Personal Electronic Devices (PED’s) are now as common today as a wallet or pair of shoes. What twenty years ago was a novelty is now the norm. Today, many woodworking machinery suppliers are embracing PED for the control and monitoring of new equipment.

Leading companies are always on the lookout for a competitive advantage. Industry 4.0 presents them with an opportunity to further stretch the gap between themselves and their competitors. In Australia, as in the rest of the World, there are relatively few companies fully embracing industry 4.0 but with the inclusion of smart personal devices such as iPhones and iPads into the manufacturing scene, things might change quicker from now on.

At interzum only a few months ago several hardware companies demonstrated living spaces where mobile devices were used in the control of living environments. Motor vehicle manufacturers now produce apps where you can enter your vehicles VIN number and get you own electronic user manual, complete with animated videos to help you understand your new car. On some vehicles you can even use an app to operate certain parts of the car without even getting inside. Operating wood working machinery with a mobile device cannot be too far away, it’s certainly not in the realm of science fiction, it’s more like science fact.

Since March 2012 Leitz Tooling have provided an app for the complete range of Leitz products. With this app, users could call up order forms that can be completed and directly sent. The App also contains a virtual sliding rule allowing the tool users to calculate cutting speed, feed speed, cutting way and other important processing data of their tools on their smartphones or tablet computers. In 2017 the Homag Group presented decentralised machine operation with access via Wireless Connect. Examples being mobile end devices within W-LAN. And in 2018 Biesse’s SOPHIA app is continuously accumulating, monitoring and analysing a numeric-controlled machine’s data via a cloud-based computing network on a real-time basis. And if your preferred supplier is SCM Group, Maestro connect is able to offer customised micro services through the use of IoT Apps that support the daily activities of industry operators; improving the availability and use of machines or systems. Weinig also use apps to facilitate machine and tool management for their range of Weinig and Holz-Her machines.

Traditionally trained workers are not commonly employed in high-production plants using CNC equipment but the people who work there, while not crafts-persons as such, can still be highly effective by using smart devices to operate and monitor equipment. Australian Industry Group’s Mark Goodsell recently said, “The next generation of Australian employees will have to be comfortable running plant from an iPhone. They have to trust technology and the data it produces, even if it conflicts with their eyes and ears.” Companies looking to develop their business are aware of the latest developments and PED technology has the power to alter and improve manufacturing and to provide knowledge their competitors don’t have, an edge in any business.