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Title:
APPARATUS AND METHOD FOR CAPTURING MACHINE OR EQUIPMENT DOWNTIME DATA
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2008/048191
Kind Code:
A2
Abstract:
An apparatus (100) and method for capturing machine or equipment downtime data is disclosed herein. In a preferred embodiment, the apparatus (110) comprises means for detecting downtime of a machine (112), two CCTV cameras (102,104) arranged to survey activities associated with the machine (112) and a Digital Video Recorder (DVR) 106 arranged to record video images from the cameras (102,104). The apparatus (100) also includes means for triggering the DVR (106) to begin recording when the downtime of a machine (112) is detected. An apparatus and method for monitoring activities at an area of interest is also disclosed.

Inventors:
NG, Whee Keng (Blk 401, #08-535Jurong West St. 42, Singapore 1, 64040, SG)
PHUA, Swee Hoe (Blk 97 Cashew Heights, Cashew Road #15-06, Singapore 8, 67966, SG)
NG, Choon Tiong (31 International Business Park #04-05Creative Resource, Singapore 1, 60992, SG)
Application Number:
SG2007/000353
Publication Date:
April 24, 2008
Filing Date:
October 17, 2007
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
NG, Whee Keng (Blk 401, #08-535Jurong West St. 42, Singapore 1, 64040, SG)
PHUA, Swee Hoe (Blk 97 Cashew Heights, Cashew Road #15-06, Singapore 8, 67966, SG)
IFOCUS PTE LTD (31 International Business Park #04-05, Creative Resource, Singapore 1, 60992, SG)
NG, Choon Tiong (31 International Business Park #04-05Creative Resource, Singapore 1, 60992, SG)
International Classes:
G05B19/418; G07C3/14
Domestic Patent References:
Foreign References:
US6211905B1
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
POH, Chee Kian, Daniel (Lloyd Wise, Tanjong PagarP O Box 636, Singapore 6, 91081, SG)
Download PDF:
Claims:

CLAIMS

1. Apparatus for capturing machine or equipment downtime data, the apparatus comprising means for detecting downtime of a machine or equipment, an image capturing device arranged to capture an image of a monitored area associated with the machine or equipment; means for triggering the capture of the image by the image capturing device when the downtime is detected.

2. Apparatus according to claim 1 , wherein the downtime includes an unscheduled stoppage of the machine or equipment.

3. Apparatus according to claim 1 or 2, wherein the image capture is synchronised to the downtime of the machine.

4. Apparatus according to claim 1 or 2, wherein after the machine resumes operation, the image capture device is arranged to continue capturing images of the area for a predetermined time period.

5. Apparatus according to any preceding claim, further comprising motion sensing means arranged to detect physical movement in an area of interest and the image capturing device is arranged to

capture an image of the monitored area when no movement is detected within a predetermined time period.

6. Apparatus according to claim 5, wherein activation of the motion sensing means is in accordance with a time schedule.

7. Apparatus according to claim 6, wherein if no motion is detected within the predetermined time period within the time schedule, an image of the monitored area is captured.

8. Apparatus according to any preceding claim, wherein an image of the area includes activities of a user responsible for the machine or equipment's normal operation.

9. Apparatus according to any preceding claim, wherein the image capturing device includes a video recorder, and the image captured includes video images.

10. A method for capturing machine or equipment downtime data, the method comprising the steps of: detecting downtime of a machine or equipment; and when the downtime is detected, capturing an image of a monitored area associated with the machine or equipment.

11. A method according to claim 10, wherein the downtime includes an unscheduled stoppage of the machine or equipment.

12. A method according to claim 10 or 11 , further comprising the step of synchronising the image capture to the downtime of the machine.

13. A method according to claim 10 or 11 , wherein after the machine resumes operation, continue capturing images of the monitored area for a predetermined time period.

