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FSG Tool & Die Ltd Toolroom goes Wireless

Llantrisant-based FSG Tool & Die is taking advantage of yet another advance in technology, with the implementation of a wireless communications system for its turning, CNC grinding and high-speed CNC machining sections.

FSG MD, Gareth Jenkins, had been considering installing a wireless communication system for key machines in the toolroom for some while, and the company's recent relocation to new premises proved to be an ideal spur to action. It was essential, during the move, to create the minimum disruption to production and the CNC machines needed to be working as soon as they were installed in the new factory, with no downtime whatsoever. In order to ensure that all went smoothly, FSG called on the services and expertise of DNC specialists J2com Ltd.

Jeremy Sobey of J2com takes up the story; "We were asked to prepare proposals for both cabled and wireless installations, clearly detailing the benefits of each, so that FSG could select the most appropriate solution. While the cabled solution was cheaper initially, it was clear that, in the longer-term, the wireless solution would provide greater cost savings because of the flexibility to move CNC machines about the shop-floor, commission and run jobs again, without the need to re-cable. There would also be less machining downtime."

The installation at FSG consists of wireless serial device port servers for the turning and grinding machines, while the high speed machines utilise Ethernet wireless clients. The maximum distance of 100m from the Wireless Access Point to the CNC machine (depending on obstacles) gives plenty of opportunity to reconfigure the toolroom to accommodate new CNC machines at a later date. An additional benefit of the new system is that data can be stored in a more easily controlled way, as a central database now looks after all three machining sections on one server.

The installation and implementation was timed to suit the relocation, with some of the equipment being tested while the CNC machines were still in their original locations and then going live as they were moved into the new premises, at a rate of two to three CNC machines per week.

Cimco DNC-Max V5.1 software is used to communicate remotely with various CNC machines in the turning and CNC grinding areas, while for the high-speed CNC machining sections either FTP or NFS Ethernet server software was used, depending on the type of CNC machine.

FSG MD, Gareth Jenkins comments; "We had a demonstration of the software and were very impressed it was clearly the way to go. We had initial concerns about the security of the wireless system, but with wireless data encryption we are confident there will be no problems on that score. Altogether we are delighted with our move to a wireless environment and are thinking of moving to wireless machine monitoring manufacturing data collection."

As FSG has already purchased the DNC-Max Wireless system, the implementation for the MDC-Max, Manufacturing Data Collection, can be integrated to provide "Real-time Data Collection", analysis data in the form of real-time reports and graphs, including Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE).

FSG Tool & Die Ltd.
Founded in 1961, FSG is the market leader in design and manufacture of precision toolmaking. The company's expertise is focused on the automotive markets, metal and plastic packaging, hot forging and press tools. A world Class accredited ISO9001 Company, with over 80 employees that offer the very latest in 3D CADCAM facilities and automated manufacturing processes. FSG is a highly focussed business that offers excellent customer service and product quality.

FSG Tool & Die Limited