Technology helps us advance and make processes more efficient. Society is always on the lookout for a better way to manage our day-to-day lives. It is through small increments over time that we’ve made it to the position we are at now. Here, at Leading Edge Industrial, we uphold this philosophy and continue to work on improvements daily. Even though we have progressed significantly, we refuse to stop growing and adapting. It is with this in mind that we bring up our current software update. Leading Edge Industrial is excited to take advantage of the Industry 4.0 concept.

What Exactly is Industry 4.0?

Prepare to welcome in a new meaning to efficiency. Industry 4.0 involves cloud computing with automating physical machines. Our team is working on being able to connect six machines to one computer. This means a single computer will be monitoring the progress of each machine on its screen. The ability to monitor multiple machines from one computer screen allows us to decipher what machining project should be next. Optimization doesn’t stop there. The operator takes into consideration all the project durations and creates a queue to minimize the overall wait time between projects.

Beyond this schedule optimization, the single monitor operation system decreases the chances of mistakes, since only one person will operate the system. This reduces the likelihood of miscommunication and the chance of our team having to re-machine projects. One machinist will be able to run several machines and minimize wait times.

How is This Possible?

For our machines to function with Industry 4.0 principles, we implemented multithreading into the application controlling each machine. When considering programs on a computer system, we usually see that they are completed sequentially. Modern computers contain processors that consist of multiple cores or can simulate running many cores — the core being the “brain” of the computer.

To better understand multithreading, we will implement an example of a grocery store. As we all know, when we go to the store we frequently find ourselves standing in line. In this example, we will utilize each cashier as a core in the computer. They can manage one customer at a time. Each customer waiting represents a thread, a set of instructions that can be done independently, in the system. The customers wait in line until it is their turn for one of many cashiers — this being similar to the traditional way computers interact with threads; however, by implementing multithreading, we can multitask (multiple cashiers handling customers at the same time). The program can assign several tasks at once, which means that time and thus money is being saved.[MOBILE] HX8610 VMC Machining Compilation

So now instead of waiting around for the “Blue Circle of Death” we can get on to the next task. The time that is spent waiting for one job to be completed so another can start will be reduced significantly. Thanks to multithreading we won’t have to see the blue circle pop up when we open a file or want to start our next project on the machine. That means that we can start a new operation on a machine while the other machines are still running.

The Benefits of Multithreading

As we all know, when done correctly multitasking can be an extremely effective strategy of getting several tasks done at once. This same effect is seen in multithreading. We see this through increased levels of responsiveness from the computer application and higher levels of productivity. By partnering Visual Basic as the programming language and a windows form application for the Graphical User Interface, the process of machining can run effectively and efficiently monitor up to six machines from one central computer.  To implement the most optimal user experience, it is ideal to run a program using multiple threads. This allows the user’s request to be addressed much faster. Not only will you be able to use your time and money more efficiently, but you will also save your customers’ time!