Automation has been a driving force in production and manufacturing over the past few years. Automation and control engineers are becoming more and more valuable as improvements in manufacturing become more necessary to keep up with technology. Automation can bring great value to companies and improve production quality and efficiency. Companies need to evaluate how automation can improve their business and give the company a step up in competing with other manufactures.
As the manufacturing world rapidly modernizes, manufacturers must be at the top of their games from broad new strategies to fine-tuned details. Today, there are sensor products on the market that allow for remote monitoring f0r everything from home utilities and amenities such as a pool to security systems. Many set-ups are as simple as loading up an app on a tablet or smartphone.
While this is indeed a positive change, HMIs must link to remote access to evolve as a useful tool. Going beyond simple monitoring and interaction, HMIs create a hub of control that many pieces of technology, such as older sensor products and other systems, often lack. In addition, most of today’s HMI systems are web-based, meaning that open standards are beginning to become a relevant powerhouse in the industrial market once again.
New technology in production management has begun to revolutionize the production industry. The implementation of this technology is relatively simple. You simply pay a company to code and install whatever tracking system you decide to go with. The bigger issue with the implementation is getting your employees to use a new system and keep up with it. It requires them to change their habits as well as get new training in some cases. How can you help motivate your employees to change to the new procedures so you can see benefits in the long run?
As technology advances and better automation systems are made to perform various functions, it reduces the need for human workers in manufacturing. While this technology has been developing rapidly, there are still many flaws in the system. Some people might think that either having a fully automated shop or a staff of able workers would be the optimal choice to run their manufacturing process. Another and quite possibly a better option is to have an automated system run by workers that are intertwined.
One of, if not the most important term in manufacturing to understand is OEE, or overall equipment effectiveness. In general, OEE is the measurement of plant equipment’s technical performance in accomplishing a task so that the manufacturer can judge the effectiveness of the asset. They can then use this information in order to add value to the business through the analysis of capacity losses or gains through the part.
However, it is very complicated to bring about real change and improvements in these systems, and the process can be very confusing. Therefore, it is necessary to know and understand that there are three major terms as it refers to OEE:
- Technical Aspect
- Active Supervision
The first of these pillars is the technical aspect of OEE, which is a very broad and far-reaching topic that encompasses many potential technical issues that could affect OEE. One important place to start is identifying the levers that can improve the process flow and, eventually, increase output. Then, it is important to take these and transfer them into a well-constructed plan to improve and perfect a company’s OEE. Some of these ‘levers’ could include:
- Machine configuration
- Correct batch size
This aforementioned OSAP should, ideally, include a structure for the work packs and their activities. This also includes cost, starting and ending dates, impact, implementation progress and responsibilities. It must be treated as a living document and used, primarily, to implement a problem-solving meeting routine where employees at all levels work together proactively to achieve regular, incremental improvements to the manufacturing process.
Going back to the fundamental goals of OEE, one of these most important goals is to eliminate the “Six Big Losses”, the six most common causes of efficiency loss in manufacturing:
- Setup and adjustments
- Small stops
- Reduced speed
- Startup rejects
- Production rejects
Unfortunately, true honest analysis is oftentimes lacking with respects to OEE, so results don’t always present an entirely correct picture of reality. If the full benefits of OEE are to be utilized, then each process must be analyzed to diminish the six big losses.
Analysis and idea development is incredibly important for adopting OEE more effectively, however for real change to occur, everyone involved in the process must support and implement the changes that must happen. A great way to spread the message and keep constant reminders of the changes is to implement whiteboards.
These whiteboards will ideally describe the changes, prevent confusion and drive empowerment among each worker involved in the manufacturing process. They will describe the current state of the plant’s production zones, equipment and other features, as well as what issues or work are still yet to be done.
Achieving World-Class OEE
Engineering firms around the world are taking note of these new strategies to improve OEE, and companies such as Premier Automation are on the cutting edge of efficiency in automation solutions. In fact, Premier takes a crucial role in integrating existing equipment with new capabilities including tracking abilities and accompanying software to map out changes. Reach out to us for a free consultation and our engineers can bring your automation system into the future.Contact Us for a Free Consultation
In today’s world of industrial automation solutions, efficiency is one of the most heavily scrutinized aspects of automated control systems. Any part of an assembly line that is not operating at its maximum efficiency is going to end up costing more money in an energy analysis. In such an analysis, the energy usage of the components becomes the area with the most emphasis.
Gearboxes and motors are some of the principal components in plants where conveyor belts and assembly lines are integral parts of the production process. When it comes to efficiency with gears, it’s all about how the teeth of the gears are interacting. Friction and vibrations are going to be the root cause of most energy losses, and even with lubrication and dampers, the joints are going to get worn out over time. Although maintenance is inevitable, the energy cost of the system over its lifetime is going to be the determinant of the viability of any specific gear.
Control engineers are capable of boosting productivity, profit, quality of products, and overall plant safety. A key aspect to the success of effective control engineering design is exploring sensible controls early in a project’s design. Creative ideas are a pivotal point when designing a control system and are crucial to the operation of any manufacturing project.
When do you turn to an automation solutions company — when your current automation system fails?
Many companies regard automation systems with the bare minimum of concern, only closely examining a system when something breaks. Efficiency gets reduced to making equipment run for as long as possible with as little maintenance and attention — and therefore cost — as possible. So when an automation system breaks down, companies often replace the broken pieces with slightly newer parts that function the exact same way.
Every generation of engineers tries to challenge the traditional idea of engineering — it’s the nature of engineering to constantly push for more efficient, innovative ways to solve problems. Yet basic fundamentals of entire industries rarely change.
Now, with a new generation of computer-savvy engineers, a tremendous shift has started to transform the manufacturing sphere of engineering. Continue reading “3D Printing and the Skilled Manufacturing Challenge”
Some projects seem straightforward and simple in the beginning; more often than not, problems arise that were never considered and end up costing a big chunk of precious time and money. Delays can be avoided by just taking a few steps to minimize risk and increase productivity. In this article we are going to take a look at how uncertainties can derail a project and how to reduce damage to your company’s timeline and budget.