No tool left behind: Enabling non-IoT devices for shop floor connectivity

Shop floor connectivity describes how tools and devices connect and communicate with business systems and is at the center of all factory automation and digitization efforts. Without connectivity, manufacturers are left with a number of tools running as isolated systems with no centralized home for their operational data.

Connecting tools across the entire factory to one software platform like Pico MES ensures error-proofed processes that have significant downstream effects on factory efficiency, product quality, and profitability. Integrating tools is the first step to achieving full shop floor connectivity, and this means finding the quickest and most reliable way to enable each tool - regardless of its digital capabilities - to be fully compatible with our software and contribute meaningful performance data.

Direct wired signal vs. digital communication 

Many common factory tools, like the Kolver EDU 2AE/TOP torque controller, communicate via direct wired signal and lack the inherent capability to communicate with programs like Pico MES over the network or Bluetooth. They rely on USB connectivity to transmit result values to the software. Other network-connected torque tools, like the Kolver K-Ducer, support an ethernet-based industry protocol called Open Protocol.

We try to find ways to integrate as many tools as possible so you can truly experience the power of a connected shop floor.


LabJack to the rescue! 

Our device integrations team developed an intermediate device using a LabJack T4 to facilitate communication between tools like the Kolver EDU 2AE/TOP torque controller and Pico MES. Basically, it translates the direct wired signal into a language compatible with the Pico MES platform. This allows the torque controller to be fully integrated within the scope of Pico’s functionalities, including data collection, program selection, and enable/disable commands.

Kolver EDU 2AE/ TOP torque controller with LabJack T4

Kolver EDU 2AE/TOP/TA with LabJack T4

The LabJack is configured with two relay drivers, each of which are capable of selecting two programs. In total, one LabJack supports up to 4 program selections, including the ability to enable and disable the tool.

LabJack T4

LabJack T4

What's the takeaway?

Enabling your direct wired tools with the LabJack offers a cheaper alternative to replacing them altogether with more expensive tools that offer native over-the-network communication capabilities. It also opens the doors to purchasing more affordable tools in the future, since you can enable your device with the LabJack for a few hundred dollars - compared to the thousands more you might spend on a device with the built-in capability.

Connecting your tools is crucial to collecting data. For torque controllers, Pico MES records every torque fastening so you know what torque was applied for every fastening event. This data provides valuable insight into process performance and can improve overall quality control.


Adam Simon from our device integrations team explains why this new Kolver torque tool integration is unique.


We do the heavy lifting for you

Our team develops, tests, and deploys device integrations for commercially available tools so you don’t have to invest in hardware integration resources or create your own software. Connecting tools in Pico MES is plug-and-play, making it easy for you to digitally build out your factory and capture real-time data.

Pico MES starts at an affordable price of $24k/year for unlimited users and unrestricted access to our library of over 200 integrated factory tools. Don’t see your tool in our library? Send us an integration request.

Want to see another Kolver device integration in Pico MES? Check out this live demo to see a Kolver torque tool in action.


Torrence Williams, Pico MES and Dan Smith, Kolver Tools demonstrate the seamless integration between a Kolver torque tool and Pico MES.


Gain access to hundreds of solutions from a single platform

Step into the future of factory operations with Pico MES. Start your journey toward a more efficient, error-proof factory floor today.

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