Tool and Die

About Tool and Die

Tool and die manufacturers run high-value, low-quantity production of unique parts in a production process with many dynamic variables.

Machine Uptime is the most common indication of productivity in most shops, with the belief that when the spindle is running, the company is making money and adding value.

Examples of Machines Monitored:

  • CNC lathes, mills, drills
  • CNC grinders, routers
  • CNC laser, plasma, EDM
  • Machining centers

The Challenge

Tool and die manufacturers use a wide variety of machines, many of which are not connectable in a standard or cost-efficient fashion. Modifying older machines brings with it the risk of unexpected downtime, whereas newer machines often require proprietary  software, with warranty sometimes being an issue.

In a typical machine shop, machine downtime may be close to its uptime. In order to improve productivity, it is crucial to know the reasons why a machine is not running, and collecting all the information related to every non-value added time can be time consuming and inaccurate.

ShiftWorx’s ‘non-invasive’ approach to machine or process monitoring addresses all these challenges and mitigates the risks!

The Solution

ShiftWorx connects non-invasively to all machines or processes on the shop floor; it is a cloud-native software that enables manufacturers to easily identify areas of improvement while increasing the number of jobs for any machine or process. By visualizing their uptime and downtime on the ShiftWorx dashboard, operators are focused on getting the machine back to a value-adding condition.

Examples of Signals Being Monitored:

  • Spindle running (or spindle under load)
  • Axis in motion
  • Machine “in cycle”
  • “End of program”
  • Machine “in alarm”


Placing dashboards on touchscreens throughout the plant floor has proven to drive productivity improvement by 15%, and in cases even more. By utilizing the ShiftWorx Narrative feature, Operators are more engaged as they empirically identify all downtime causes, giving management the information they need to make smarter decisions faster!

With real-time data visibility provided by ShiftWorx, manufacturers are much better positioned to increase production as well as profitability.

  • Identify areas of improvement
  • Increase number of jobs run on the machines
  • Visualize machine uptime & downtime
  • Optimize the machine schedule
  • Aggregate available machine capacity
  • Increase production & profitability

The Challenge


Using our “Narrative” module, Operators are engaged in the data collection process by empirically identifying all the non-value adding periods (down time causes), which gives management the information they need to make better decisions.


Using our “Notifications” module, supervisors, managers and maintenance staff can be alerted via text or email whenever a critical machine has stopped for a defined period of time, minimizing or eliminating unnecessary down time.

Tool and Die KPI’s

Everyone wants to see more active time on the dashboard and less inactive time. However, that is not necessarily the case for tool and die manufacturers. A high utilization number may mean that the machine is too slow and should be replaced. A low utilization number may simply mean that there is not enough work available for the machine, or not enough people scheduled to keep it running.

Uptime and Downtime

Determining reasons for non-productive time: equipment, scheduling, or material related?

Setup Time

What is the average set up time by machine, or job type?

Production Time

What percentage of uptime the line has been running by hour, day or shift?