About Richard Phillips, PE, PMP
Posts by Richard Phillips, PE, PMP:
- CEO Insights
- Digital Transformation
- Emulation & Virtual Commissioning
- Industrial Network and Security
- Manufacturing Intelligence
- News & Events
- Project Management
- The Future of Manufacturing
- Workforce Development and Training
RFID Implementation Delivers Product Tracking & Inventory Control
The Radio-frequency Identification (RFID) market started off slow in the early 1990s, but is now expected to reach $14.9 billion by 2022 according to IDTechEx. RFID was primarily used in the Retail market, but is beginning to grow as a valuable solution in the manufacturing and warehousing sector.
The technology can bring innovation and value when properly applied to manufacturing and warehousing. RFID uses electromagnetic fields to automatically identify and track tags attached to objects. The tags collect and electronically store specific information that stays with the product; down the production line, to the warehouse, and on to the customer.
In the manufacturing environment, there are design challenges associated with RFID technology. It is important to understand the architecture deployed, along with the integration challenges and solutions developed. The RFID project typically includes some of the following considerations and issues:
- Selecting the correct Radio Frequency
- Calculating RFID range and interference
- Determining the right RFID tag standards to use
- Fixed and Handheld RFID readers / writers
- Using multiple antennas to improve read reliability
- Antenna coaxial cabling
- EPC data and GS1 standards
- Managing limited RFID tag User memory
- Choosing the correct RFID tag
- Reading only the “right” tags
- Printing RFID tags
RFID solutions applied effectively in manufacturing and warehousing deliver some of the following benefits:
- Provides more efficient product tracking throughout the manufacturing plant and distribution warehouse facility to enable vital product information and quality data stored on each individual part produced.
- Provides real-time visibility of all material on the production floor to help drive lean manufacturing practices, reduce inventory levels, and improve operator efficiency.
- Allows for quicker material location, order processing, and significantly reduces headcount required in manual sorting of product for customer orders in the warehouse.
- Allows reading of multiple products in a single scan for faster and more accurate inventory audits.
- Provides easier reading of product without specific material positioning or line-of-sight requirements – both needed for barcode systems.
- Supports a manufacturer’s initiative in leveraging IoT (Internet of Things) and provides potential applications to customers in the future.
In a recent Polytron use case, the manufacturer implemented an RFID solution that provides more efficient tracking of product throughout manufacturing, distribution and end customer’s facility. Original product test and quality data can now be stored within the RFID tag of each product. This allows the manufacturer’s customers to compare current performance of the product with the manufacturer’s production performance metrics.
Polytron’s expertise with data management systems and solutions, brings together the disparate components of an RFID technology project to ensure the manufacturer’s production operation is receiving the product data needed – from supply chain to warehouse to end user.
We recently received this helpful approach to World Class OEE calculations from Parsec Corporation. As a Parsec Certified Solution Partner, we wanted to share with you.
Back-of-the-Envelope OEE in 5 Steps
While calculating and improving your own OEE always adds value to your organization, it helps to know where others stand to truly benchmark your OEE levels. In comes World Class OEE.
By general consensus World Class OEE is 85% or higher. By contrast, most manufacturing plants have an OEE in the range of 30 – 60%. Additionally, it is not unusual for these plants to experience daily fluctuations of about 10%. The components to World Class OEE are as follows. Availability of 90%, Performance of 95%, and a Quality of 99.9%. Using the formula A x P x Q, you arrive at 85% OEE.
Given that many manufacturing companies believe they are running at an efficiency of 85 – 90% (which is true due to the way they currently measure efficiency), it is very helpful to get an idea of the true potential for improvement by performing a rough back-of-the-envelope calculation of the current OEE.
The back-of-the-envelope calculation will lack the detail (breakdown of Availability, Performance, and Quality and the detailed reasons behind all the stoppages), but it will provide a good idea of where your production lines really stand at the moment. This back-of-the- envelope calculation is astoundingly easy to perform.
The process is described below in 5 simple steps:
1 – LINE
Select a line, work cell, or machine to perform this calculation on. Select one that you will already have accurate production numbers.
2 – OEE CALCULATION TIME PERIOD
Select a period of time that is long enough to account for any major periodic Availability related downtimes that will occur. For instance, if your line runs continuously for two days, and then must be stopped for a CIP (Clean-in-Place; sanitation) for four hours every third day, run your calculation over that three-day period.
