Case Studies

Cut Takt Time, End Line Stoppages

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Goal

Reduce takt time, eliminate downtime.

Challenge

Solve issues that continue to stop production at many zones along the line.

Solution

Comprehensive data gathering and reporting application based on centralized Microsoft SQL database server.

Results

Operational intelligence results in reduced takt time. Data is now collected in real-time data from a PLC and new PCs installed at specific production zones. The plant now has traceability and the data to address production.

Prior to DataRealm's assignment, a manufacturer of heavy equipment, primarily for the construction and related industries, was without an effective means to track productivity on a daily basis and certainly not minute-by-minute.

Whenever issues developed along the production line, staff had the authority to stop output until a resolution was found.

It was not uncommon for stoppages to occur with considerable regularity. Although reasons varied, management did not have the specific information needed to understand each reason. Critical problems were overlooked with their true nature often undetected.

It was suspected that a few common problems were manifesting themselves in different ways at different zones along the line. With only anecdotal evidence at hand, managers were limited in their ability to drill down to the root cause. This effectively prevented them from structuring solutions to head-off production line disruptions.

It was assumed that these recurring problems could be overcome by collecting detailed information about line disruptions that could fuel such tools as statistical analysis. This would help managers delve deep into the statistics generated each time an issue cut into productivity.

Two goals were set for the project. The first was to gain the feedback needed to increase productivity. The second was to put a dent into takt time allowing the plant to achieve even greater productivity. Takt is the time it takes to execute production functions at a particular zone.

DataRealm's role consisted of sustaining operations, by eliminating disruptions, and then finding solutions to optimize production. To succeed at both it designed a far-reaching data acquisition and traceability strategy that has solved most of the mysterious events that were stopping the line.

Information now flows freely throughout the plant with a comprehensive data gathering and reporting methodology. Its foundation is a centralized Microsoft SQL database server.

Data is collected from a number of points including a programmable logic controller (PLC) operating the line and personal computers (PCs) newly installed at specific production zones.

This rich base of real-time and historic information has fostered a new proactive approach to plant management.

A noticeable change throughout the plant is the availability of production data on screens. This gives operators reliable information to guide them in production line decisions.

An economical solution was found for in-plant visualization. Off-the-shelf flat screen televisions were purchased. To protect them from the plant environment, they were mounted in durable cases.

Visibility is also a factor in the reporting. system. Content is presented according to a color coded scheme to designate the potential impact an issue can have on production.

DataRealm's extensive experience in developing, deploying and upgrading factory information systems includes creating such innovative reporting standards.

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