it just makes it a very easy system for customers.”
Ordering tooling is one thing, but the application also allows customers to virtually design end-of-arm tooling prior to ordering. The myToolBuilder aspect of the application works in conjunction with Fusion 360, a cloud-based computer assisted design tool from Autodesk Inc. Customers have access to all of SAS Automation's CAD models through the program.
“The end user can use that to assemble a tool, load his shopping car and purchase what he needs for that tool right online,” Lord said.
MyToolBuilder also allows the company to jump online with the customer to build a tool in a collaborative process, if necessary. Design time is cut drastically through myToolBuilder, Lord said.
SAS Automation has been working on the application for about a year.
“That is really the purpose of Industry 4.0, to connect the operation of machines to the people who need to monitor and maintain them, to clearly improve productivity, to drive up manufacturing throughput, minimize the amount of downtime that people have,” Lord said. “It's a big deal for us.”
The final portion of the app, called myEOAT and now under development, will allow tools and robots to provide real-time data and performance feedback.