Rockware Corp.: Connecting the Dots on the Shop Floor
manufacturingtechnologyinsights

Rockware Corp.: Connecting the Dots on the Shop Floor

Ryan Ray, COO, Rockware Corp.Ryan Ray, COO
Since 2005, the manufacturing realm has witnessed a drastic makeover in terms of technologies, procedures, and practices. However, in this rapidly evolving landscape, there’s been one constant—the exceptional products and services engineered by brothers Chris and Ryan Ray, who were quick to identify and solve industry challenges with electrical controls design and integration along with database-driven software development. As trusted partners to numerous clients in the manufacturing, government and automotive space for more than 14 years now, the duo have led their business ventures—Team Ray Technologies and Rockware Corp.—to stellar heights, delivering highly customizable software products.

With its premier customizable software products strategically architected to address the unique needs of shop floor management, Rockware has been instrumental in delivering a turnkey automated data collection solution for injection molding departments, assembly lines, and manufacturing environments. The company has developed Rockware IMM (Intelligent Manufacturing Machine) that collects machine cycles automatically and combines with configuration data and personnel input to provide real-time and historical information. Rockware IMM, as fully configured and licensed off-the-shelf software, streamlines facility management across manufacturing and production areas.

Rockware works closely with Team Ray Technologies—an industrial control and integrations company—with a singular focus on eliminating the longstanding predicament of integrating a spectrum of equipment and instruments at a centralized location within a manufacturing plant. From the integration standpoint, Rockware IMM serves as a highly configurable facility system that interlinks all the systems within a plant through a common, interactive interface, enabling clients to drill in to individual applications in real-time and procure a holistic view of their plants in the palms of their hands. This helps plant owners monitor KPIs across multiple plant environments while maintaining overall equipment effectiveness (OEE). As Ryan Ray, COO of Rockware, describes it, “The flexibility of our software lets clients connect their equipment, ERP systems, and third-party software across various manufacturing and production environments.” Deemed as an effective plant-wide solution, Rockware IMM allows clients to seamlessly gather machine data and track equipment action through charts, and obtain visibility of machine action versus performance via trend diagrams. Moreover, the company has also expanded the software’s functionality with integrated quality modules and health and safety modules.

Besides integration, Rockware IMM houses template Windows-based client applications with unlimited installations coupled with a standard Shift Recap reporting module that meticulously groups every action during a production shift. This Shift Recap module empowers supervisors with the ability to comment, manipulate, reconcile, scrap downtime by operators, and email or mass-distribute an end-of-shift report. What’s more is that the managers can filter the datasets to be displayed, and choose from a list of over 150 pre-configured reports for individual logs that can be printed as either graphical, tabular or specialty reports.

“We have real-time interfaces that help in capturing how a plant/department/machine has performed over a shift or a day in a linear, traceable, and simplistic graph format,” Ray explains. Rockware IMM additionally provides a wide range of real-time scoreboard interfaces, which display the total cycles, parts, graphs, and downtime information.

The flexibility of our software lets clients connect their equipment, ERP systems, and third-party software across various manufacturing and production environments


Rockware IMM, backed by proprietary middleware software—OPC2DB—linked to OPC servers and drivers, automatically accumulates and combines the information from different sources. This allows the clients to interface with any OPC-compliant controllers. Team Ray Technologies’ RockboxIO, a device that derives machine cycles and downtime in full OEE, has data collection for non-OPC-compliant controllers covered with direct connections to hardwired outputs from the machines. Rockware also has proprietary middleware software that connects to RJG Inc. eDart products via the Active X, ensuring seamless data collection from machines. The Rockware IMM, coupled with Active X Control, allows clients to obtain accurate analog values from their equipment such as speed, pressure, and time. “We also can mount RFID readers, and a remote IO blocks to identify the molds in each machine along with facilitating cycle collection,” adds Ray.

Rockware Corp. leaves no stone unturned by addressing yet another fundamental issue with data collection— security. The company uses Microsoft SQL servers as the backbone of its security system for administrative privileges and summarizing KPI values for each customer. “This setup allows plant administrators to flexibly change the configuration data and security levels for each customer depending on their job description,” explains Ray.

While a machine-specific display efficiently presents the equipment status, Rockware has fine-tuned an electronic dashboard that comprises live, sequential scheduling applications for streamlining machine operations. The company goes the extra mile to include add-on products in IMM such as OEI™ (Operator Entry Interface) and CIT™ (Central Intelligence Tracking). AWD Anywhere Data Internet Cloud Service, as an add-on, provides a lighter version of the in-plant real-time dashboard to provide machine status and machine performance KPIs on any device and anywhere including outside of the plant. This service is hosted on a Rockware Corp. Cloud Server to allow access from any device with an internet connection.

The efficiency of Rockware’s OEI product was on full display when it helped a client handle scrap from injection molding, decorating, and assembly areas. “The client utilized an after-shift reporting system prior to working with us, and the scrap was sent to their ERP system after the work shift was over,” recalls Ray. Rockware’s highly skilled team then implemented a full, comprehensive scrap entry system linked to its IMM system with a customizable OEI that enabled the client to easily assimilate and tweak the scrap screens according to their specifications. This implementation notified the client through text messages in real-time, keeping them informed of where the scrap was coming from, and areas that required immediate attention.

Rockware is currently in the process of building a data center for hosting cloud-based solutions. With no plans of slowing down, Rockware also aims to expand its IMM functionalities further and transform shop floor management with its innovative software.

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Rockware Corp.

Company
Rockware Corp.

Headquarters
Huron, OH

Management
Ryan Ray, COO

Description
Rockware offers fully configured and licensed off-the-shelf IMM software that assists manufacturers and designers to streamline facility management across injection molding and decorating sectors like never before. With its premier customizable software products strategically architected to address the unique needs of shop floor management, Rockware has been instrumental in delivering a turnkey automated data collection solution for injection molding departments, assembly lines, and manufacturing environments. The company has developed Rockware IMM (Intelligent Manufacturing Machine) that collects machine cycles automatically and combines with configuration data and personnel input to provide real-time and historical information