The problem

 

The problem was that a software fault had developed which could not be fixed by the manufacturers support team as they stated that a fault with the hard disk drive was preventing the repair. As a result, though the cutter was operational, it could only perform one job at a time.

Normally, several jobs are loaded onto the various tables which the cutter changes – via the software program -  as it needs to.

Production was down by two thirds and deadlines could not be met.

MTP Laser case study.

 

Where are they and what do they do?

Based in Redditch, their fabrication facility enables them to produce laser cut fabrications, folded & welded fabrications & assemblies for industries including: Automotive, Construction and Commercial Vehicle Manufacturers, Electrical and Gas Industry, Shopfitting, Display, Security.

 

 

One of the most used production machines in use
at MTP Laser Ltd is this Bystronic 3015
multitabled laser cutter.

The call (August 2013)

 

We were contacted by the Managing Directors Yvonne and Alec Stretch asking us to visit to look at the problem.

We had previously done remedial work to the communications link to the laser cutter from the CAD system computer.

The manufacturers of the machine were unwilling to attempt repairs to the existing system.

Instead, they wanted to replace the entire control console at a cost upwards of £10,000.

This was not a viable option at the time as the only fault appeared to be with the hard disk drive.

This laser cutter is controlled from a bespoke panel with a dedicated built in (and also bespoke) computer system. (Partially shown above)

 

The visit

 

One of our technicians visited the site to inspect the laser cutter machine to see if we could locate the hard disk drive.

Nothing on the entire machine resembled a conventional computer, so we were flying blind as to where the hard disk might be located.

The only thing that we did know was that it ran some version of Microsoft Windows.

Eventually, after removing various parts of the console, including it’s own built fridge, we were able to locate the hard disk drive.

 

Our brief was simple. Get this machine up and running again as fast as possible!

The control console for the Bystronic 3015

Data recovery

 

The hard disk was in an advanced state of failure, but luckily, could be detected by our recovery systems. Our first priority was to attempt to clone the hard disk drive.

Due to the state of the drive, recovery/cloning had to run overnight. Early the next morning, it was found that the cloning process had been successful and so the replacement drive was tested for data integrity and immediately returned to MTP Laser Ltd and refitted to the console.

The hard disk location (topmost unit)

 

The drive was carefully removed and taken back to our workshops for analysis.

The Solution

 

It was a tense moment, Management and staff waiting, hoping that production could start again at capacity rate.

The system was restarted and the relevant software, which had failed due to the bad hard disk, was replaced. A quick test was performed to see if the cutter would change tables. It did.

The system was then shut down, the console reassembled and production began again at full speed.

 

Problems and benefits

 

Problem: During the repair process, production was completely stopped for around 4 – 5 hours.
This consisted of the last 2 hours of day 1 and the next 2 - 3 hours of day two.

Problem: The manufacturer had predicted several days of downtime.

Problem: The manufacturer had also quoted upwards of £10,000 to get production started again.

 

Benefit: The project was completed from start to finish in under one working day.

Benefit: The entire repair was performed for significantly less than one twentieth of their original quote.

 

The end result

 

A happy workforce. No need to work weekends to catch up on lost production.

A very happy management team. Able to fulfill orders on time and not have to worry about high repair costs.

 

A similar Bystronic 3015 laser cutter in action.
Video by kind permission of
Ben at www.industrialmachines.net