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

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

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 can also provide real-world cost-benefit guidance on whether 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 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 VP, brings five years information technology expertise plus several years spent in the woodworking tooling industry. This allows him to serve as a bridge between the needs of the woodworking 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 wood industry 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 barcodes.

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. In addition to allowing plants to track usage of tooling purchase and service costs, and providing a live view 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.

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 on a tool, service personnel can upload an updated printout, balancing certificate, inspection report, 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 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 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. Tooling can also be evaluated based on hard performance data.

The Intooligence system, when purchased with a controller cart (shown) costs $8,499, and that pricing 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 placed a six part dramatized "investigative report" online to explain the woodworking tooling problem, and its implications.  "There is no way you know how much your tooling costs you, per product," concludes the private investigator in part six of the series. He suggests listeners check out Intooligence.

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