Rockware Corp.: Innovating Shop Floor Software Products

Rockware Corp.: Innovating Shop Floor Software Products

Ryan Ray, COO, Rockware CorpRyan Ray, COO
Rockware Corp. provides premier customizable software products to the automotive, manufacturing, and government sectors. The founders of Rockware Corp., brothers Ryan and Chris along with their father Thomas have degrees in Engineering and have worked in multiple manufacturing facilities as supervisors, engineers, production managers, quality managers, and maintenance managers. They have been heavily involved in 3D mechanical design, electrical design, PLC programming, HMI/SCADA programming, networking, Information Technology, robot programming, camera/advanced sensor integration, injection molding, process engineering, advanced project management, along with database and software development since 2005 when their business venture began. The layout and standard components of their platform are unique to shop floor management and have been strategically architected based on first-hand experience and knowledge gained by working with manufacturing professionals and operators from a variety of industrial venues. The real-world skills gained from these previous experiences separates Rockware Corp. from other Shop Floor Software providers. “We are practical and logical and truly understand the needs of our customers because we were once in their shoes,” shares Ryan Ray, COO, Rockware Corp.

The original concept for their offerings was based on the need for a centralized system that could replace the myriad of excel spreadsheets that many companies use to manage and track production, maintenance, and quality data. The vision was to combine automatic data entry and human data entry into a reliable fact-based platform that could produce a multitude of interfaces and reports viewable real-time on any device with minimal key strokes or touches. Their latest product, Rockware®IMM™ (Intelligent Manufacturing Machine) was designed with the original concept in mind utilizing years of experience in implementing shop floor systems along with accumulated customer input.

We are practical and logical and truly understand the needs of our customers because we were once in their shoes

Optional customized modules and interfaces can be provided to any new or existing system to ensure each customer gets exactly what they want since no two companies or plants are the same.

One success story that exemplifies how Rockware Corp. meets each customer’s unique needs involves a facility with over 70 injection molding machines. The Rockware Corp. team began by reviewing the data generated by the department in order to develop their own data collection method. Because the company could not plug directly into the processors to retrieve the data, they used their Rockbox™ X to bring electrical signals from each machine into a centralized system to gather data. Their next step was to install touch screens with their Cash Register™ interface for floor and operator input at every machine. To complete the project they added custom screens, video viewing, and plug in modules for process sheets. The solution provided by Rockware Corp. allowed the facility to eliminate the need for manual data collection and reporting, saving them time and resources. It also resulted in a significant improvement in overall equipment efficiency (OEE). The system eventually moved to other areas of the plant and expanded into traceability, quality, maintenance, and facility management.

As Rockware Corp. looks to the future, they are working to build their infrastructure and hire more employees to handle a larger customer base without reducing the quality of their products and services. As the Internet of Things (IoT) gains momentum, they are making that a standard option for their latest generation 6 product Rockware®IMM™. There is an initiative to add functionality to their existing machine side tablet Cash Register™ application as well as incorporating cloud-based servers as part of their solution offerings. Because their functionality has a higher ceiling than most systems, there is unlimited opportunity for innovation. Ray elaborates, “Complexity of reports is not limiting. Our approach is to customize our existing products to accommodate any request. As our customers develop and innovate, so do we. We have the coding ready to be fine-tuned to meet the needs of our customers in a fraction of the time that our competition would take to start from scratch. We can accomplish anything.”