In the Alcomex Springs Group, we are continuously looking at ways to improve our production performance and efficiency, to exceed the expectations of our customers through operational excellence. As an example of that ambition, last year we successfully completed a pilot project for monitoring machine performance by applying the ‘Act-in MES’-system at Alcomex Springs Works in the Czech Republic. The goal was to get to know and test the possibilities of the offered system and its suitability for our type of production. As part of the pilot, two production machines (FUL36 and FUL46) were connected, allowing these to send information about status (in operation or not working), the number of pieces produced and the number of non-conforming products. These data are transmitted over the internal network to the core of the system, which allows us to monitor in real time the status of individual production orders on these machines.
The core of the system consists of several interconnected modules. The “Production Scheduler” module is used for detailed planning of production orders. Individual production orders are loaded directly from our ABRA information system and assigned to the production plan for each machine, using a simple Drag & Drop functionality. This tool allows planners to monitor the workload of individual workplaces and, thanks to the online connection with the given machine, determine the expected end of production. Planned jobs are subsequently displayed on the operator panel directly at the individual machines.
Another integral part is the “Performance Monitoring” module, for online monitoring of the utilization and condition of machines, their effective use according to the OEE indicator, the progress of orders and the work of operators. The key to this module is the on-line connection of machines to the system through which we can monitor in real time the start and ends of downtime, the cause, production cycles, production speed and the number of approved and non-approved products, including the causes of discrepancies.
Part of the installed package is an operator panel (one for both machines), which is used to log in to exchange or enter information regarding the progress of individual orders.
Implementation Progress and Expected Benefit
As part of this pilot project, the suitability of this software for our type of production has been verified, and our comments and software modifications are currently being implemented to allow us to apply this system to more of our machines. Meanwhile, preparations for automatic booking of performances on individual machines are in progress and the commissioning of visualization screens in the production areas is also part of the implementation.We are convinced that this tool will allow us to improve the quality of the production processes within Alcomex. Also, thanks to the visibility of each individual production indicator, we will increase awareness and involvement of Alcomex production people in continuous improvement of our operation. In the end, our loyal customers worldwide will profit from this upgraded production performance.