Using a systematic methodology and tool support, we utilised the digitalisation of analogue data and achieved a sustainable increase of the availability of machinery and plant which had not previously been digitally connected to the company network.
Following a long period of insolvency and a change of ownership, our customer – one of the largest sand casting foundries in Europe – was faced with massive organisational, procedural and technological challenges. In the first year of the takeover, the strategic reorganisation of the company was mainly devoted to stabilising the business operations and thus production. An old plant with an inadequate analogue data collection (order data, parameters, lost working time, causes of loss, etc.) and a lack of optimisation processes (CIP) made it imperative to achieve transparency in relation to production data, and master the analysis of that data, as quickly as possible.
- Establish transparency relating to plant data, production parameters, and types of loss of the overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) organisation, technology and quality.
- Increase the OEE by means of reducing organisational losses through optimising the production organisation.
- Increase the OEE by means of reducing technical and qualitative losses through targeted optimisation of machinery, tools, and equipment as well as an effective fault management process.
- Increase efficiency in production management and production processes.
- Stabilise and increase system availability with the aim of clearing backorders.
Our first step was establishing transparency in relation to the types of losses occurring on machinery, tools and equipment, including their technical condition (damage, performance deficiencies, and maintenance bottlenecks). In addition, the actual lived processes on the shop floor were captured.
The second step is called “digitalisation of analogue data”. Depending on the situation, this involves deciding, for each potential source of data (e.g. a machine), how previously non-existent or usable data could be uniformly manually recorded and consolidated. This step can therefore involve manual (analogue) data or digital data which has not been networked up to now. For this purpose, shift and order logs are standardised and automated to the extent possible. Following extensive training for the production staff, the recording activities were monitored and supported in order to establish data transparency as quickly as possible.
The third step involves the data analysis in the KBC Production Monitor (an Excel/VBA-based database), which can be directly and universally deployed in companies. Through the transparency and details of losses (in the sense of the OEE) gained, the project team were able to very quickly infer where the priorities lay for the subsequent optimisation activities. The limited personnel and financial capacities could thus be put into action with a tight focus on the analysis of causes, and on defining and implementing actions. As a result of the high quality of data, hidden links could be revealed, for example between product quality and the use of tools in certain shifts or the occurrence of certain types of losses in the production of individual products.
Realisation of Potential
With our approach and the resulting transparency gained through the “digitalisation of analogue data”, it was possible to significantly increase the OEE (in some instances more than 20%) and thus stabilise production in very short timeframe. Our customer thereby realised not just an increased system availability but also created the breathing space they needed to proactively work on clearing performance deficiencies and maintenance bottlenecks.
Moreover, the foundation for the fourth step was laid: Efficiency in capturing data. By using a KBC “IoT Box”, within days the analogue data collection from machinery and plant can – retroactively, and independently from the respective IT infrastructure – be converted to a self-sufficient digital record – an efficacious building block for an effective and efficient digitalisation and networking of production data.
The combination of dedicated production know-how, enthusiasm for technology, impactful IT tools, and the hands-on mind-set of our consultants ensures a fast, visible, and sustainable (OEE) success for our customers.