14. A method according to any of claims 10 to 13, further comprising the steps of detecting physical movement, and when no movement is detected within a predetermined time period, capturing an image of the monitored area.

15. A method according to claim 14, further comprising the step of activating the motion sensor in accordance with a time schedule.

16. A method according to claim 15, further comprising the step of capturing an image of the area if no motion is detected within the predetermined time period within the time schedule.

17. A method according to any of claims 10 to 16, wherein an image of the area includes activities of a user responsible for the machine or equipment's normal operation.

18. A method according to any of claims 10 to 17, further comprising the step of capturing video images of the area.

19. Apparatus for monitoring activities at an area of interest, the apparatus comprising motion sensing means arranged to detect physical movement, an image capturing device arranged to capture an image of the area of interest, and means for triggering the capture of the image by the image capturing device when no physical movement is detected by the motion sensing means within a predetermined time period.

20. Apparatus according to claim 19, wherein the area of interest includes a manufacturing or production site.

21. A method for monitoring activities at an area of interest, the method comprising the steps of: detecting presence of physical movement, and if no physical movement is detected within a predetermined time period, capturing an image of the area of interest.

22. A method according to any of claims 10 to 18, further comprising the steps of: recording the downtime data in an event log.

23. A method according to claim 22, further comprising the steps of selecting the event log, and displaying the captured image that corresponds to the selected event log.

24. A method for capturing machine or equipment downtime data, the method comprising the steps of: detecting downtime of a machine or equipment; and when the downtime is detected, detecting physical movement in an area of interest associated with the machine or equipment, and upon detecting the physical movement, capturing an image of a monitored area associated with the machine or equipment.

25. A method according to claim 24, wherein the area of interest is different from the monitored area.

26. A method according to claim 24, wherein the area of interest overlaps with the monitored area.

27. Apparatus for capturing machine or equipment downtime data according to any of claims 1 to 4, the apparatus further comprising: motion detection means for detecting physical movement within an area of interest, wherein the image capturing device is operable to capture an

image of the monitored area associated with the machine or equipment when the downtime is detected by the downtime detection means and when physical movement is detected by the motion detection means.

28. Apparatus for capturing machine or equipment downtime data, the apparatus comprising a video image capturing device arranged to capture video images of a monitored area associated with the machine or equipment, means for creating an event stamp in the captured video images corresponding to downtime of the machine or equipment.

29. A method for capturing machine or equipment downtime data, the method comprising the steps of: capturing video images of a monitored area associated with the machine or equipment; detecting when the machine or equipment is down or not operational; and creating an event stamp in the captured video images corresponding to the downtime of the machine or equipment.

30. Apparatus for capturing machine or equipment downtime data, the apparatus comprising a video image capturing device arranged to capture video images of a monitored area associated with the machine or equipment,

means for creating an event stamp in the captured video images corresponding to absence of physical movement in an area of interest within a predetermined time period.

31. A method for capturing machine or equipment downtime data, the method comprising the steps of: capturing video images of a monitored area associated with the machine or equipment; detecting presence of physical movement within an area of interest,; and creating an event stamp in the captured video images corresponding to absence of physical movement within a predetermined time period.

Description:

Apparatus and Method For Capturing Machine or Equipment Downtime

Data

Background and Field of the Invention

This invention relates to apparatus and method for capturing machine or equipment downtime data, more particularly but not exclusively to user activities at a production or manufacturing site when a machine or equipment is not operational.

