Master class in increased efficiency
A furniture manufacturing company realized that the productivity of some of its production machines was merely 30%. This was supported solely by paper-based machine cycle times, production data and engineering calculations. When they asked the foremen how this is possible, they always referred to causes outside their control (e.g. the raw materials failed to arrive on time, machine maintenance, tool breakage, power outages).
The company management was not satisfied with a 30% productivity rate. They wished to find a solution to clarify the situation while preventing the shifting of responsibilities.
They came to the conclusion that they needed a measuring system that captures actual times and real data without any employee distortions. They precisely compiled the production data they required from the individual machines in order to achieve the desired outcome. They approached us, as a team of developers, to extract this data and provide them with both a hardware and software-based solution.
After exploring their precise needs, it became clear that it was necessary to collect information (start-stop, cycle times) directly from the machines. However, the operators also had to be provided with the option of reacting immediately in case of shutdowns and to justify downtime. Therefore, they required a solution that is connected to machine controls, while also providing the opportunity for employee interaction. In line of these facts, we decided on an operator panel that we fitted with industrial data collection units.
Thanks to the data collection units, we began collecting the actual machine cycle start and stop times and organizing them in a database. We provided the possibility for adding products, orders, machine groups, machines and downtime causes, as well as their parameters, through a closed interface in the system.
Employees could view the following data (in seconds) in real time for the machine in question on the operator panels:
name of manufactured product
current cycle time
conformity rate (%-based deviation between the prescribed and actual machine cycle time)
If the production machine shut down and the next item failed to arrive within a pre-defined period, a downtime cause window appeared, in which the operator could select the actual cause for the downtime.
With the OEEm industrial data collection system, we managed to increase the productivity of the machines from 30% to over 60-70%.
During the implementation phase, we witnessed another interesting phenomenon. When mounting the operator panels, yet before connecting the data collectors, the productivity suddenly increased by over 10%. Therefore, the simple mounting of the operator panels (without any technical function) had a mental effect on the employees that already resulted in immediate improvement of their performance.