Successfully managing large and complex integration projects is a focus for Polytron Inc., and the company is looking to continue to grow the digital manufacturing presence. Ron Rich, CEO of Polytron. discusses his company’s philosophy and its approach to innovation in an interview with CFE Media.
The Future of Manufacturing
- 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
DULUTH, GA – December 10, 2018 – Polytron, Inc., a Digital System Integrator, leader in engineering consulting and Systems Integrator is pleased to announce that it has again been awarded the prestigious System Integrator of the Year for 2019.
Each year, system integrators around the world compete for the title of System Integrator of the Year based on achievements in the areas of technical expertise, business skills, and customer satisfaction. Hosted by Control Engineering, entries are reviewed by a panel of industry experts who select one winner from each of the three revenue categories.
Duluth, Georgia – December 5, 2018 – Polytron, Inc. today announced the promotion of Richard Phillips, PE, PMP to Director of Polytron’s Smart Manufacturing and Digital Transformation Group. Richard has been acting as the practice lead over the past several years providing guidance and thought leadership to Polytron’s manufacturing clients that are embarking on their Digital Transformation journeys. As Director of the Smart Manufacturing and Digital Transformation Group, Richard will report directly to Polytron’s CEO, Ron Rich, in order to provide the agility required to effectively address this rapidly growing segment. READ MORE
If you are interested in going paperless, even if leadership has already decided to move forward, then the first step is to estimate the ROI of paperless manufacturing for the business. The ROI estimate not only increases support and vision upfront; it will help later to evaluate the success of the pilot program (See steps one and four, below).
- Estimate ROI
- Consider long-term technology stack implications
- Use Plant Readiness Assessment to select facility/area for pilot
- Deploy pilot to confirm ROI
- Develop full-scale rollout plan
- Go Paperless!
This blog itemizes all elements of paperless ROI, as well as areas where technological advancement has increased cost-effectiveness of going paperless, enabling smaller businesses to take large steps toward becoming Smart Manufacturers.
Going Paperless Requires Less Investment in Three Areas
IOT Sensors Less than Half the Price from 2004
The average price of sensors has more than halved since 2004, from $1.30, and is projected to dip to $0.38 by 2020.
RFID Alternatives for Manufacturers
Radio frequency identification (RFID) technology drives some of the largest process improvements on the factory floor. 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. Manufacturers use RFID to tag raw materials, production statistics, inventory, and even people so that they can be tracked seamlessly across process steps, location, and time. For more information on implementing RFID
Like sensors and barcoding, RFID prices are decreasing. Some alternatives for RFID recombine Bluetooth and barcode scanning to reach similar goals at a significantly reduced price point.
Cloud Solutions Drive Small Scale and Easy Integration
Another historical but outdated deterrent to going paperless has been software, as well as the cost of integrating comprehensive solutions between the factory floor and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). Cloud solutions have become easier to integrate, while also allowing businesses to scale based on need and usage.
Targeted Areas of Return on Going Paperless
On average, manual writing takes twice as long to record as digital processes, but in some cases, where sensors and other automated identification can be used, the returns can be even greater. Estimate the time it takes for employees to enter data manually and/or input manual data into databases, spreadsheets, etc. Halve this number for a rough estimate of time savings. Use average factory floor salary to convert to a financial figure.
Inaccurate data can be another efficiency loss point for your organization, resulting in the need for product rework, or in the inability to make data-driven decisions. Automated workflow using RFID technology, for example, raises accuracy above 98% (Plant Engineering, May 2018).
Data Integration and Visualization
Going paperless increases accuracy and precision of tracking with real-time access to plant floor conditions. When data is instantly visible to managers, operators and MES systems, proven benefits such as improved product quality, optimized production efficiency, and supply chain integration are realized.
Historical Tracking Management
With paperless on the plant floor, historical production data is readily available for analytics and continuous improvement initiatives. How much time and effort does it take to store and retrieve critical production records that are manually-produced?
