Plastics Technology

DEC 2018

Plastics Technology - Dedicated to improving Plastics Processing.

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and quality-inspection instructions, along with photos and videos. "This makes more information directly available at a single point to the people doing the work," explains Lenhardt. THE PAYOFFS Plastikos and Roechling agree on one of the benefits of plantwide data exchange: "The key advantage is in program administration," says Lenhardt. "We can load a qualified process from the ALS server to the machine. It saves time and reduces the risk of manual transfer or using a USB stick." Agrees Bentley, "It's much better than setup by hand from a printed list. You can be sure you're not missing anything, like setting the production sequence, robot program, clamp tonnage, ejector settings, etc. These aren't typically controlled using a tradi- tional process sheet but they can sometimes be extremely critical, depending on the part and mold. All of this translates into increased efficiency, quality and uptime." Both firms agreed on the efficiency benefits of coordinating preventive-maintenance scheduling and production scheduling. And both agree on the value of "going paperless." Says Lenhardt, "First, I don't like to see paper clutter at work stations. Second, electronic data improves revision control, which is a large task with hard copy. Record keeping, training records—they all become more reliable and accessible in electronic form. And in our business, there is a multiplicity of forms for jobs, purchase orders, and so forth—all are audited by our medical customers. Paper forms are one of the more difficult things to maintain; but with electronic information, everything is updated automatically. And you can still print it if you want to." Lenhardt continues: "Roechling is very focused on Industry 4.0—digitalization and leveraging technology to coordinate the manu- facturing process. Electronic information helps us gain insight into efficiency and what's happening on the factory floor—automatically. "All data is stored in real time. We can go back in time and look at process parameters, see how many production interruptions occurred and on which shifts. It's good for root-cause analysis. We didn't have that before the ALS—just hand-written records and human memory. The machine control stored only the last 1000 shots, but ALS allows us to view a much longer time scale. Everything from the machines goes into the server and is automatically backed up." Production data has its value too: "Automatic recording of produc- tion quantities alerts personnel when a job is done. In the past we might have run two extra shifts worth of product because we had to rely on technicians to set and monitor the job counter. And ALS keeps track of shots that fall outside of spec limits. It knows the mold cavita- tion, so it tracks the number of good parts made toward the order quantity. In the old days, we might have shut down after thinking we had finished a job and discovered we were short because of failing to account for rejects." Lenhardt adds, "OEE data from ALS is a key metric for us. We use it each month for management reviews. We don't use it for a snapshot of operating performance, but to keep track of it over time." One element of OEE data is particularly important to Roechling: "Our quality is typically 100%, and our cycle-time efficiency is typically very high. So machine uptime availability is most important to us, especially for machines producing high-demand products. We break down availability tracking into groups of machines; because older presses have lower availability, we group them together. OEE tracking helps us spot issues, like "We're doing a lot of the pieces of Industry 4.0, but it would be nice to bring it all together into one central computer." Going "paperless": Roechling wants to eliminate paper clutter and automate data sharing and updating of key documents. Roechling Medical's Joe Lenhardt, v.p. of operations, with screen showing electronic work instructions for a "paperless" shop. @plastechmag 41 Plastics Technology On-Site Plastikos, Inc.; Roechling Medical Rochester Plastikos, Inc.; Roechling Medical Rochester On-Site

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