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Influent Monitor gets, keeps, and leverages data assets

To look deeply into production data and the issues that affect your fabrication business, you need a system that is powerful enough to manage today’s machines, wide enough in scope to add context, and easy to use. Influent is AMADA’s solution for the fabrication shop of today, managing different machines, processes, and targets. Using intuitive displays of analytics, dashboards, and reports, you will identify deficiencies, enact improvements, and measure effectiveness—all within Influent.


Influent Monitor is a self-contained version of the Influent management software platform. It is installed on your server, and automatically is compatible with AMADA machines with recent-vintage controllers and software, namely:


  • AMNC 3i family
  • AMNC 4ie family (new and successfully demonstrated live at Fabtech 2022)

Machines with these controllers produce data on each job, which are handed off to Influent to process and present to the user. (Because Monitor and Enterprise rely on the same source code, it is equally true of Enterprise.)


Before we get into how to use Monitor and what exactly it does, a few words about the nature of Influent are in order. First, Influent Monitor is designed using microservice architecture. This means that the processes inside Influent are independent pieces of code, and each one focuses on a particular task. While one microservice collects usage data, another is building a chart of utilization, still another helps you track an entire area of machines by building a dashboard with multiple machine summaries. The definitive difference in this architecture is that when Influent performs actions, the individual microservices are used a lot or not at all, depending on the immediate need. Unlike monolithic software packages, Influent’s components are busy or idle with no effect on the entire system, only their own microservice.


Monitor is self-contained and very robust, but it comes ready for upgrade at any time. Upgrading to the Enterprise version means adding connections to ERP/MRP systems and to legacy and other-branded equipment—whatever meets your expanded goals.


You access Monitor via a browser; it is really an intranet app. Influent is not a cloud application, it is not connected to the outside world. All the data stays within the walls of your organization, addressing security concerns by removing the link to potentially harmful or even dangerous actions.


Unlike many applications, Monitor is sold to you once—a one-time charge. No rentals, no subscriptions. If you want to upgrade to Enterprise, you still use the Monitor software as a basis for management.


Using Influent Monitor: who and how


In this section we will take a close-up look at the types of information you get from Influent. Starting at the individual shop machine, the data begins its flow like ripples on a pond. The operator and the shop manager can access machine-native information as well as the expanded information offered by Influent. The company has the option of whether to access this information on a desktop or laptop, or even an iPad deployed at the machine.


Fabricators find dashboard deployment helps them quickly get a read on production. A smaller shop may find it helpful to have one or two dashboards interspersed throughout the shop. A larger company might want dashboards for each function, e.g. a blanking dashboard that shows all of the blanking equipment at a glance, but can drill down into the machine level.


Influent offers two types of dashboards, an Area Dashboard (which shows machines that you choose) and a more detailed Machine Dashboard. Because Influent is so valuable on the shop floor, fabricators can set up an Apple TV with a big screen to show dashboards and reports. Immediately, you see how things are progressing.


The Area Dashboard has many clues as to the overall well-being of a machine. Visual cues like pictogram logos that depict the keyword listed at the top of each machine summary. We see from the header color of the first machine that it is in an alarm state, and it has been for 34 minutes. Beneath the header is a small description of the alarm: “Tower Light Curtain Tripped.” AMSCL is the machine name, and we can see that the machine has had 16% greenlight time. In the next square of the dashboard, the program name is “AMSCLT30001-.”


As we get an initial look at the dashboard screen, we know “green is good,” and it is a cause for concern that one machine out of six is running. The other machines have various states, such as Alarm, Setup, and Standby. Likely scenario: The machines on Standby are not on the schedule for now, the machines on Alarm are there in unplanned fashion, and the Running and Setup machines are in a normal day.

The area dashboard of Amada Influent
The Area Dashboard displays multiple machines from the shop floor

The Area Dashboard is a great way to find information on specific machines. You can then go to that machine to read its Machine Dashboard, a much richer set of data than was included in the Area Dashboard. First, we see the machine name and the state. Next, we see a brief history of the states the machine has been in during the past few hours (it is a rolling four-hour window), and what time was involved (and the time of day). Continuing down, the Machine Dashboard then shows you the results of the last five programs run on this piece of machinery.


On the upper right is a summary of the state of the machine for the last 24 hours. And finally, underneath that, we get a picture of the last week. We can tell a few things from this chart: a) the best day for this machine was Thursday, Aug. 27; b) the company is probably closed on weekends; c) the utilization target percent for this machine is 50%; and d) today’s performance is currently 27% below goal. The dashboard information is very easy to interpret, and it is rich with information and one can make certain inferences from it.

The machine dashboard of Amada Influent

Utilization is a key metric for shop managers. This utilization page offers useful summary information but also drills down a bit into some details. The first stat you see is utilization over the past 24 hours. The target in this case is 39% utilization. Utilization has been good; it was generally at least 30% over target. This screen also gives similar information on the bottom right as the Machine Dashboard. Because Influent collects and keeps information, you will spot trends over both short and long periods of time.

The utilization summary report from Amada Influent

The Program History Report looks at the world as would a modern fabricating shop. Most fabricators have jobs that they run multiple times during a month, week, or even day. This report tells you, initially, how many programs were run and out of that, how many unique programs were part of that mix. There is a fair bit of job repetition here. Each program, on average, was run more than two and a half times during the data collection period.


You can select the date range, and see summaries by material and by program count. You can export this information for further processing and comparisons.

The program history report from Amada Influent

Throughput is available on a machine basis, and again you can select the date range for the report. For lasers, throughput is measured in sheets. For bending systems, it is measured in parts.  You get a better understanding of the throughput for a work center as total throughput per shift, and average hourly throughput. This information may also be exported via a CSV file. In this example, you can see that the second shift is significantly more productive than the first shift. Although the reasons may vary, receiving that information in a timely manner can help you make corrections fast enough to preserve high throughput.

Throughput summary on Amada Influent

Only a few reports are represented here. You can see that the immediacy of the information and the capability to drill into subjects gives you a strong data and management foundation you have been missing until now. Anything you do not see is easily customizable in Influent Enterprise, including reports and dashboards.



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