Frequently Asked Questions about M-Box

Monitor-Box > Frequently Asked Questions about M-Box

General

What are Smart Manufacturers?

We can refer to Smart Manufacturers simply as manufacturers that thrive and survive because they have adopted a practice of good management via measurement and monitoring

Often such organizations choose to follow an improvement process via “Management By Objectives” where KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) are set according to SMART criteria:
– Specific
– Measurable
– Assignable
– Realistic
– Time-able

Is Monitor-Box an OEE-monitoring system?

M-Box is more than just an OEE (Overall Equipment Efficiency) monitoring system thanks to added functional features:

– Auxiliary equipment monitoring
– Group electricity consumption monitoring
– Staff identification to machines and projects
– Efficiency against available and against scheduled machine time

With these features the Overall Plant Effectiveness (OPE) and Overall Labor Effectiveness (OLE) are monitored as well, making M-Box an all-around OEE/OPE/OLE monitoring system.

What is the difference with MES/SCADA and can such systems Co-exist?

Monitor-Box monitors only. All data are gathered by external sensors. The system does not connect to PLC’s or equipment control software.
Thanks to this attribute M-Box is easy to install and setup with limited budget requirements. For some situations M-Box can be used together with control systems.

System aspect M-Box MES/SCADA
Type of applications Individual (partially) manual work stations or non-automated production lines. Operator involvement high. Complex, continuous and automated production lines with different production steps that need coordination.
Functionality Monitoring only, human and machine Controls processes. Replaces (partially) human factor
Software and setup All software available with highly flexible settings for individualization to company and persons Needs set-up and adjustment from supplier. Interface with machine operations required. Relative high set-up time and budget involved
Remote Accessible via any device connected to internet. Notifications as standard feature Remote monitoring and control via RTU standard. Mobile devices control and alerts optional.
ERP Interface possible Connected
Hacking downside Limited to data theft Data theft and hacker control of operations with major possible consequences.

 

Installing a Monitor-Box system in MES/SCADA controlled operations seems redundant. However, where additional monitoring is required (by a 3rd party such as contractor or equipment supplier) Monitor-Box can co-exist next to MES/SCADA.

For example, a clause of an equipment supplier’s (extended) warranty contract could be that the supplier can monitor the equipment on maintenance regime or a-typical conditions that may lead to equipment failure.

Can Monitor-Box connect to our ERP-system?

It is possible to build an interface with ERP systems. Contact us on this subject.

Can we use the Monitor-Box system in a closed environment e.g. without internet connection?

In special cases, such as highly secured companies, it is possible to run the Monitor-Box without an internet connection. The software needs to be installed on the company’s server(s) and run on the internal network. It will involve extra cost and software updates will not be installed automatically. When connected to the intranet the mobile apps work with icons showing alerts. The instant notifications, however, will not be issued to mobile devices as they are only sent via Google or Apple servers. If you are interested in this option, please contact us.

Is M-Box a Bolt-On system?

Bolt-On can be viewed from either software or hardware perspective:

Software: the system can interact with other IT applications (ERP) without reprogramming any software but simply via interfaces that are relatively easy to build.

Hardware: no machine needs to be opened to install the data gathering components. No interference with original control systems or existing HMI’s (Human Machine Interface) whatsoever. All sensors are installed externally.

Monitor-Box is 100% Bolt-On, therefore easy to install and quick to operate and yield results.

Uninterrupted Performance

What happens in case of Internet Failure?

In case of internet failure, the PC keeps collecting data and it will upload this data once the connection is restored.

Who will be alerted in case of interruptions in data flow?

In the situation where our servers do not receive any data for more than 10 minutes, all Users with an Admin authorization in your organization will receive an instant notification.

Installation and Set-up

How can I handle the installations?

With the component delivery, you will receive a comprehensive installation manual in which clear instructions are given with regards to:
– Safe and stable installation of all components
– How to connect all components from M-Box to the4 dedicated WiFi network

In some areas we work with selected service companies that can handle hardware installation for you. Contact us for details.

Is it possible to get assistance with the system set-up

The set-up of the system is simply done via the data portal. Once the admin has identified (sub) departments, machines, machine groups (with Excel downloadable forms that can simply be filled in and uploaded for automatic data intake) the individual users can easily set their personal filters.
Setting up the system is simple and intuitive. You may find the system setup instruction video in our video library useful to assist you with this. In case you feel the need for further help, please don’t hesitate to contact our help desk.

Does M-Box interfere with my processes?

The system runs on DC, so it will not transmit any EMI signals. All the communication cables are shielded. Nevertheless we advise that you do not install them parallel to high voltage cables.
Don’t hesitate to contact us to address your specific concerns.

Does M-Box disturb radio signals or modem traffic?

Same as above applies.
M-Box does not in any way interfere with radio signals or modems. Don’t hesitate to contact us to address your specific concerns however.

Is M-Box fail-safe and fool proof? What could go wrong?

All the sensors we use are external, so no interference whatsoever with your equipment’s electronics.

The system only records data from your machines but cannot interfere with the processes themselves. Any adjustment to processing conditions should be done by qualified and trained staff in your factory. The system is therefore fail-safe in a way that once it is set-up properly there is little or nothing that can go wrong from the point of individual users as recipients of useful data.
We do recommend considering the M-Box as an extremely useful support tool that acts as an add-on to your existing systems for registration and safety management.

Data Security and Keeping

How secure is the M-Box system?

Privacy and security are very important to our clients and ourselves. All data on our servers are therefore protected following a defense in depth approach where we use multiple layers of defense. All communication between the M-Boxes and servers according to IPsec standard which is the only way to achieve full protection of all communication over IP network.

Our engineers will monitor the performance of the M-Box itself, but cannot see any client specific data or reports. In case you need support with technical problems, a remote screen will be (temporary) shared with M-Box support staff to resolve the issue.

How accurate are the data collections?

The data collected is extremely accurate. All Boxes and components (including sensors) are tested extensively before shipment. The software labels each data record received with a serial number and servers verify if all records are indeed complete. In this way, we have a full guarantee that all records that are generated indeed arrive at our servers for analysis and reporting.

How to reset the systems?

The system cannot be manually reset by yourself. All data is kept, only over time we sum the details:
– All records kept for 24 hours
– After 12 hours the data are grouped per day
– After one month we group per week.

In the unlikely case you decide that M-Box would be of no further added value to you we will delete all existing records connected to your account from our servers.

Hardware

What maintenance program is required for the hardware components?

M-Box is maintenance free. A regular check to make sure the components are still well positioned and connected (damage can result from impact) is all that needs to be done.

Is the system waterproof (IP56)?

Standard M-box is not waterproof, but we can supply on request, waterproof boxes, to store the M-boxes in.
Water and dust proof enclosures are available on request. Make your specific requirements know to us at ordering and we will address your concerns regarding special conditions (water proof, dust proof) or outdoor applications.

Billing and subscriptions

Can I suspend my subscription?

The subscriptions are on “Pay As You Go” basis, which means you pay only for user days with a maximum of 20 days per month (monthly plan) or 240 days per year (annual plan). It is therefor not needed to suspend your subscription for a longer time of inactivity, as this will be done automatically.

Can I change the equipment being monitored?

Our box is universal but before you use the M-box for a new application, please contact us. We can advise you and in some cases, we need to adjust the reporting software. We strongly advise against changing to alternative equipment without discussing with us as the results returned may be incorrect or inaccurate.
We’ll be happy to help you migrate an M-Box to another machine within your pending subscription.