Installation of TFM equipment is a straightforward procedure. We install the monitor where you wish to have it, and we install a sensor on the resin/gel pumps and a sensor either on the glass motor or use a boom mounted sensor. We run the necessary cables for the sensors, power, keypad/barcode items, and for data collection. We try to work around your operators and operation so as not to interfere with your manufacturing. However, there might be times where we need to “get in there” to complete certain tasks. Sometimes, if it works for both parties, installation over the weekend is optimal.
Installing the monitor where we want it? What if we want it on a mobile chop gun?
We can do that. We have installed the monitor and bracket usually on the pivot point of the boom arm. Cables are also localized on the mobile unit. In some case where the resin pump is located elsewhere, we run our sensor cable along the existing air and fluid feed lines running to the mobile unit. This is also what we do for the power cable on all mobile installs.
What are the power requirements?
We run a 9 volt power transformer and a 5 volt transformer to the back of the monitor. We plug these into a standard 110 wall outlet that is usually 15 or more feet above the ground or somewhere outside the production area. Using DC power the voltage inside the monitor is regulated at a constant 5 volts, making the units intrinsically safe. It takes one standard 110 volt 2-port wall outlet per unit.
Is the sensor used for Resin and Gel pumps the same? And how are they installed?
Yes, we use the same sensor for both Resin and Gel pumps as all we do is tie into the exhaust air typically using a standard pvc t-fitting. (PIC) In some case, where an air exhaust is not available, we use a sensor that is attached to the movement of the pump, like a slave arm that is moving up and down. (PIC)
What about the Glass sensor?
For most glass motors, we can install what we call our Motor Mount Glass Sensor.We drill and tap into the armature bearing to place a aluminum standoff with a magnet. (PIC) Then we attach the sensor housing to the side of the motor. The spinning of the motor enables the sensor to count. For those motors that we cannot install on, we setup our boom mounted glass sensor. (PIC) In the glass path, we take on strand for our sensor and we calibrate for all strands that are being used. One strand, 3 strands, and up. We have plenty of units installed of tank winder systems. 60 – 80 plus strands of glass are used, yet we only need to install one sensor to count for all the strands.
How do I know how much material is being used using your sensors?
A couple of simple procedures for both Resin/Gel and Glass sensors are used. You can view them here. What is notable however, is that once the sensors are calibrated, what you see on the monitor is what came out your gun head.
How and where do you run all the cables?
We run cables along walls and beams utilizing existing pipes and conduit. We don’t run the cable inside the piping or conduit, just simple zip-ties every few feet does the trick.
You said you work around our operation. What do you mean?
The monitors are mostly mounted either outside or along the border of the spray area. In cases where the monitor is to be be mounted inside a spray booth, we wait until a window opens and install it then. The same goes for all aspects of installing the equipment. If we can’t install a certain component at a certain time, there is always something we can install elsewhere. Sometimes, we ask the operator if we can have a few minutes to set up something. For example, it is lunch time, and we take advantage of that time to “get in there” and mount the glass sensor or run some cable within the operating area. Then, lunch time is over and the operators are ready to get back to work, and yet we need just a few minutes more to finish up in that area. That’s where we ask them to hold off for a couple of minutes.
Installing on weekends, why?
Like mentioned above, when we install during working hours, we can work around operations. For those plants that produce parts in a high volume everyday, we try and schedule our installation over the weekend due to the fact that it makes it easier for all involved, and also the installation is much quicker. Not to say we require weekend installation windows, sometimes it can be for the best.
What about training in the use of the equipment?
Once everything is installed, calibrated and working properly, is when we start the training. Since the operation of TFM equipment is so simple, training on the use of it on the production floor doesn’t take long at all. For the data collection and reporting features, a couple of hours is what is needed to train the people who will be in charge of that area of the TFM equipment. Also, we are just a phone call or email away. Have a problem or question? Pick up the phone and dial our toll free number and we will answer. (during business hours of course). If the concern or inquiry is not an immediate issue, then an email will suffice as those are answered same day.
How is the data transmitted from the monitors?
Using Ethernet, we run cat-5 cable from the monitor or monitors that will end up in, most cases, the nearest available office with internet access. We just connect the Ethernet cable into a free port in a router that can be simply sitting on or somewhere around the computer desk. Once a part or application is finished, the operator hits the Reset button. This zeroes out the monitor, while at the same time, creates a record of the application just finished. Then the data is transmitted automatically to tfmdata.com. That data is then accessible by signing into the website, and you are able to view and generate various reports.
What if I don’t want to use the Ethernet option?
We still have the option to have data transmitted through 232/485 protocol. We daisy chain standard 2-conductor with ground 18 gauge cable to an office which has the polling computer. Polling the data using our TFMData software is a manual operation using the software. You are still able to view and generates reports. However, using our TFMData software with the daisy chain cabling requires the polling computer to have Windows XP or an older operating system. It is not compatible with Windows Vista and newer operating systems. You can also install a “Virtual” Windows XP or older operating system on a newer computer using a program such as VMWare.
Certainly you would have some requirements from us. What would you need us to do or provide?
With TFM systems and installation, we supply our own tools, the necessary cables and brackets and pretty much everything else. However, we would need to be able to use a powered hand drill, cordless if available, and also a tall enough ladder and a powered scissor or bucket lift, to be able to reach the high spots where the monitors are mounted and cables are run. As for someone to help us, most times that is not needed. However, if we are able to work over the weekend, someone would need to be present to allow us access to the installation areas. If your plant has certain safety requirements, such as hard hats or harnesses for the lifts, then that would need to be provided by you.