Manufacturers usually need to balance between constraints of time and production output in order to meet customer orders. In a production environment, most manufacturing tasks are undertaken by machines but production associates or operators are required to perform certain tasks that cannot be automated and which are required for the machines to operate. For example, a pick-and-place machine in electronic component assembly requires components to be fed to the machine and an operator is required to check and ensure that the correct components are fed to the machine and to replenish the supply if the components are almost used up. Of course, if the operator is not doing the job properly, then the machine's proper operation is interrupted, for example when the machine detects that there are no more components left to pick and place, it halts operation. There are also the engineers or technicians that operate the machines in accordance with production requirements, for example, adjusting parameters of the machine in accordance with a particular product that the machine is producing and fine-tuning the parameters if the

products being produced are not in accordance with requirements. Thus, unnecessary stoppage of the machine could occur when the engineers or technicians did not program the machines properly resulting in unnecessary readjustment of parameters. Also, when a machine breaks down, it needs to be attended to by service personnel so that it can be operational again within the shortest possible time, otherwise the production output would be affected. Of course, if a service personnel is delinquent in attending to service calls, the machine would be down longer than expected. Thus, in a manufacturing environment, managing the human aspects is as important as ensuring that the machines run smoothly.

It is therefore common to employ measures to manage the human aspects of a manufacturing process. Normally, a production supervisor or manager leads a team of production personnel and part of the supervisor's responsibility is ensuring that the machines' operations are not interrupted unnecessarily. Another form of monitoring commonly used is production data. The output of machines and human operators are recorded and such data is useful in identifying production bottlenecks or productivity of a particular operator. A more stringent form of monitoring could be in the form of video recording equipment where the activities at a production site are continuously surveyed and if a fault occurs, for example, a machine is not producing at a rate expected, then the recording is reviewed to identify the root cause.

It is an object of the invention to provide an apparatus and method for capturing machine or equipment downtime data to provide the public with an useful choice.

Summary of the Invention

In general terms, the invention relates to an apparatus and method for capturing what happens when a machine or equipment's normal operation is interrupted, in particular whether the interruption is being attended to for recovery of the machine or equipment.

In a first specific expression of the invention, there is provided apparatus for capturing machine or equipment downtime data, the apparatus comprising means for detecting downtime of a machine or equipment, an image capturing device arranged to capture an image of an area associated with the machine or equipment; and means for triggering the capture of the image by the image capturing device when the downtime is detected.

An advantage of the described embodiment, is that since triggering of the image capture is based on detection of the downtime of a machine, the image captured will show what happens when the machine or equipment is down and thus, only data of interest is captured. To elaborate, when investigating why a particular machine is producing below expectations, the upper management is most likely to be concerned with what happens when the machine is down or

not operational. They are unlikely to be concerned with what happens during the uptime of the machine. Thus, using such selective capturing, what is recorded is what the upper management is interested or concerned of and only the relevant information is scrutinised and time is saved in the process.

Preferably, the downtime includes an unscheduled stoppage of the machine or equipment since normally an unscheduled stoppage is what concerns the management.

To be more selective in the recording, the image capture may be synchronised to the downtime of the machine. In the alternative, when the machine halts operation and the machine resumes operation thereafter, the image capture device is arranged to continue capturing images of the area for a predetermined time period. This is to monitor the activities (or absence thereof) until the machine is running smoothly.

The apparatus may further comprise a motion sensor arranged to detect physical movement and the image capturing device may be arranged to capture an image of the area when no movement is detected within a predetermined time period. This is to ensure that the machine's operation is continuously monitored by the relevant personnel.

The activation of the motion sensor may be in accordance with a time schedule. For example, if no motion is detected within the predetermined time period within the time schedule, an image of the area is captured. In the described

embodiment, the time schedule includes a In-process quality control inspection time schedule, and this is useful to ensure that the responsible personnel carries out the inspection as planned.

Preferably, an image of the area includes activities of a user responsible for the machine or equipment's normal operation. Advantageously, the image capturing device includes a video recorder, and the image captured includes video images.

In a second specific expression of the invention, there is provided a method of capturing machine or equipment downtime data, the method comprising the steps of: detecting downtime of a machine or equipment; and when the downtime is detected, capturing an image of an area associated with the machine or equipment.

