Tools & Technologies

SCADAware Inc.’s StatusWatch can be useful in a number of industries that rely on process execution.  

By Christina Kach

Knowing your status is important

As industrial and systems engineers, we have keen eyes for identifying improvement opportunities in our work processes. In leading such efforts, we look to our knowledge, co-workers and process studies to improve the work.

What we may overlook is the support that technology advancements can provide.

The reason many people miss opportunities to merge technology successfully with established processes is twofold. Successful technology integration first requires the acute knowledge to recognize when, what and how technology can be used to supplement processes. Second, many companies further compound this issue by depending too heavily on machines and technologies to fix a broken system rather than solving support an improved process.

Ultimately, many companies lament the endeavor as fruitless. But support can come from technologies like SCADAware Inc.'s StatusWatch product line, which can add technology in harmony with established processes.

SCADAware, based in central Illinois, focuses on such systems integration in the workplace by designing control and data acquisition products. StatusWatch is an andon-based system to signal staff on process execution and quality concerns through real-time data collection and displays. The data available provides information for improved decision-making and awareness of overall equipment effectiveness (OEE).

The newest addition to the Status- Watch group, StatusWatch Live, builds on the services of its siblings by focusing on live data representative of the process' current state. Information, such as part counts and machine status, are used for notifications and visual displays for decision-making in the moment, as well as reporting features for future planning. This offering is the first standalone system from SCADAware; it functions without being tied into the customer's servers.

So why even enhance a proven successful product and introduce the StatusWatch Live option? According to SCADAware President Rick Caldwell, the company designed the product to appeal to a broader base of manufacturers that want to improve their production processes and OEE.

While manufacturing industries are the primary beneficiaries of StatusWatch products and the new Live option, they are useful in a wide variety of industries. Examples include the military, water treatment facilities, food and beverage, farming and energy. As ISE engagement continues to expand beyond manufacturing, technologies such as this are keeping right on pace with emerging developments.

The StatusWatch line also includes a number of other options. The Status- Light Smart Andon customizes light behaviors to assign unique significances to user inputs. The StatusLight Call and Response System (CRS) Application quickly communicates materials and maintenance needs. The StatusWatch Line Sign Application displays the status of many machines or Andon devices in real-time – you can view any number of screens in rotation and know instantly where help is needed.

The StatusWatch iPad App runs reports specially catered to your iPad. And the StatusWatch PC Interface allows operators to correct, adjust or add to the raw data coming from a station to gather meaningful insights.

Christina Kach is a process improvement consultant in the insurance industry. She is a member of and communications/ marketing leader for IISE's Young Professionals group.