Overall Equipment Effectiveness OEE & Downtime Tracking
Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) measures the percentage of planned production time that is truly productive, accounting for three sources of real loss. Manual tracking systems can make reporting of these three areas of loss onerous and inaccurate.
Events that cause planned production downtime for a significant amount of time, such as Planned and Unplanned Stops
Factors causing a line to operate below maximum speed while still running, events described as Slow Cycles and Small Stops
Products that do not meet or exceed quality standards and therefore require rework. Production Rejects and Reduced Yield on Startup are two examples.
Using digital tools to track availability, performance, and quality allows managers to understand conditions in real time and optimize performance much more effectively. Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) is a great example of an old protocol, which was onerous in 1999 but is now easier to implement.
Go Paperless, Next Steps
As a CSIA-Certified leader in engineering consulting and systems integration, Polytron has helped numerous global manufacturers automate outmoded data management process with digital systems to deliver real-time visibility for data-driven decisions.
How far has your business come on its Smart Manufacturing journey? Take the Polytron Smart Manufacturing Maturity Checklist to find out.
“Although I would have said in the early stages of the project that the utter lack of companies and vendors with actual solutions to benchmark and apply created challenges, we have not only risen above that but have reclassified it as an advantage.” (Google Glass on the shop floor, 2016)
-Peggy Gulick, Director Business Process Improvement, AGCO
Smart manufacturing applies flexible and self-adaptable production processes to deliver shorter product life-cycles and extreme customization. Wearable technologies, and specifically, smart glasses, can play an important role in the paradigm shift toward smart manufacturing by driving both input and output data from the factory floor, delivering critical information to personnel, receiving data while leaving arms and hands-free for work-related activities.
Assisted Reality (AR) is still relatively new, though it has been deployed successfully by manufacturers like AGCO and are seen on a growing number of factory floors.
Applications of Smart Glasses: The Difference between Augmented Reality and Assisted Reality
“When the tool is literally incorporated as a part of the employee’s person and data input is a simple tap or word away, information becomes more meaningful and timely and repeat problems decrease in volumes immediately.”
– Peggy Gulick, Director Business Process Improvement, AGCO
In a dynamic manufacturing environment, data flow increases both to and from the factory floor. Operators need to access an increasingly large knowledge base, and they must be prepared to learn more rapidly in order to accommodate rapid change. Real-time data, taken from the factory floor, is increasingly valuable, but the time it takes to enter data manually, or to hold a tablet, requires valuable time that would be more efficiently spent on the task at hand.
Technologies like tablets and wearable technology, such as smart glasses, help deliver information to help operators work efficiently and effectively despite an increasing variety of tasks. As previous technologies, like tablets, are overrun with the demand for adaptiveness and efficiency, wearables that do not require hands-on manipulation, which do not need to be held, and which can autonomously display and receive data from the factory environment, become increasingly necessary.
Assisted Reality Is a Reality
Augmented Reality and Assisted Reality are often used synonymously, but though they are both capable of delivering information directly into the user’s field of vision, assisted reality stops short of rendering 3D objects in real-time. Assisted reality would deliver a set of instructions, specifications, or readings. Augmented reality is capable of super-imposing the internal components of a jet engine, delivering an X-ray view. Augmented reality is much more sophisticated, but assisted reality is more attainable, especially if AR is new to your organization.
Polytron Delivers Assisted-Reality Smart Glasses Solutions
We are currently working with several glass vendors to develop a Smart Glasses solutions for our clients.
Targeted use is quality control checkpoints, changeover instructions and tracking, and workforce training and accountability for traceable actions on the plant floor.
We envision these capabilities will become a fundamental component of fully-integrated, collaborative manufacturing systems that respond in real time to meet changing demands and conditions.
Final Note: Limitations in using smart glasses on the factory floor
Active implementations so far have shown smart glasses to distort the user’s view, so they cannot be used while walking on the factory floor at this time. This is an important limitation to consider but one which is solved by strategic placement of the glasses at the point of use.
