Christina Larsen, Marketing Manager at Intouch Monitoring Limited, explains how using a Manufacturing Execution System (MES) is a simple way for plastics manufacturing firms to increase manufacturing efficiencies and make business more profitable.
Intouch Monitoring Limited will be exhibiting at PDM 2018 on Stand D035.
In manufacturing, profit is reliant on how efficient the shop floor is. Squeezing everything from your resources without compromising on quality is a challenge increasingly faced by manufacturers. So how can manufacturers stay competitive whilst maintaining or increasing profit?
Continuous improvement is key. Looking at existing processes and finding ways of making these more efficient and cost effective ultimately leads to a more profitable business. Without a mechanism that collects accurate data and standardises current systems, continuous improvement is often reactionary, where problems are only dealt with after they have become costly and problematic.
Making sure that you make optimum use of your resources by installing a Manufacturing Execution System (MES) is a quick, easy and cost effective way. Using Intouch Monitoring as an example, real-time scheduling, monitoring and reporting systems gives manufacturers the visibility to easily make continuous improvement decisions that can contribute to improving Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE); improving productivity; reducing lead time and production errors; and raising quality.
Being able to monitor production in real-time and having live and up-to-date information in any part of your factory removes the costs and errors of collecting production data manually. This enables your personnel to use their time more efficiently and the high visibility also motivates production staff to keep machines operational.
By using a live scheduling module that shows the progress of every job in the plan operators can get a graphical visualisation of machine loading and capacity utilisation.
Jobs can be highlighted for many reasons, such as tool changes, late jobs or resource clashes and takes shift pattern, planned maintenance, overtime and shutdowns into account. Better planning significantly reduces changeover time and the job schedule view gives details of each job enabling operators to prepare for up-coming tool changes.
By storing collected data, businesses are able to better track actual materials used and have increased accountability of material use to individual operators, which generally reduces waste. The data enables informed decisions to be made to streamline operations and monitor key processes to better control final product quality and achieve a “zero defect” policy.
Case Study: OnePlastics Group
One Plastics Group, a leading manufacturer of plastics components, implemented an Intouch Monitoring seven years ago on over 30 production machines in its manufacturing plant in Tamworth. As a direct result, it says it has “without question increased profitability”. Commenting, Dave Sheridan, Operations Manager, OnePlastics Tamworth, said: “At high level, Intouch has provided the information needed on OEE for us to make decisions on where Capex should be prioritised to increase ‘up time’ and quality of product.”
Sheridan said the Intouch system has given the company information on scrap, downtime and trends that has significantly contributed to its continuous improvement programmes. “We have reduced scrap by 1.4 across the sites by pinpointing the ‘actual’ scrap reasons and then working to resolve the cause of it. We use the scheduling Gantt Chart not only to schedule jobs, but equally important plan equipment servicing,” he continued. In addition, Sheridan says use of the MES system has given the company visibility of problemactic areas such as equipment, labour shortage or down time related to running out of bought-out materials. Uptime has improved across the site by a reported 10 per cent.
By using the Gantt Chart, the team is able to prepare for the next change. “We have improved change over times in some cells by 30 per cent,” Sheridan added. “This is really important as we have over 170 changes across the site per week. All of this without question increased our profitability of the business.” In addition, the OnePlastics Group says it has won new business by implementing the Intouch MES and has received endorsements from its customers.