Gauge Computer Technology Continues To Evolve
Thickness gauges utilizing PC-based computers have many advantages. Common mass produced parts provide cost benefits and reliability. Standard operating systems provide user familiarity and comfort, communications and networking are compatible with already established office networks, advances in hardware and software offer improved future performance and the list goes on. Many of our customers have done hardware upgrades to their computers in the past and have experienced the performance, speed and value increases these upgrades provide.
However, hardware advancements can be a double edged sword. Moore’s Law states that the number of transistors on integrated circuits doubles every 18 months. Processing speed, memory capacity, sensors and so much more directly correlate with this advancement meaning that technology basically doubles every two years. With that in mind you can understand that gauges using computers built even a few years ago are way behind in speed, power and efficiency compared to the IA Test technology.
Standards and interfaces also change as technology advances. The 16-bit ISA bus which our Analog and Digital I/O cards used to read thickness and gauge data has been replaced over time by newer technology including the 32-bit PCI Express bus which our latest gauge computers use. For the past decade, we’ve made the decision to continue to provide ISA based computer upgrades as a service to our customers but older technology is becoming more and more difficult to maintain in a cost effective manner.
This means that going forward customers upgrading older computers may also need to upgrade their analog and digital cards as well. While this may be more expensive than upgrades have been in the past, the advantages of today’s technology are worth the investment and will position them to take advantage of future technology.
You Can Now Pay Your Invoice By Credit Card
In response to customer requests, A.G.T. is pleased to announce that we now offer a way for you to pay your invoices online.
The process is easy. Simply visit our website at www.AdvGauging.com and select the “Store” icon. Select the “Pay an Invoice” tab which will take you to a page with complete payment instructions. Here, you can type in your invoice number and press the “Pay Now” button. Next, enter the invoice amount and either check out with your PayPal account or select the “Don’t have a PayPal account” link to continue on and pay with a credit card. After entering your name, address and credit card information press the “Pay” button and you’re done.
Offering this secure, fast and convenient way to pay invoices online continues our tradition of listening to customers and finding ways to provide the services you ask for. If you have any questions about paying your invoice online, give us a call or send us an email at Accounting@AdvGauging.com.
Auto Data Gathering Tech Tip
Normal operation of AGT400/800 thickness gauges require the operator to enter the coil data from the keyboard, move the C-frame on sheet, open the shutter and start the reporting function (data collection). Auto Data Gathering (ADG) is a great way to automate some or all of these last three steps, saving the operator time. Many customers already use this feature to streamline gauge operation.
ADG allows the customer to use a digital input to control the C-frame, shutter and report control. When the digital input is received either from a physical switch or from a PLC contact, the gauge will move the C-frame on sheet, open the shutter and set the report mode to run. We recommend a switch on the operator’s desk. With a single throw of this switch, the operator saves the time of returning to the gauge console and activating the gauge using the keyboard. At the end of the coil, the operator simply turns the switch off. This stops the report, closes the shutter and moves the C-frame off sheet again saving time. Saving two or three minutes for each coil may not seem like much unless you consider it over the shift. Two or three minutes over ten coils is 20-30 minutes the operator could be doing other things.
Another advantage of using ADG is during tail out. It is less likely for the operator to forget to remove the C-frame during tail out while using ADG. This protects the C-frame from coil tails. If you have any questions about Auto Data Gathering please contact A.G.T. or ask your service technician during your next scheduled service.