For more information about using smart glasses for your facilities, contact us, or read our next post on how to structure a smart glasses initiative.
Join Polytron for two Smart Manufacturing workshops on May 8th in Room 302A at the Raleigh Convention Center
9:00 am – 12:00 pm – Leveraging Smart Manufacturing for Digital Transformation
Smart Manufacturing is not a destination – it is a journey to digital transformation that begins at the plant floor. Identifying which latest technologies such as IIoT, Big Data, cloud computing, wireless, predictive analytics, etc. should be leveraged can be overwhelming. Where do you begin? This interactive hands-on workshop will provide proven methodologies and case studies to help attendees begin their own journey toward digital transformation.
1:00 pm – 4:00 pm – Best Practices for Optimizing Operations Using a Digital Manufacturing Platform
Today it is vital that companies seek to streamline their business processes, reduce production losses, and improve the productivity and throughput of their existing assets and systems. While methodologies such as Continuous Improvement offer an excellent framework for driving improvement, many companies still struggle to obtain higher levels of performance. How do you know where to begin? Which improvements will produce the greatest benefit? How can we become more proactive vs. reactive? Please join us for an informative live event to hear former factory manager, Six Sigma black belt and Continuous Improvement expert share best practices for optimizing operations using digital technologies.
Stop by Booth 831 at the IndustryWeek M&T Conference in Raleigh, NC, May 8-10 to learn more about Polytron’s Smart Manufacturing Solutions for the plant floor.
Highest Tier is Designed to Help Customers Identify Experts in the
Implementation and Management of Solutions Based on TrakSYS™
Duluth, GA, January 31, 2018 – Polytron, Inc. today announced it has been elevated to Gold Tier Level, the highest tier in the Parsec Solutions Partner Program.
The Parsec partner program ensures manufacturers worldwide have access to experts in the development, implementation and management of solutions based on TrakSYS™, its web-based manufacturing operations management software platform. Gold Tier partners are regarded as the most experienced.
“Polytron, Inc. has been a Parsec Solution Partner and Certified Partner for over 10 years and is proud to be recognized as a Parsec Gold Tier Solutions Partner. Utilizing TrakSYS, we are better able to deliver powerful, flexible, and scalable data management solutions for virtually any manufacturing challenge faced by our customers,” said Brent Stromwall, Vice President, Polytron, Inc.
“We are pleased to welcome Polytron, Inc. as a Gold Tier member of our partner program,” said Michael Stephens, executive vice president of sales and customer support for Parsec. “We think of our partners as an extended part of our team, and Polytron, Inc. helps ensure we can bring the highest level of service and support to our customers worldwide.”
Smarter Software for Smart Manufacturing
The pressure to increase quality and productivity, while reducing costs, has manufacturers seeking a deeper understanding of trends and patterns on the plant floor. TrakSYS aggregates data from multiple sources to deliver real-time, actionable intelligence for significant quality and productivity improvement – while leveraging existing assets, resources and infrastructure. The integrated platform can power multiple solutions and the modular nature of TrakSYS brings complete flexibility to deploy only the functions desired, without a software upgrade required. TrakSYS business solutions include OEE, SPC, e-records, maintenance, traceability, workflow, batch processing, sustainability, labor and more.
# # #
About Polytron, Inc.
Polytron is in its 35th year as a Full Manufacturing Systems and Solutions Integrator for Food and Beverage, Chemical, Consumer Goods, Life Sciences and other industries. Delivering digital solutions for most of our 35 years, we help manufacturers create highly automated and data-driven production environments for Smart Manufacturing. Polytron carefully examines every facet of the manufacturing business, and delivers solutions, strategies and results, to improve operations for the flexibility, speed and knowledge required for competitive positioning and success in the era of Smart Manufacturing (Industry 4.0, IIoT, Connected Enterprise). To learn more about Polytron, Inc. please visit www.polytron.com.