3 – TIME NOT SCHEDULED
During the OEE calculation time period, you need to determine how many minutes the line was not scheduled to be used for any productive purpose (changeover, sanitation, preventive maintenance, etc. are productive purposes). This is the time that you had no production requirements. For instance, if your plant only works two shifts, then the third shift time would be looked at as “not scheduled”. On the other hand, if the third shift was used for Preventative Maintenance, then this would be viewed as scheduled time.
4 – THEORETICAL RATE
You will need to know the real theoretical rate of the line based on the equipment specifications for each SKU run on the line during the OEE calculation time period being measured. This is the rate the equipment was to provide when purchased, NOT the rate that operators may currently be running the equipment at. This can be in any units (cases/ hr., units/min., feet/min., lbs./hr., etc.). Please note that this information is gathered from equipment manuals, not calculated or gathered from how your line is performing on its best day.
5 – GOOD PRODUCT PRODUCED
For each SKU, you will need to know the quantity of good product produced in units equivalent to your theoretical rate units (i.e., be consistent with your units, cases, individual units, pallets, etc.).
If all the SKUs run during the OEE calculation time period have the same theoretical rate, then you have all the information you need to complete the calculation.
Want to explore solutions to achieve World Class OEE? Give us a call today.
Richard Phillips, PE, PMP Manufacturing Intelligence comprehensive readiness plan manufacturing, formal instructor training programs manufacturing, Improving Manufacturing Operations, manufacturing automation, Manufacturing Intelligence project implementation, Post-Implementation manufacturing, step functioning manufacturing, Training Manufacturing
Manufacturing intelligence (MI) projects are initiated to drive improvements in line performance, line availability, overall quality, waste reduction, inventory management, changeovers, reduced impact of recalls, etc. The overall goal is to improve manufacturing operations by turning data into actionable information that drives business results. The latest technology now provides unparalleled insight into manufacturing systems.
Many MI projects are deemed to be unsuccessful since they do not provide the lasting benefits that were anticipated. The technology part of the MI solution is proven to work during the acceptance phase, but what is often overlooked is the people readiness aspect. Without this, the benefits of the MI solution become a step function and not a continuous improvement tool that can be leveraged to its fullest extent.
What becomes obvious is that people and processes have a greater effect on an MI project than the technology. This reality prompts the question: What can manufacturers do to extract maximum value out of their manufacturing data and put performance in the hands of their people?
Formulate and implement a comprehensive people readiness plan.
1) Clearly define the goals and objectives of all stakeholders.
- What is the scope?
- How does the company measure success for every level of an employee?
- How do the employees reach these goals and within what time frame?
- What changes are needed and what resources are necessary to train the employee?
2) Choose front-line champions for the MI project implementation on the plant floor.
- Empower the employees to make decisions along the line
- Establish Mentoring programs to transfer knowledge and training across the workforce
- Implement formal instructor training programs for applying MI data to day-to-day operations
3) Support continual change across the organization
- Provide educational resources to increase knowledge of workforce
- Establish extensive communication programs
- Align teams to expand the base of champions, Mentors, and experts
- Demonstrate value of the MI project with recognition and reward
The knowledge gained in a Manufacturing Intelligence project lays the groundwork for a stronger, more sustainable workforce. By applying live, actionable data at the points of impact throughout the facility, the company extracts the most value out of the MI investment and becomes more flexible in competitive markets. Manufacturing Intelligence projects offer a great opportunity to put performance into the hands of your people for driving operational improvements.
Extracting Maximum Value out of Manufacturing Data
Information with no context is just data that is interesting, but not useful. Visualizing relevant information provides understanding – a basis to facilitate making wiser decisions. What if you could monitor and automatically adjust valuable resources such as utilities based on cost, availability, and consumption? Or, what if you could identify the specific input resources, including energy usage required for each unit of output, and understand the associated cost to produce?
Technological advances in automation technology over the past several decades have resulted in a tremendous amount of manufacturing data being available for consumption. A typical manufacturing system can easily contain hundreds of thousands of data points.
It is critical to developing a well-thought-out plan to leverage that data and essential to utilize it to deliver expected business results. The plan should focus on how to convert the data into useful information. But, who determines what information is useful?
