Manufacturing is frequently considered to be at the cutting edge when it comes to the adoption of new technologies. Over the decades, manufacturing has made practical use of innovative technologies that facilitate efficiencies and improvements to working practices that make it safer, faster, and more appealing to new generations of workers.
Automation, application of robotics, and Artificial Intelligence are all progressive technologies that have found a natural home in manufacturing, but the upfront costs of incorporating these innovations have, at times, taken considerable durations to recoup the outlay.
Machine monitoring, however, is an innovation that is relatively inexpensive to incorporate into most existing factory infrastructures and has become one of the first technologies to pay for itself the second it’s switched on.
Machine monitoring gives instant visibility of production activity in a way that’s never previously been possible. The technology provides an instant overview of events on the factory floor, aiding management of people-power, and supplying immediate, quantifiable data regarding the efficiency of machinery and the synchronicity of production in line with availability. Machines that are monitored can communicate their maintenance requirements; avoiding over- or under-repair that can negatively impact the bottom line production.
With machine monitoring at the helm, a plant manager can glean production data from anywhere on the planet via their smartphone, tablet or computer. This interconnectivity is key to keeping management and floor staff informed as to their productive output.
Machine monitoring highlights the massive anomaly between perceived and actual plant utilization data. Currently, it is estimated that 2-4% of all factory floors are being monitored. Most plant managers estimate their plant utilization rate at around 65-75%. However, when hardware and software are installed and incorporated into processes, the actual figure produced by monitoring systems demonstrates that plant usage is usually closer to just 25-32%.
That’s a massive discrepancy that demonstrates that instant savings in production costs can be achieved from the installation of machine monitoring systems on factory floors.
Return On Investment
The recognized Return On Investment duration when installing hardware and software in the computer industry is usually expected to be in the range of 18-36 months. However, manufacturing has such a variance in actual versus perceived plant utilization that you can count the ROI in terms of weeks and months, rather than years when introducing machine monitoring systems into your established processes.
Machine monitoring of the kind offered by FreePoint provides millisecond-accurate data, giving a graphical image of production that provides Process Analysts plenty of food for thought. For example, many machines operate a series of non-essential mandatory and optional stops that slow down production times; perhaps just by seconds, but those seconds quickly add up to minutes, hours, and days, equalling lost production time.
A Case Study
A customer in Mexico, who operates a machine shop, successfully increased efficiency by 69% over a one-year time span, saving them $325/day as a result of implementing machine monitoring. At that rate of productivity improvement, the system as implemented paid for itself in 20 days, and the cost of the ShiftWorx subscription was recovered in the first day of every month.
Saving Factory Hours
FreePoint has been installing their state-of-the-art hardware into factories all over Canada and has saved thousands of factory hours in the process. Machine monitoring makes not only helps plant management but also provides instant visibility of individual contributions to the production process, allowing employees to monitor their productivity data via plant hardware and their smartphones. This data can be used for incentivizing hard work and assessing one’s working patterns.
When you consider the multi-step processes that go into the construction of a single product, you have multiple processes independently operating in a symbiotic operation. It’s almost impossible to oversee each individual production process from the factory floor; unless you incorporate machine monitoring that can pull together those errant processes into a single, synchronous process that saves downtime and increases the productivity of your factory and your workforce.
If you’re interested in processes that save people-hours, keep your machinery in tip-top condition, and provides instant oversight of the entire production process, you should consider machine monitoring – an investment with an almost immediate ROI.