Making OEE easy

08 February 2022

Control Engineering Europe reports on a simple solution that can help identify, monitor, and reduce losses and waste on production lines, based on real-time process data.

Monitoring product throughput at various locations in a process can help identify pinch points. The cause can then be investigated. However, a key element to ascertain the cause of a slowdown is to be able to experience it in real time. 

Turck Banner is offering a solution that is essentially an OEE starter kit. The Production Performance Monitoring kit (PPM), comprises a wireless, battery powered sensor, a controller and a three-month cloud connection. It has been designed with first-time users in mind, with everything included to monitor one location and receive warnings when the throughput falls.

The PPM kit is a simple, cost effective, self-contained solution. No programming is necessary and the auto dashboarding feature provides actionable information with minimal user set up. Data logging is provided by the controller and the cloud is used for dashboard display and analysis.

The wireless sensor is mounted onto a machine and left in place to count passing parts. The parts-per-minute count is transferred to the controller which logs and interprets the data which can be displayed as a graph of parts-per-minute over time, showing planned stops, unplanned stops, small stops and slow cycles. 

When the origin of the lost production has been identified, and a solution has been put in place, the PPM kit can be used to quantify the improvement. The kit can then be relocated to track down the next area of interest on the same machine or transferred to another area in the factory.

A typical application 
A typical application example shows how the solution can address the challenge of identifying and correcting the source of reduced output in one of multiple production lines.

A water bottling operation has five steps in its bottling process – cleaning, filling, capping, labelling, and packaging. One of the plant’s production lines had a recurring problem of lower output than the other lines. The production manager wanted to identify the step, causing bottling constraints and quantify losses in the underperforming line to determine how to bring output up to that of the other lines. The bottling machine in question was older and had no way to monitor throughput.

The PPM Kit was installed, with sensors being placed at each stage of production to determine what was limiting throughput. By monitoring each step in the process, the production manager learned that during the capping process, the cap was frequently not sealing properly and bottles were being rejected at a higher rate than the other lines, reducing output. A service call was made to the machine manufacturer, who was able to quickly make adjustments to the machine to bring the process back into specification.

As production issues frequently occur at different places in a production line, and can be seasonal or develop over time, the PPM kit is suited tofor monitoring key equipment and can often become a permanent addition to the production line.

Up to 47 wireless sensors can be connected to a single starter kit. The controller is pre-programmed for the 47 sensors and has the capability to expand into a large scale monitoring system, which can integrate into existing local and cloud networks.

The current performance condition is displayed on a web interface as a green, amber or red icon, with all the historical data shown at the touch of the icon. The web interface allows remote condition display from any browser on any smart phone, tablet or PC. When this is combined with text alerts, personnel have instant access to the monitoring system whenever they need it. 

Users are not locked into the pre-programmed cloud configuration. At any time, the controller can be connected to local networks, SCADA, PLCs or other cloud systems to allow the data to be integrated into existing systems, such as distributed control systems.

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