Intooligence is a new tracking system that maintains the inventory and performance status of woodworking cutting tools. Introduced at IWF in August, the Intooligence system uses two-dimensional bar codes etched onto the cutting heads and blades.

Etching makes the markings durable enough to withstand the rigors of woodworking operations. The bar codes are accompanied by a number that can be manually entered in lieu of scanning. Tools are logged in and out when they are placed into service or removed for sharpening or general maintenance.

While Intooligence serves a fundamental value of maintaining the whereabouts of tools — woodshops have been known to accumulate expensive cutting tools in boxes stashed here and there around the shop — the system also creates a new performance and productivity measure for woodworking operations, putting a number on the length of service of tools, or even the number of feet produced before tools must be sharpened or replaced. This allows custom woodworking shops, for example, to incorporate tool wear into estimates. It also can provide real-world cost-benefit guidance on whether the use of harder, higher grade but more expensive tools may provide better value when longevity is weighed against replacement expense.

Intooligence was developed by a team of engineers under the aegis of Elkhart, IN-based tooling firm Riverside Tool Corp., where CEO Ron Migedt has charted a course for Intooligence to become an independent industry standard for tool identification. Migedt says he expects to spin it off as a free-standing company early next year. The value and need for a service like Intooligence seems apparent. Many woodworking operations have trouble tracking tooling heads and blades for cutting machinery. A minority of highly organized operations have manual inventory systems. But frequently shops end up with a box of miscellaneous tooling heads and blades, orphans that carry no record of their origins, age, wear or usage history.

Migedt, who is also president of Intooligence, brings his 25 years of experience in the woodworking tooling industry to the initiative. Jim Baad, Intooligence vice president, brings five years of information technology expertise, plus several years spent in the woodworking industry. This allows him to serve as a bridge between the needs of the industry and the capabilities of information technology for Intooligence. Travis Stutsman, director of development for Intooligence, brings years of programming experience from various industries and is the architect of how Intooligence is programmed.

Migedt has been in talks with tooling suppliers regarding adoption of the system as an industry-wide woodworking cutting tool and blade inventory management standard. So far Tigra has agreed to adopt it, says Migedt. And Riverside Tools tooling will also carry the Intooligence bar codes.

The Intooligence system places checkpoints around a shop to collect data about how tools are being used. That data is securely transmitted back to Intooligence servers, and is organized and displayed to managers via a secure web-based interface available anywhere your company can access the Internet.

Intooligence has a number of additional features and benefits for operations business managers, Migedt says. In addition to allowing plants to track usage of tooling purchase and service costs, and providing a real-time analysis of cost-per-foot for tooling or groups of tools, as it gathers job data Intooligence can collect settings and specifications, to allow quicker set-up, says Migedt, improving efficiency. It also provides budgeting data, and purchase price and service costs are also tracked in Intooligence.

The service history of tools is instantly viewable on all tools in the Intooligence database. Managers can view estimated costs and lead times, delivery dates, and make service comments about tools. A full history of service work on a tool is kept with all the basic information. Once service work is completed, personnel can upload an updated printout, balancing certificate, inspection report and even photos.

Other features include alerts sent by Intooligence when a tool is broken or damaged or when it has been checked onto a machine for the first time. And it can ensure the tooling is following the right production path — heading to the machine for which it is intended. Intooligence tracks all standard consumable tool items like solid carbide router bits, tipped router bits, saw blades and more.
Intooligence also will track current levels of tooling, consumption of tooling and how many tools are disposed of per week, month, or even year.

Tools that come into the shop already bearing the Intooligence bar code won’t have to be entered into the system. It will do that the first time the tool is scanned, Migedt says. Tooling also can be evaluated based on hard performance data.

What’s It Cost
The Intooligence system, when purchased with a controller cart (shown on page 30) costs $8,499, which includes 90 days service. Licensing is $50 monthly per seat for users of the software. Intooligence personnel will come on location with a portable etching laser to place bar codes on existing cutting tool inventory.

Intooligence already is updating and expanding applications as it rolls out the product. It recently added a preventative maintenance feature that will alert maintenance personnel when a machine is due for maintenance based on machine hours recorded by the tooling and cutters.

Implementation of the system in a plant is quick and easy, the company says. “The speed at which we feel Intooligence can be implemented is as fast as the customer wishes to roll the solution out,” says Baad. “Because we just need to etch tools, and then upload specifications, installations can be very quick, so a whole plant or a single machine install is easily done.”

Intooligence placed a six part dramatized “investigative report” at intooligence.com to explain the woodworking tooling problem, and its implications. Without a system such as this in place, “There is no way you know how much your tooling costs you, per product,” concludes the private investigator in part six of the series.

 
The Intooligence system incorporates scanners and controllers to track tooling usage
throughout the plant.

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