This leads us to ask each manufacturer what information they require enabling better decision making. This approach focuses the effort on the users’ needs, not the seemingly endless data points available. A typical plan might consist of the following steps:
- Identify users and requirements for each user role.
- Identify how each user will use the requested data to improve operations.
- Identify Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) relevant to manufacturing practices and business goals.
- Identify data sources (PLCs, HMIs, Historians, ERP, CRM, WMS, LIM, etc.) to access.
- Identify data presentation interfaces such as dashboards, Web pages, HMIs and smartphones, and tablets that best suit each user.
- Select the most appropriate software solution(s) to collect, integrate, report and present the information.
- Identify gaps in infrastructure and technology for achieving project goals.
- Identify and execute pilots to test any areas of concern and provide users with a test drive.
- Roll out across all manufacturing systems and sites.
Manufacturing Intelligence is a valuable tool for driving operational improvements. Understanding best practices, avoiding status-quo pitfalls, obtaining alignment from all stakeholders early in the project, and committing to a disciplined plan for executing these projects will help ensure success and deliver the promised results to the business. Only when we effectively answer the question, “What’s In It For Them” (WIIFT) and better understand how Manufacturing Intelligence can facilitate data-driven decisions, can it then become a mission-critical tool for business?
Creating a Roadmap for Effective Manufacturing Intelligence
Many manufacturing companies have stalled on the manufacturing intelligence front because of the overwhelming data points and the complex approaches to technology solutions that they believe they must have before addressing the day-to-day issues. But, how do you get the right information to the right person at the right time?
Create a roadmap! A roadmap establishes short-term and long-term objectives. It helps you define and plan for success in each phase. A roadmap helps ensures best practices are implemented. And, it helps you avoid the pitfalls and address the challenges associated with data overload, untimely data, lack of user-based data, lack of context-based data, and inaccurate data.
The key focus for the plan needs to be how to convert the data into useful manufacturing intelligence. But who determines what information is useful? This, in turn, leads us to ask each user what information they require that will enable them to make better decisions. This approach focuses the effort on the users’ needs, not the endless data points available.
The roadmap to effective use of manufacturing data usually looks something like this:
- Identify Users and the requirements for each user role: How each user will use the requested data to improve operations?
- Document the requirements: Ensure alignment. Obtain sign off. Know what success means to the stakeholders.
- Assess gaps: Identify data sources (PLCs, HMIs, Historians, ERP, CRM, WMS, LIM, etc.) that need to be accessed.
- Develop detailed design and application from the information garnered in Steps 1-3: Develop the Functional Specification for detailed design. How will the data be delivered to the user
- Execute pilots to test any areas of concern and provide users with a test drive
- Rollout across all manufacturing sites
You can start leveraging the data you already have available to begin to make a positive impact on your business without initiating a large global effort. The right data is most likely already available – you just need to turn it into Actionable Information. Start at the plant level, show value to the business and then expand and multiply the value achieved.
Richard Phillips, PE, PMP Emulation & Virtual Commissioning Adding a new line, Complex Plant Additions, Complex Plant Installation, Cutting startup time, Increasing Plant Capacity, Plant Installation Training, Reducing startup time
How to get to market in half the time – even with highly complex installations.
You need to increase capacity, so you’re adding a new line. Maybe you want to bring outsourcing inside…gear up for a new product launch…or rearrange your geographical footprint to lower distribution costs. Either way, every day without that new line is another day of lost revenue. So what do you do?
By using emulation to test your new controls system off site, you can get your new line up and running at capacity in half the time, for half the costs, with half the effort. Here’s how one company achieved such results – even with a highly complex installation….
MASTERING THE MAZE
This company is a global leader in the consumer products industry. At one of their large southeastern plants, they needed to add another input to their system: a line that would lead to a new high-speed palletizer.
On the face of it, the task sounded straightforward – just add a new line. However, the system was anything but simple:
- It involved a maze of conveyors four miles long that would need to be overhauled with 11 new tie-in points.
- Not only were there multiple decision points, but the new solution would need to integrate with some systems that were three years old and others that were nearly 30.
- This one new asset would require the addition of four new PLCs, plus modifications to three existing PLCs.
