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5 Reasons You Need IIoT Technology In Your Factory Today

The business of manufacturing is rapidly evolving. Being coined the Fourth Industrial Revolution, or Industry 4.0, it’s all about retrieving big data that couldn’t be accessed before. By bringing the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) into factories across the globe manufacturers can streamline production and push products to market faster. Are you ready to gain a competitive edge?

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How Narrative Software Helps Your Operators Feel Heard

As a plant manager or team lead, you have the essential responsibility of keeping your operators motivated. Helping them gain new perspectives on their work can improve employee engagement and, ultimately, your bottom line. When employees are provided with narrative software resources to see how their contributions make a difference, they become much more interested in putting in a productive day.

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Recruiting Millennial Employees: How To Make Your Factory Next Generation Ready

The face of manufacturing is changing. As older workers retire, millennials (aged 18 to 35) are the biggest workforce available to manufacturers today. Is your plant ready?

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You Can Connect All The Machines On Your Shop Floor Today!

You’ve likely heard the term Internet of Things (IoT) in reference to smart home technology but how does it relate to your shop floor? In its simplest definition, IoT means “things” that are connected to the internet, physical objects such as your home, office or car. In smart manufacturing, it’s known as Industrial IoT (IIoT) or Industry 4.0, the fourth industrial revolution. It provides manufacturers with the ability to connect all machines and equipment in their plant to the internet to gather real-time, actionable data. With Freepoint, connecting machines is quick and easy on both legacy and new machines.

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Case Study: Machine Shop Increases Efficiency By 69% In One Year

The following case study demonstrates how FreePoint Technologies has successfully helped a customer increase efficiency by 69% over a one-year time span and saved them $325/day.

The customer is a modern machine shop located in the border region in Mexico. The shop has 4 Electrical Discharge Machines (EDM) that are critical to the company’s production. The following figures demonstrate the impact of FreePoint Technologies’ system.   

The image below (the before scenario) shows pertinent productivity information from these 4 machines from a typical day in October 2015. The blue bars illustrate the EDM machines’ run times for a 24 hour period and the white gaps indicate the setup time between each run. Both the run (blue bar) & setup times (white bar) vary depending on the job. The shop, in the before scenario, required 24 hours of scheduled production time to produce a total of 43.5 hours of “value adding” activity using the 4 machines on that day.

 

The screenshot below illustrates the exact same 4 EDM machines shown one year later (October 2016). Similar to the previous scenario, the blue bars still vary in accordance with the jobs being run on each machine, however, the setup times (the white gaps between the blue bars) are now consistently smaller than the 2015 snapshot. The result from integrating FreePoint Technologies’ system is that less time is being lost between productive “value adding” periods. For the customer, this means that more value adding activity (specifically 57 hours on this day) occurred in less scheduled production time (two 8.5 hour shifts vs. three 8 hour shifts). All of the recovered lost machine time was then aggregated, and the machines were freed up for an entire shift. Not only does this decrease production cost for parts being produced, but it increases the plant’s capacity and ability to take on more work.

 

The image below compares the month of October 2015 to the same month, one year later in 2016. As illustrated in the graph, every day of the month in October 2015 had machine activity, meaning that employees were in the shop running the machines. In 2016, the machine activity occurred only on weekdays, freeing up most weekend shifts as well. This allowed the customer to increase their capacity and take on more business. The machine’s efficiency went up from 33% on a typical 24 hour day in 2015 to 56% on a typical 17 hour day in 2016 representing an increase of 69%.

At that rate of productivity improvement, the system as implemented paid for itself in 20 days, and the cost of the ShiftWorx subscription is recovered in the first day of every month. It’s hard to beat that kind of ROI!

For more information on how a FreePoint system can benefit your plant, please contact paulh@getfreepoint.com

FreePoint Helps A Customer Increase Their Productivity By 42%

The following case study demonstrates how FreePoint’s technologies were successfully used by their customer to help increase the productivity of a critical machine by 42%.

The customer is a leading international manufacturer and distributor of high quality die sets, components, steel plates, and metal fabrications used in the production of tools, dies, and molds. The following figures demonstrate the impact of FreePoint Technologies’ system.   

During FreePoint’s ShiftWorx training in November 2015 with the client, ShiftWorx tools were used to assess the impact of the company’s recent continuous improvement project with a critical vertical machining centre. In September 2015 the customer implemented a change in their process, and FreePoint decided to use that situation as a training example.

The first chart below shows the active machining time for the machine from October 1, 2015, to June 30, 2016. FreePoint used this period to establish a “baseline” from which to compare the future improvements against. The period was selected for the following reasons:

  • The machine was operated by the same operator for the same shift in a steady fashion for a long period of time
  • The period did not include the traditional vacation period (July and August)
  • Workload varied from week to week and month to month, but a 9 month period leveled out the peaks and valleys.
  • “Zero days” show up on the chart but are excluded from the average calculation.
  • The percentage are based on a 24 hour (or 1440 minute) “day”. They can easily be converted to a shift by multiplying the percentage by 1440 (total for a 24 hour day) and then dividing by the minutes in that shift. (For instance, 11.72% of a 480-minute shift would be 35%)

The chart below shows that on average, the machine operated 11.72% of a 24 hour day, or 169 minutes of “value adding” time on a single 8-hour shift, which equates to 34.2%.

 

For comparison purposes, the following chart shows the summer months – June 2015 and July 2015. There are 3 weeks of inactivity, likely due to holidays or lack of work for the machine. The daily average is down a bit, to 10% of a 24 hour period, or 144 minutes or 30% for the 8-hour shift.

The month of September shows a slight increase over the pre-summer numbers, at 12.75% of a 24 hour period, or 183 minutes of value adding time per day or 38% for the 8-hour shift.

The month of October comes in at 13.46% of 24 hours, or 194 minutes or 40.4% of an 8-hour shift.

And finally, November 2016 (up to November 25th) comes in at 16.76%, or 241 minutes of value adding activity, equal to 50.2% of the 8-hour shift.

This represents a 42.6% increase in value adding machining time when compared to the baseline established for the 9 month period from October 2015 through June 2016.

We had the opportunity to ask the customer some clarifying questions to gain an insight into the effect FreePoint Technologies had on their business.

Q: What problem were you trying to solve?

A: The problem we were trying to solve was to reduce setup times on the machine and to increase the time the machine was working.

Q: What change or changes made the biggest impact?

A: The two biggest changes were that we added setup vises for clamping material, and made changes to our programming. Parts are put in vice and clamped square, reducing setup time on the first side. We also made changes to the program so that the face head was in contact with the material making chips more often. We did this by reducing air passes and reducing program editing by the operator.

Q: How long did it take to implement the change?

A: It took about 2 weeks to implement the changes and we saw results immediately.

For more information on how FreePoint can help your continuous improvement efforts, please contact engage@getfreepoint.comRemember, you can’t improve what you don’t measure!