Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Mark Albert's Great Article - Making Sure MTConnect Is A Good Fit

Mark Albert, Editor in Chief of Modern Machine Shop, writes a great article on MTConnect and Memex Automation.  Mark is a great writer and a real expert in MTConnect and of course manufacturing.

The title of the article is:  "Making Sure MTConnect Is A Good Fit"

Below is a snippet:

"The story starts with the shop’s overriding goal to boost its overall equipment effectiveness (OEE). OEE is a measure of how well a manufacturing operation is doing. The most common way to calculate OEE is to multiply machine availability, performance and quality, where each of these three factors represents a percentage of an ideal total or optimal level. For now, the company can calculate only availability. But this is a great start, because not long ago, its management was most concerned about its perception that the shop’s utilization rate was below what it could and should be.

Today, with an MTConnect-enabled machine monitoring system from Memex Automation (Burlington, Ontario) in place since September 2014, the shop is hitting 65 percent or higher utilization, which is up from 53 percent when the system was first installed. A plan is in place to improve utilization to 70 percent. The ultimate target is reaching the 85 percent utilization that is widely regarded as the level characteristic of world-class manufacturing organizations."

Mark continues later in the article sharing very valuable tips:

"These tips emerged from the shop’s experiences during this phase of implementation:
• Have stand-up meetings with each group of operators to answer questions about the system and explain the meaning and value of OEE.
• Share a vision of future system features that enable operators to report and track their contributions to productivity (setup activities, maintenance chores, feature checking, tool replenishment and so on).
• Set a reasonable baseline for machine availability. Initially, this was pegged at 57 percent, based on the initial monitoring period. Supervisors are pleased when a machine is operating above this level and concerned when it is below. As answers and suggestions flow from the good questions now being asked during this initial period, encourage positive actions to apply the improvements.
• Use data for positive, appreciative questioning. “I’ve noticed one of your machines has been down all morning. How can I help?” for example.
• Send help fast. When a machine is down, the best response is to have the production supervisor check it out in person. In most cases, these visits become impromptu training sessions about best shopfloor practices. This approach is especially valuable because it enables less-experienced operators to help themselves if the problem recurs.
• Look for patterns. This shop has MERLIN programmed to email a daily report to the production manager that summarizes machine time for all monitored machines. One of the patterns that became apparent from reviewing these reports is the high number of optional program stops that were occurring. Optional stops give operators a chance to clear chips, check dimensions, inspect inserts between cycles and so on. However, the number seemed excessive. The new thinking is that reducing the number of optional stops and using only the unavoidable ones more efficiently will significantly increase machine availability."

This article is a must read for anyone in manufacturing, regardless if there is any interest in MTConnect.