On top of all this, the customer was under pressure to get the line up to capacity as soon as possible. They already had demand for everything they could make, so until the new line could reach capacity, they were missing vital revenue. They needed someone to master this maze of conveyors, and they needed it done yesterday.
CUTTING STARTUP TIME IN HALF
Our engineers tackled the project by designing, programming, and debugging the new controls system off site using Polytron’s unique emulation tools. And the result? Unlike traditional systems that require extensive debugging in the field, our controls programs were already 95% debugged on day one. This let us start up the new system much faster, dramatically reducing installation time and costs:
Our onsite time was reduced by 10 weeks. This is half the time it would’ve taken to perform a startup the traditional way. Therefore, the company met its capacity need 10 weeks earlier. After just three days of startup, the new line was running at 80% of capacity.
A GAME CHANGER
Why is emulation so effective? For one thing, it’s not merely simulation. After all, code checkers inside the PLC are just code checking code. This is completely different. Emulation requires the controls system to operate a computer model of the installed system in real time just as if it were running the new system on the plant floor. That’s how we are able to complete 95% of the debugging and verification process before a single item is installed on site.
Running a computer model of the system is actually more powerful than running the system itself in the field. Why? Because emulation can address more variables and yield more useful data in a shorter amount of time. It lets the engineer run different scenarios without impacting real production.
Imagine wanting to test running a new bottle size, or package format, and finding out how the line will operate without losing any actual production time on your running line. Or, imagine that you can test your 10-year forecasted production on your finished goods handling system today! Emulation allows us to do this.
Traditional Field Testing
Traditional field testing requires that you have a system installed and powered up before you can even begin the process. This means that the controls engineers are waiting for construction before they can check the first line of their code.
Some firms have resorted to “code checking code.” This is merely more code in the PLC that is used to tell the real code that it is working. This doesn’t validate that the PLC code is ready to handle the dynamics and nuances of an operating system – and it doesn’t include every possible running scenario. Controls engineers still have to spend a lot of time onsite getting their code working – and your system producing.
Emulation – a PLC controlling a model of the real system – is the only way to dynamically check the code beforehand. In our case, we have it debugged up to 95% by the time we go onsite. And the emulation model is then used to train your staff on how to run and maintain the working system.
THE EMULATION EQUATION
If you can use emulation to complete 95% of your debugging and verification off site, then you can get to market twice as fast. We call this, “The Emulation Equation.” In practice, it means a simple, cost-saving, three-step process:
2. Make any necessary adjustments.
After seeing the unprecedented value of The Emulation Equation first hand, this customer now insists that he would “never do another project without it.” As the first and only engineering firm to provide emulation solutions for high-speed packaging systems, we’ll be ready when he needs us.
Last month Polytron attended the MESA North American Conference which was held in Orlando, FL. In case you are not familiar with MESA (Manufacturing Enterprise Solutions Association), it is a “global community of manufacturers, producers, industry leaders and solution providers who are focused on improving Operations Management capabilities through the effective application of technology solutions and best practices”.
The conference provides a great venue to connect with and collaborate with industry leaders who are finding ways to meet today’s manufacturing challenges by better leveraging technology. Conference presentations included updates of MESA’s various working groups focused on documenting industry best practices, customer success stories and latest technology applications.
Below are links to a few of the presentations that I found interesting:
MESA Metrics Workshop
Julie Fraser, Cambashi; Darren Riley, Rockwell Automation; John Jackiw, Alta Via Consulting; Steve Kaplan, Murata Power Solutions; Larry White, Resource Consumption Accounting Institute & Dave Frede, GE Intelligent Platforms
A Phased Approach To Manufacturing Operations Management
Chris Biddle, Rolls-Royce
Real-Time Brand Management
Jeff Markey, Coca-Cola Refreshments; Dennis Arkwright, Coca-Cola Refreshments & Darren Riley, Rockwell Automation
Workflow Automation As An Alternative To Traditional MES
Chuck Redpath, Hallstar & Jay Mellen, Savigent Software
Linking Operational & Financial KPIs In Practice
George Maxson, Cormetech; Darren Riley, Rockwell Automation; John Jackiw, Alta Via Consulting
Driving Effective, Efficient & Economical Manufacturing Through Workflow Automation
Bruce King, Seagate & Jay Mellen, Savigent Software