In a third specific expression of the invention, there is provided apparatus for monitoring activities at an area of interest, the apparatus comprising a motion sensor arranged to detect physical movement, an image capturing device arranged to capture an image of the area of interest, means for triggering the capture of the image by the image capturing device when no physical movement is detected by the motion sensor within a predetermined time period.

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With such an arrangement, this is useful to ensure that the area of interest has physical movement, but if no movement is detected within the time period, then an image of the area is captured so that someone concerned can review the image to understand why there were no activities. The apparatus is particularly useful in a manufacturing or production environment. For example, if a production associate has been assigned to monitor the production output of a machine, the apparatus is arranged to detect his/her presence. The concept here is that if the associate's presence is detected, no image of the area is being captured since the understanding is that the associate is carrying out the duties assigned to him/her. However, if the presence of the associate cannot be detected within a predetermined time period (i.e. because there is no physical movement), then an image is captured since this can be used by the management as root cause analysis exercise, for example, when the machine assigned to that associate breaks down.

In a fourth specific expression of the invention, there is provided a method for monitoring activities at an area of interest, the method comprising the steps of: detecting presence of physical movement, and if no physical movement is detected within a predetermined time period, capturing an image of the area of interest.

In a fifth specific expression of the invention, there is provided a method for capturing machine or equipment downtime data, the method comprising the steps of:

detecting downtime of a machine or equipment; and when the downtime is detected, detecting physical movement in an area of interest associated with the machine or equipment, and upon detecting the physical movement, capturing an image of a monitored area associated with the machine or equipment. In a sixth specific expression of the invention, there is provided apparatus for capturing machine or equipment downtime data, the apparatus comprising a video image capturing device arranged to capture video images of a monitored area associated with the machine or equipment, means for creating an event stamp in the captured video images corresponding to downtime of the machine or equipment.

In a seventh specific expression of the invention, there is provided a method for capturing machine or equipment downtime data, the method comprising the steps of: capturing video images of a monitored area associated with the machine or equipment; detecting when the machine or equipment is down or not operational; and creating an event stamp in the captured video images corresponding to the downtime of the machine or equipment.

In an eighth specific expression of the invention, there is provided apparatus for capturing machine or equipment downtime data, the apparatus comprising a video image capturing device arranged to capture video images of a monitored area associated with the machine or equipment,

means for creating an event stamp in the captured video images corresponding to absence of physical movement in an area of interest within a predetermined time period.

In a ninth specific expression of the invention, there is provided a method for capturing machine or equipment downtime data, the method comprising the steps of: capturing video images of a monitored area associated with the machine or equipment; detecting presence of physical movement within an area of interest,; and creating an event stamp in the captured video images corresponding to absence of physical movement within a predetermined time period.

Features described in relation to one expression of the invention may also be applicable to the other expressions of the invention.

Brief Description of the Drawings

Embodiments of the invention will now be described, by way of example, with reference to the accompanying drawings in which,

Figure 1 shows a setup of an apparatus for capturing machine/equipment downtime data at a production site according to an embodiment of the present invention;

Figure 2a is a flow chart illustrating how the downtime data is captured according to the embodiment of Figure 1 ;

Figure 2b is a flow chart showing capturing of images of the production site according to another embodiment of the invention; and Figure 3 is a screen capture of production data and events logged in relation to a machine's downtime.

Detailed Description of the Preferred Embodiments

Figure 1 shows a typical setup of an apparatus 100 for capturing machine or equipment downtime data at a production site 110 according to a first preferred embodiment of the present invention. The apparatus 100 comprises an image capturing device and in this embodiment, the device comprises two CCTV cameras 102,104 connected to a digital video recorder (DVR) 106. The apparatus further comprises a local computing device and in the present embodiment, a personal computer (PC) 108 is used to control the apparatus and/or to capture manufacturing data and this will become apparent later on in the description. The DVR 106 is communicatively coupled to remote PCs 109 via a suitable communication medium 116 such as WAN, ISDN, PSTN or Internet, and this allows the recorded images of the DVR 106 to be view remotely. For example, the production site 110 is located in a different country and someone from the management wants to view the data recorded can do so remotely. The DVR 106 may similarly be accessible by the local PC 108 via a LAN 117.

