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Ways that Mescon has seen MES systems save money

Mescon Engineers have been involved in automation for many years. We are often aware of privileged and commercially sensitive information. We respect the privacy and confidentiality of our clients, so each of the examples below are about a Fake company "MakeGlob" who make globs. Globs could be food (Cheese, jam, soup, Cordial), Chemicals, (Paint, Ink, Oil), Body Products, (Pills, Soap, Fragrance) or Pharmaceuticals. What a glob is in reality, is irrelevant the principles can be applied across the vertical markets. These scenarios use various solutions, such as vendor (Rockwell, Wonderware, Citect) and custom (VB on SQL)

Case 1: Reduction in oversupply

MakeGlob make 20 kg blocks of glob. They put in a tracking system that recorded the weight, time and serial number of their blocks. Previously over many years they found that the most efficient way to meet weight requirements  was to set the machine to deliver 19.5 kg blocks and top up each block to 20 kg, with 9/10 requiring to be topped up. 20 of these blocks were put on a pallet to be delivered to the customer. Typically the pallet had 405 kg of glob.

With the reports produced they realised that they were over delivering, and that the top up process, being manual and time consuming, was a bottleneck in the production speed. They considered that not every block had to be 20 kg or heavier, provided that the average block weight on a pallet was 20 kg or more. They decided that they could set the machine to deliver 20 kg blocks, and provided that the average of the last 5 blocks was 20 kg or more, they did not need to top up. They reduced the top up rate to 1 in ten blocks, the amount of top up glob required and the average pallet weight to 403 kg. They started to produce their glob, quicker with less resources.

As with any traceability system, when a product recall is necessary, they were now able to reduce this to designated pallets, rather than complete deliveries.

Case 2: Recall Reduction

MakeGlob manufacture a safety component to be included in the end clients product. A traceability system was installed that tracked the components that went together in the assembly, along with assembly parameters such as nut torque, and test parameters such as pressure. Like any traceability system, the savings were realised when recall was necessary, they could identify the specific parts that were affected, and only individual units were needed to be returned.

A interesting scenario occurred when we were called back to site, as they had a glob returned that was faulty, that they could not find on the system. With some investigation into the log files and the history, we found a reference to the part as a R&D test part; it should have been returned to the laboratory and destroyed. They quietly took the part from us, thanked us and  paid the bill.

Case 3: Real-time Compliance Testing

MakeGlob make parts that undergo a  suction and cooking process. The part is filled with GlobLiquid by a vacuum process, and then slowly brought up to temperature, hardened and slowly cooled. The Pressure and times are critical to the quality process. Previously they put the process data into a spreadsheet. The Quality officer would review the data, calculate key figures such as 'heat up time and rate' , and after a half hour process approve the part. The approval status was often days behind the actual manufacture. A custom MSSQL based system was installed that collected the data, and when the batch was finished, reviewed the data, and produced a report with all the key figures within seconds.

If all the figures were excellent the part was immediately passed and the operator informed. If the figures were bad the part was scrapped immediately, and did not consume downline resources and time. If the figures were close the part was marked subject to review and the quality officer was emailed the report and the spreadsheet.  The operator was able to immediately decide to hold the part or allow  it to move down the line depending on current production dynamics.
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