Challenge:

Production facilities run at a lightning fast pace and every minute of downtime and each incidence of waste translates to a big cost. Our primary challenge was to automate the gathering of production rates, waste, and downtime on a running line without interrupting production in any way; on dozens of customer line and network configurations, PLCs, meters, and brands. In addition, we needed to find a way to create a compact but powerful analysis machine that requires a single power outlet and a single network connection.

 

Solution:

To fit such a dynamic and varied set of hardware we utilized Inductive Automation’s Ignition software, which can seamlessly connect to the client’s existing control systems of any brand, including PLCs, photo eyes, and flow meters. By supplementing our own on board Siemen’s PLC including Vertech’s PLC code for dozens of instruments and scaling routines we were able create an instant drop-in control system that sits in parallel to existing infrastructure.

The resulting system is installed in days without interrupting production, and takes less than five minutes of operator interaction per shift. It is able to record and analyze multiple product volumes, configurations, and sized items, which are displayed in a simple intuitive operator interface and a separate, high level analysis with cost calculation and graphic generation for supervisors on wireless or hard wired computer systems.

 

Benefits Received by Client:

By creating a dynamic system that utilizes flexible software, clients are able to quickly and automatically record downtime events and reasons, as well as production information. With the analysis that is provided to Supervisors, non-capital efficiency improvements can be identified, and informed decisions can be made on the potential return of capital projects.

Watch the video case study here.

Project Stats

1

Unit to Create Entire System

9

Case Configurations

63

Unique Products Run

“The operator screens enabled our operators and supervisors to get a quick idea at a glance of generally how the run is going and if you are on track to finish production on time. From the manager screens, I was able to keep an eye on things from my office and see if there is a problem that is going on so I can make needed changes. ”

— Packaging Supervisor at Anchor Brewing

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