As shown in Figure 1 , the cameras 102,104 are arranged to monitor an area of the production site 110 stationed with production machines or equipment 112 for making/assembling products, for example injection moulding machines, printing machines, wave soldering machines and pick-and-place machines for assembling electronic components on a printed circuit board etc. Normally, the operation of such machines is controlled by "Start-Stop" buttons/switches i.e. depressing the "Start" button starts the operation of the machine whilst depressing the "STOP" button stops the machine, and the "STOP" button can thus be used to trigger the DVR 106 to begin recording. In the present embodiment, an injection moulding machine 112 which has "Start/Stop" switches to control the operation of the machine is used as an example. The machine 112 is adapted with an interface controller 113 such as industrial controller model: CJ1M-CPU11-ETN CPU unit with Ethernet, from Omron™, so that the machine can be coupled to the DVR 106 and local PC 108. The controller 113 acts as an interface between the machine 112 and the DVR 106/PC 108 to relay information about the status of the machine 112 to the DVR 106/PC 108. In particular, the controller 113 is used to monitor the status of the buttons/switches and production counter of the machine 112 and depending on the status, trigger the DVR 106 to begin/stop recording and the local PC 108 to perform data logging and/or supervisory controls.

In this embodiment, the cameras 102,104 do not have any recording functions and thus, the images are selectively recorded on a DVR 106 when triggered by a triggering signal 114 from the controller 113. Similarly, the triggering signal 114 is channelled to the PC having a software program, for example Omron™

PLC Reporter, to record the production data. An example of production data that is recorded is illustrated in Figure 3 and these may be:

1) Date and time of Machine Start and Stop.

2) Date and time of video ON/OFF 3) Video record duration.

4) Production counters.

5) Number of stoppages.

It should be noted that all the above production data logging can be extended to more than one machine on the production site plant (as shown in the worksheet in Figure 3 which illustrates about seven machines), which can be performed using a single controller 113.

An operation of the apparatus 100 for capturing data during the downtime of the injection moulding machine 112 will now be described using the flow chart of Figure 2a.

At step 200, initialisation is carried out which includes initialising production counters of the machine 112 to zero and turning on the local PC 108, DVR 106 and controller 113.

Thereafter, the injection moulding machine is powered on at step 202, which triggers the DVR 106 to start recording images transmitted from the cameras 102,104. It should be apparent that the triggering can be derived from the power ON/OFF switch of the machine to trigger the recording of the DVR 106 at step 204 and the recording continues until production begins and continues smoothly

for a period of time. The recording of user activities during power on of the machine is preferred (although not necessary) by some manufacturers to monitor what actions have been taken i.e. start-up activities to ready the machines for production as soon as possible.

In this embodiment, the machine has a "Start PB" button, which when depressed is used to initiate the machine's operation i.e. to start production as shown at step 206. If this button is not depressed, the video recording continues but when this button is depressed (to signify the start of the machine's operation), the production count is logged by the production counter (not shown) of the machine as shown at step 208 and this also triggers the DVR 106 to continue recording for a predetermined time period and in this embodiment, 15 minutes (see step 210). The production count is also monitored by the PLC reporter running on the PC 108.

At the end of the 15 minutes, the recording by the DVR 106 is switched off and no image is recorded and this is to monitor activities up until the machine is running smoothly. However, when the machine's operation is interrupted by an operator depressing the Stop button "Stop PB pressed?" at step 212, for example, because there is something wrong with the machine's output and the parameters of the machine needs to be adjusted, the controller 113 sends a triggering signal 114 to the DVR 106 to begin recording again at step 214.

