Bottling lines get an efficiency boost

11 January 2011

Following the implementation of a web-based PILOT Total Productivity Management (TPM) system from Felten, Beiersdorf AG has reported significant increases in efficiency at its NIVEA production plant in Hamburg.

The reason for the implementation of the scalable solution was that the company was finding that the centralised data collection system on its 36 filling lines was being stretched to the limits and were struggling to deliver the quality of information required to enable ongoing increases in efficiency at the plant.

Beiersdorf was keen to implement an enhanced system for the collection, analysis and archiving of machine data, allowing easy performance evaluation of the various production lines and giving real-time access to production data.

Importantly, the installed system had to be easy to integrate into the existing plant-wide control and production architecture. Beiersdorf’s evaluation of possible solutions led it to Felten of Serrig, Germany. Felten specialises in process automation and information technology, with a focus on the concept of ‘Production Intelligence’. PI has been developed to describe the company’s approach to improving production efficiency and reducing downtime.

In particular, Beiersdorf recognized the potential of the PILOT TPM solution, built on standard database technology and meeting the fundamental requirements for reliable process production. The software is web-based, enabling simple cross-location implementation and the flexibility to evolve and grow as application requirements change.

PILOT TPM is easy to integrate into production structures. Importantly for manufacturers in the cosmetics industry – as well as for chemical, pharmaceutical, medical, food and beverage manufacturers – it meet the international GMP and FDA (21CFR Part 11) quality standards.

Decentralised and web-based, the TPM system automates the cross-plant collection, analysis and archiving of production data and machine data, and provides meaningful parameters for production planning, quality evaluation, maintenance and process optimization in real-time. The collection and processing of data for the likes of downtime, numbers of products and cycles, disturbances and production capacity is seamless, and can be monitored directly on the line computers or web clients.

In use, the PILOT TPM system helps to quickly identify weaknesses in the production process and so increase efficiency. An integrated tool allows the set-up and evaluation of key performance indicators (KPIs), with users able to define formulae for KPIs such as productivity calculations and evaluation of downtime. In addition, users can enter limit values and predefine times at which KPIs can be calculated.

With a further tool, the ‘Report Designer’, it is possible to customize the KPI reports to match individual requirements. Moreover, reporting at fixed times can be automated to give, for example, daily, weekly or monthly reports. And company-wide data from numerous different sources can be summarized in a single report.

These reports also support the continuous improvement process (CIP), by highlighting any bottlenecks, which can then be analyzed. Through the resulting KPIs, the effects of any improvement measures introduced (such as constructional changes at machines) can be monitored.

Beiersdorf project manager Bernd Mencke concludes: “We have now reliable and reproducible KPIs, measured values and reports for downtime, cleaning and set-up times across the filling lines. The new machine and production data collection system quickly identified a number of weak points across the plants, and we are already seeing a noticeable increase in production efficiency.”

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