Parsec is the developer of TrakSYS, a leading real-time manufacturing operations management software platform. Manufacturing companies worldwide rely on Parsec for flexible and configurable software to manage and execute manufacturing operations across the value stream more effectively. Without production disruption, TrakSYS helps manufacturers to significantly improve asset utilization and efficiency, increase capacity with no new capital equipment, reduce production costs, decrease lead time, and improve profitability. With measureable ROI, TrakSYS delivers the bottom-line results that manufacturing companies are looking for. To learn more about Parsec, please visit www.parsec-corp.com and follow the company on LinkedIn.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For Information, contact:
Betsy Brannen, Marketing Director
Direct: 678-328-2929 | email@example.com
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.
You identify the right team members – We bring the Experts
During the 90-minute session, we will discuss your Smart Manufacturing journey and potential starting points based on our project delivery expertise.
Your Potential Smart Manufacturing Challenges
- Turn Manufacturing Data into Decision Points
- Upgrade Your Industrial Network for high-speed performance
- OEE and Downtime Tracking
Other Full Manufacturing Systems and Solutions:
- Operational Performance Improvements
- Packaging / Material Handling
- Automation and Controls
- End-of-Life Technology Upgrades
- Machine Safety Risk Assessment to Validation
- Manufacturing Intelligence / MES
- Process Systems Performance and Upgrades
- Connection to SAP (ERP)
- RFID solution for data and inventory tracking
Schedule a Session
Call Us Today at 1-678-221-7326 or Complete the sign-up form.
Who should attend: Manufacturing Management for Operations, Engineering, Maintenance, Quality Control, Production, Packaging, Workforce Development,etc.
Smart Manufacturing (Industry 4.0/Manufacturing 4.0) is the use of real-time data and technology when, where and in the forms that are needed by people and machines. Smart Manufacturing uses the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and the Converged Plantwide Ethernet -CPwE) – the underlying architecture for control and information disciplines, devices and equipment – to deliver “fully-integrated, collaborative manufacturing systems that respond in real time to meet changing demands and conditions in the factory, in the supply network, and in customer needs.” It is an environment Connecting Process, People, and Performance.
Are you ready for Smart Manufacturing?
- Does end-of-life hardware and software run your plant floor decisions?
- Are you experiencing unscheduled downtime and productivity losses?
- Is your current network able to handle today’s new smart technology?
- Do you have a plan for effectively using a higher volume of production data?
- How do you plan to increase production under the state of your current operation?
- What is the “view” of your plant for future readiness?
Starting the Journey requires that manufacturers assess every aspect of the plant floor. This assessment includes the Industrial Network, equipment, processes and people. These key target areas at the start of the process will generate significant business benefit:
Assets: Reduction in Equipment maintenance / Increasing lifespan / Improving OEE
Sustainability: Improve quality / Improve capacity management / Reduce energy consumption
Employee Productivity: Training with collaborative solutions / Automate workforce management / Increase worker mobility
What issues are challenging your operational efficiency today?
- Lack of Real Time Visibility into your whole plant floor – unable to view equipment/process data without running a report post production.
- Manual Processes requiring high manpower and production interruption.
- Manual Integration of Data in production leaving room for human error and inconsistent product quality.
- Lack of Feedback from production line due to aging technology and Industrial Network.
- Too much data to process causing data overload and inability to leverage information for production improvement.
- Reactive maintenance based on poor equipment performance or breakdown due to lack of equipment data.
- Obsolete technology/software causing unscheduled downtime.
- Lack of Best Practices impeding Workforce efficiency and consistent product quality.
- Lack of formal training program to close Workforce skills gap.
Understanding the critical breakdowns in the whole operational process is a way to prioritize where to start. The inter-dependencies of the plant’s total operation allows you to Focus on High ROI and Start Small for Big Wins.
We have provided some guiding questions to use as you and your team conduct a review of the plant floor. Click to download Polytron’s Smart Manufacturing Maturity Checklist.