In the challenge series, we delve into the most common challenges facing manufacturers today and how they can be solved. The sixth challenge:
How do we automate our factory?!
The manufacturing challenge
The manufacturer is using advanced PLC-enabled machines but they are still tracking the time of production manually via time cards or excel spreadsheets.
Most manufacturing machines will contain the hardware in order to be connected to your business systems technology, such as Siemens or Allen Bradstreet controllers, they just need the correct software in order to be collecting this data. By connecting the machines directly to the manufacturer’s system technology, data on the production line can be collected with no manual intervention, no paper being used and no risk of human error.
The technology that the manufacturer needs is an MES solution capable of factory automation.
This is where LYNQ MES can help.
LYNQ MES includes this technology, it can be connected directly to a manufacturer’s machinery and start collecting data straight away.
As soon as the system is set up, LYNQ MES will be monitoring:
- the machine’s performance,
- how long it is taking to produce orders,
- whether there are quality issues or not (how many items fall into scrap) and
- how many orders are produced vs the planned numbers of orders that were due to be produced.
All of this data is synced into LYNQ MES where key manufacturing stats are calculated, such as OLE (overall labour effectiveness) and OEE (overall equipment effectiveness). This data is presented in easy-to-understand graphs and charts so a manufacturer can use this to inform their continuous improvement efforts moving forward.
Connecting machines directly to LYNQ MES eliminates the need for manual input and manual processing.
This not only saves a manufacturer huge amounts of time but also saves them money as they no longer have to purchase paper for time cards or spend money using manual time tracking systems.
It also eliminates any risk of human error or manipulation of data. The manufacturing data is collected directly from the machine so you can be confident that it reflects exactly what that machine has produced.
This data is also collected in real-time and stored online so can be accessed from any computer, laptop, phone or tablet. There’s no delay between items being produced, time cards collected and then the data being re-keyed at the end of the day or end of the shift. At any point in time, the Production Planner can log in to LYNQ and see how the day or week is going compared to their planned output. The CEO or Managing Director has access to the same data and can gain real-time insight into their manufacturing operation to inform business decisions or build reports for the Board.
The automatic collection of data saves time and money by eliminating manual, paper-based processes. It also enables those in higher-level positions to always be informed, in real-time, of what is happening on the production line and be able to use this data to make more intelligent business decisions moving forward.