As would be apparent from step 216, the recording continues until "Start PB" is pressed to begin the machine's normal operation but it is envisaged that the recording time period can be adjusted or programmed accordingly. During the period in which the machine is not operational, the controller 113 also monitors the main power ON/OFF switch of the machine 112 to determine whether the switch is turned off or not, as illustrated in step 220. If the main switch is not turned off, indicating that a fault has occurred (rather than a scheduled shutdown of the machine), the recording continues.

After the error that caused the stoppage is rectified, the operator presses the "Start PB" at step 216, and this sends a triggering signal 114 to the PC 108 at step 218 to update that an unscheduled stoppage has occurred and has been rectified. The process flow then loops back to step 208 to begin the production count and recording continues for 15 minutes as explained earlier. It is preferred to continue recording for this time period to determine whether the operator/technician attending to the fault remains to ensure that the machine is running smoothly or the operator/technician simply walks away without monitoring the performance of the machine after each stoppage. In short, the smooth running of the machine is crucial whenever the "Start PB" button is pressed. However, it is envisaged that the recording may be synchronised to the machine's downtime depending on the requirements and application such that the recording stops when the "Start PB" button is pressed.

Thus, it should be apparent that the recording is initiated and images of the production area captured only when the machine is down or not operational but

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14 if the machine is up and operating, then no recording of the images from the cameras 102,104 is necessary (although during start-up, it is preferred to capture images of the area of interest to ensure smooth running of the machine). The machine 112 may be downed for a scheduled maintenance and this requires shutting down the mains (after depressing the "STOP PB" button to stop operation) and thus, once the main power switch is turned off, the images recorded in the DVR 106 and similarly the data that is recorded by the PLC Reporter, are saved for that session, as shown at step 222, and Figure 3 shows a screen capture of a report that shows the DVR record time and the events logged in a spreadsheet format.

To view the captured image, a user clicks on a desired cell, and the captured image is then displayed.

The first embodiment may be enhanced to include additional features and this forms a second embodiment of the present invention. In the second embodiment, a motion sensor (not shown) is employed and placed strategically to detect presence of physical movement or activities. Depending on requirements, the motion sensor may be mounted on a nearby wall, the body of the machine or incorporated with the cameras 102,104.

This is particularly useful to ensure that the responsible person (e.g. Quality

Control inspectors) conducts their regular checks on the output/performance of the machines according to a time schedule, and this is shown in Figure 2b. The time schedule is managed by the PLC reporter software application and relayed

to the controller 113. In the alternative or in addition, since the motion sensor is connected to the controller 113, the time schedule can also be managed by the controller 113. Preferably, the conditions for image capture are a) Production machine is running, b) scheduled inspection time (managed by controller 113) is up (can be 1 or 2 hours depending on type of production setup), and c) no motion.

As explained above, once the machine is running smoothly, the recording by the DVR 106 is stopped (i.e. after step 210) and this is when the controller 113 monitors whether a scheduled check (eg. In-process quality check - IQC) should be carried out by an IQC inspector at step 300. When a scheduled IQC check should be conducted by a specified time, the motion sensor is activated at step 302. The purpose of the motion sensor to detect presence of physical movement and if no movement is detected, then the DVR 106 is triggered to begin recording for 5 minutes at step 204. The short video recording aims to provide evidence that no one was present to check the machine at a scheduled IQC time to show failure of the IQC duty.

However, if motion is detected, then someone is attending to the machine 112 and there is an assumption that it is the IQC inspector and at step 306 the production counter is logged (see Figure 3, which shows a machine counter of value 320). The counter can be particularly useful. For example, as described above, the in-process ON time will capture images of the production area when no one is inspecting the production machine at a scheduled time and this information may be cross referenced to the production counter in case of

customer complaints (e.g. of rejects). This information can assist the management to narrow down sorting of rejects with reference to the production counter and designated inspection time.

