Machine parks vary, but most of them struggle with similar problems. The main one is the proper optimization of their operation and the maintenance of high-quality machine operation. In today’s article, we discuss modernizing machinery parks and the methods of how it can be done.
From our post you will learn:
Can every machine park be modernized?
In theory, each machine park can be modernized. Even with old devices, there will always be sensors that help you collect data from the machines. However, the devil, as always, is in the details. It is important to consider what information you want to obtain and how, before starting the modernization process of your production equipment. This approach allows for the real optimization of machines and the extraction of data from sensors that affect the functioning of production.
Our clients most often decide to monitor devices in terms of maintenance and when they come to us, they are aware of what data they want to process. In theory, the information collected by sensors should allow for automatic control of production processes, limiting human work as much as possible. However, in practice, many customers want to have more control over the functioning of the hall. Therefore, they decide on solutions that allow them to analyze the data and, based on it, decide, for example, to adjust parameters or change qualitative elements. We also provide solutions focusing on monitoring the degree of wear of parts, responsible for the correct and quick operation of production and responding to failures in real-time with access to historical data.
Thanks to this, if after the release of a given batch of the product, the customer returns a quality complaint, then with the help of the obtained data you can quickly verify whether, for example, during the manufacturing process the parameters were correct. The sensors allow you to control the operation of machines, the conditions in the hall (temperature, air humidity, etc.) and the human factor, registering, among others, time and quality of work on a given machine. They also collect data on who and when served it. In this way, they provide a full spectrum of information about the functioning of the machine park.
Can Industry 4.0 solutions be used in small factories? Is it profitable?
The size of the factory does not matter when it comes to applying Industry 4.0 solutions. They are suitable for large, multi-branch factories and small machine parks.
However, another issue is their profitability. It largely depends on the environment in which the production process takes place. As we mentioned before, the sensors can record various parameters types, both from the devices and the conditions in the hall itself. The latter factor is an element that influences the profitability of implementing a system for monitoring the machine park.
For example, the costs of implementing Industry 4.0 solutions will be completely different in the galvanizing factory, where the environment for machines is aggressive and UBS ports rust after 3 months. In such situations, the implementation is a very individual matter. However, it is worth remembering that although the maintaining sensors cost becomes more expensive than in a friendlier environment, it is still necessary to consider the added value they bring to the factory optimization and improvement of its operation. After all the pros and cons, it may turn out that their influence is still very profitable for your company because it will increase its efficiency.
What are the benefits of implementing Industry 4.0 solutions in the machine park?
The greatest benefit of implementing Industry 4.0 solutions is a quick insight into information about the production operation. All data are collected in one place, so you no longer have to search for them in various scattered databases. This easy access to data thus speeds up the work of your team.
For many clients, the implementations also bring benefits in the expenses minimizing. For example, switching to electronic data collection suddenly reduces the monthly cost of purchasing a paper from, say, € 2,000 to € 300.
As mentioned earlier, the sensors also enable quick reaction to machine downtime, especially those related to sudden failures. The read data analysis also facilitates earlier reaction to the wear of parts. For example, a difference of several seconds in the time of performing a specific activity over a given period may suggest the replaced bearings in the machine.
What are production kiosks?
Production kiosks are computers – windows to the system monitoring the device’s operation in the machine park. It is in them that production employees record, among others:
- work time registration,
- taking the order and its details,
- breakdowns and downtime,
- quality control (which may be in the form of a self-monitoring list for the employee),
- data, e.g. on OEE indicators (labour productivity, duration, etc.).
Kiosks can take different forms depending on how they have been assigned. They usually function per machine or machine socket, but their appearance and functions are also influenced by the conditions prevailing in the factory, e.g. the degree of dustiness.
When it comes to the power of kiosks and their functionality, they are usually selected individually to meet the customer’s needs. For example, simple equipment is enough to register attendance data and take an order. The situation is different when the kiosk is to be directly attached to the machine and, in addition to collecting data, it also has to manage it or collect some more extensive documentation or additionally operate the printer. However, it is worth noting that kiosks are flexible tools that can be easily adapted to a given machine park.
What solutions do we offer as part of the modernization of the machinery park?
We offer Kotrak clients strictly software solutions, i.e. systems for monitoring the operation of production machines, implemented in consultation with a subcontractor installing machines sensors. We also integrate programs with machines that already have sensors.
Our solutions allow collecting data from devices and their appropriate recording, storage, processing and sharing with authorized persons. With their help, you will gain full insight into the execution of orders in the production department. You will also receive clear reports prepared for the needs of your company.
Kotrak’s offer also includes Business Intelligence solutions. One of them is the Web Dashboard System, which allows you to visualize data in the form of analyzes and reports, displayed in real-time on TV screens or computers, also from the level of a web browser. This tool works great both in industrial halls and in warehouses. The program allows you to react “here and now” to deviations, changes or failures, which is why it is perfect for maintenance departments.
The system also allows for a transparent presentation of data in the long term. It enables, among others calculating OEE reports according to the needs of our clients. Thanks to them, they can efficiently and conveniently compare data, even over the years, and draw conclusions from it for the future.
In addition, we make sure that our systems are intuitive and easy to use for all users – regardless of whether we are talking about production employees or management staff.
It is also worth noting that the data collected by the programs are always the property of our contractors. They decide what information and how to process them. And only they have access to them.
The article was written in cooperation with Adam Grygierczyk, IT Project Manager at Kotrak S.A.
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