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A flexible and focused plant information solution for wound dressing manufacturer
How can you improve plant efficiency in multiple areas without increasing complexity or decreasing flexibility? This was the challenge for a leading manufacturer of post-operative and complex wound dressing products.
Scheduling was manual. Orders from the business system had to be printed before being reviewed and selected for production. While sensors attached to PLCs running each work cell alerted for rejects, there was no event reporting. This created issues with tracking increases in consumed materials and reject costs with each process step. There were also issues when equipment broke down, with delays before maintenance was contacted.
Plant managers wanted to reduce paperwork and production errors and improve efficiency. They wanted to add batch and downtime tracking. They also wanted the ability to send service requests automatically to maintenance.
The core historian solution would need to communicate with all production stations. It must be able to connect to business and maintenance systems. It must be configurable and able to integrate with .NET applications.
How to achieve all these objectives, let alone within a reasonable budget? We recommended PI System with a custom .NET tracking application. The client agreed and the solution was implemented.
Now each day’s orders are electronically sent down to production. Rejects are tracked and reported back through the corporate MES layer, as are daily production reports. Maintenance receives an automated alert when unplanned downtime occurs.
How were these managers able to cost-effectively achieve goals other companies talk about but never seem to get done? They knew what they wanted. They didn’t try to do everything. PI System’s flexibility and its full and mature tool set helped. Should they want to add additional plant information capabilities or reporting, they can do so building on the PI-based system now in place.
Whether you use PI System or another platform, these steps follow our recommended approach to plant information projects: Be practical and flexible. Focus on specific and realistic goals while allowing for future capabilities.