After updating the production counter, the controller 113 reverts to the usual task of monitoring whether the "Stop PB" button is pressed to halt the operation of the machine at step 308 and if yes, the flow loops back to step 214 of figure 2a and the steps are continued as explained earlier.

The described embodiments should not be construed as limitative. For example, in the preferred embodiment, a "Start/Stop" button for activating the machine's operation is used to trigger the recording. However, other methods are also possible as long as there is a way to determine that the machine is down. For example, in an injection moulding machine, a charging signal is also available from the machine which indicates that the machine is ready to charge material for an injection moulding process. If the machine is down or its operation interrupted, then the charging signal will not be present and thus, one way of detecting the downtime of a machine is to detect the presence of the charging signal. In the present embodiment, a sensor (not shown) is used to detect the presence of the charging signal but if the charging signal is not detected at the end of a time period (such as 15 seconds but it is apparent that this time interval depends on the mode of operation and type of injection moulding machine), then this indicates that the machine is down and a trigger signal 114 is sent to the DVR 106.

In the described embodiments, when the "STOP PB" button is pressed to stop the machine's operation, the DVR 106 is triggered to record images from the cameras 102,104 for a period till START PB pressed (step 216) or Main m/c switch OFF (step 220). The recording may continue for as long as the machine is not operating to capture the operator activities and whether any personnel is trying to rectify the machine stoppage i.e. until the "Start PB" button is pressed to begin the machine's operation. In this way, the recording of the DVR 106 is synchronised to the downtime of the machine. Also, it is envisaged that the recording of the captured images may continue for a predetermined time period beyond the downtime i.e. when the machine is up and operational, or until the output of the machine is constant.

Other video recorders can be used, not necessarily DVR 106, although the latter is preferred. Also, if the cameras come with built-in recording functions, then it may not be necessary to have separate recording equipment. Also, still cameras may be employed although this is again not preferred.

Also, the activation of the motion detection of the second embodiment is dependent on whether there is a scheduled IQC inspection, but this may not be so. For example, the motion detection can be activated as long as the machine is running but if no motion is detected within a certain period for example 30 minutes, despite the machine running smoothly, the video recording may be activated to capture images of the production area since it may be of interest to know why no one is monitoring the performance of the machines. Such "reverse

logic" monitoring is advantageous to promote a disciplined manufacturing environment.

A further variation is that if the motion detection detects no activity within a predetermined period, this may not immediately trigger the image capture. Instead, a control signal may be sent to re-configure/re-program the motion detection such that when motion is detected, this triggers the image capture. Of course, the time period between the re-configuration or re-programming and the detection of the motion may be recorded.

The motion sensing may be implemented by hardware or software.

As an alternative to the DVR 106 described, a video recording device with event stamp capabilities may be used. In such a case, the video recording device is similarly used to monitor an area associated with a machine/equipment but the video recording device is continuously recording video images of the area. When a downtime event occurs, for example, such as depressing of a "Stop" burton to stop the running of the machine, this is used to create an event stamp "down" in the recorded video. Similarly, when the machine resumes operation, a further event stamp "up" is tagged to that particular part of the recorded video associated with the machine resuming operation. In this way, when a person wishing to review the recorded video associated with the downtime of a machine simply advances the video to that particular event stamp "down" without a need to review the entire recorded video and this saves time and expense. Likewise, the recorded video may be edited such that downtime

videos over a period of time (for e.g. one week) are extracted and compiled for viewing by the upper management, without a need to review details which are not of concerned.

The above proposal may similarly be adopted for capturing images of the area depending on whether any personnel is at the area, instead of being tied to the downtime of the machine/equipment. For example, if no personnel movement is detected within a time period, an event stamp is created in the video image to identify that event. Thus, when reviewing the video recording, the person can simply advance to that event stamp to review the recording to determine why there is no one present within that particular time, for example, during a scheduled maintenance.

Having now fully described the invention, it should be apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art that many modifications can be made hereto without departing from the scope as claimed.