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ICP DAS’s Stack Light Monitoring Solution in CNC Machining Production Line

The ICP DAS‘s tSL series stack light monitoring modules adopted by the customer enable real-time monitoring of the light status of the CNC machines. The data collected is sent to MDC series data concentrators through Modbus RTU and then transmitted to the control center via Modbus TCP, which realizes unified management of machine productivity and improves machine availability. Through precise control and management, ICP DAS‘s modules assist factories in implementing digital transformation, thereby achieving the goal of carbon reduction and adopting ESG principles.


The customer is an aluminum alloy manufacturer and supplier, mainly producing carbon fiber bike frames, shock absorbers, accessories, and nanoscale metal materials. Previously, the personnel carried out on-site inspections of the CNC production lines in the factory, as well as manually recorded the machine’s performance. To reduce human errors when noting down the data and boost production efficiency, the customer hopes to implement remote and unified management of the machine’s performance and increase machine availability through IoT technologies.

This case study illustrates how ICP DAS‘s stack light monitoring solutions help the customer perform remote and unified management of the machine’s performance and the availability of CNC machines.

ICP DAS's stack light monitoring solution

In this case study, ICP DAS‘s stack light monitoring modules are integrated with the MDC-714 Modbus data concentrator, allowing the control center to rapidly receive instant information on production lines. When an anomaly occurs, the management personnel are notified and can troubleshoot the problem immediately. These reduce the machine’s idle time and achieve manufacturing goals.

10 CNC machines are equipped with a tSL-PA4R1 stack light monitoring module each to read the value indicating the status of stack lights. Every tSL-PA4R1 stack light monitoring module can send the data to the same MDC-714 data concentrator via Modbus RTU. The MDC-714 data concentrator will then transmit the received data to a control center computer altogether. The illustration and solution structure are as follows:

System structure diagram

ICP DAS‘s stack light monitoring modules can be categorized into two series: the 4-channel tSL tiny series supporting RS-485 and Ethernet communication interfaces, and the 6-channel SL wireless series supporting RS-485, Ethernet, and Wi-Fi communication interfaces. Both series provide DC or AC digital input and 1 channel for relay output to monitor the machine’s stack light status without affecting their operations. Thus, these reduce human-labor demand on-site and also cut the machine’s idle time. In this case, the client uses the tSL-PA4R1 tiny stack light monitoring modules to monitor the light status of the machines and send the obtained data to the MDC-714 Modbus data concentrator.

The MDC series Modbus data concentrators support Ethernet, RS-232, and RS-485 communication interfaces. As for the four data types like AI/ AO/DI/DO, each data provides 9600 data registers and can set up to 250 Modbus commands. The MDC series Modbus data concentrators can upgrade the equipment using the Modbus RTU protocol to communicate via the Modbus TCP protocol. The data that is read back from different slave devices will be combined into a continuous address format, allowing the host computer to read back the data of multiple slave devices at once. This replaces polling employed in the past and is time-saving, thereby increasing overall system performance. In this case, the MDC-714 Modbus data concentrator the client uses has 4 COM ports, each of which can connect up to 32 slave devices. Therefore, one MDC-714 Modbus data concentrator can receive stack light data from over 100 tSL-PA4R1 stack light monitoring modules.


  • Customizable color signals and detection of the flashing status

    ICP DAS‘s stack light monitoring modules allow clients to set the meaning of various color signals such as operating, idle, processing, and error occurred. The light signals are then combined to form a status value that can be directly read by the stack light monitoring modules. Hence, the stack light monitoring modules no longer have to interpret each light signal one by one. In addition to detecting the on-off status of the stack lights, it can also read the flashing status, monitoring the machine status all the time.

  • Report the historical data of the light status in time slots

    The stack light monitoring modules provide information about the historical data of the light status in time slots, allowing users to get the amount of time the machine spends on operating, troubleshooting, and processing. MES and ERP can be further integrated to calculate machine availability and analyze the reasons for the machine’s idle or standby status.

  • Low network load

    In addition to supporting the standard Modbus communication protocol, ICP DAS‘s stack light monitoring modules also support the MQTT communication protocol. In the past, regular polling of light status was required. But now, with the help of ICP DAS‘s modules, changes in the light status are immediately sent back to the control center, significantly reducing the network load.

  • Web-based configuration interface

    ICP DAS‘s stack light monitoring modules and MDC series Modbus data concentrators have a built-in web server that allows users to easily install and configure them without needing additional software or programming skills. Users can quickly log in to the module through a web browser on a smartphone or computer to set up configurations.

  • CSV file setting configuration. Easy equipment management

    The MDC series Modbus data concentrators support CSV file setting configuration, which can be edited in spreadsheet software or plain text files. After editing Modbus RTU commands in CSV and importing the files into the MDC series Modbus data concentrator, users can change the Modbus RTU commands of multiple slave devices simultaneously. In addition, users can add comments to Modbus RTU commands to improve readability, and protect the setting files with a password, thereby making the management of devices more secure and efficient.

Complete the remote monitoring system with ICP DAS’s EZ Data Logger software

ICP DAS‘s EZ Data Logger – a mini data logging software – provides simple settings, a user-friendly interface, and a simplified dashboard that can be used for small monitoring systems. Users can effortlessly build the data logger software and complete the data acquisition monitoring system without needing programming skills. The MDC-714 data concentrator adopted in this case study can be integrated with the EZ Data Logger. Therefore, the data transmitted by the MDC-714 data concentrator can be stored in a database and also be displayed on the EZ Data Logger‘s dashboard for data visualization. A real-time monitoring system is built simply.

For more information about the EZ Data Logger, please click on the link below:


It has been a goal for various enterprises to boost production efficiency and transform a labor-based factory into a smart & digital factory through IoT-connected machines. The maintenance staff can therefore perform real-time monitoring of machines effectively.

ICP DAS provides various solutions for factory personnel to monitor production line operations remotely. With IoT technologies, ICP DAS‘s solutions assist customers in realizing digital transformation in manufacturing. The management personnel can obtain data for analysis, calculate machine availability, and perform preventive maintenance and predictive diagnosis of machine failure to enhance the energy efficiency of machines and cut costs. At the same time, joining a collective effort to conserve energy and reduce carbon emissions.

Related products:

tSL-PA4R1 Single Stack Light Monitoring Module
MDC-714 Modbus Data Concentrator
EZ Data Logger

ICP DAS View All

ICP DAS was established in 1993 and strongly focuses on innovation and the enhancement of industrial automation technology. ICP DAS continuously endeavors to develop a comprehensive selection of products ranging from remote I/O controllers, distributed I/O modules, I/O data acquisition boards, programmable automation controllers, industrial communication modules, web-related products, motion control systems, SCADA/HMI software to automation solutions for applications critical to energy management, motion automation, smart factories, intelligent buildings, and smart cities. Our ambition is to provide a wide range of high-quality products and versatile applications, together with prompt and efficient services, that can be implemented to assist in the continued success of our clients worldwide.

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