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Scottish Plastics and Rubber Association Scottish Plastics and Rubber Association

Real Time Monitoring in Plastics Processing

Andy Jewell, Solarsoft Business Solutions, Mattec Division

The SPRA meeting on 05 October, hosted by Rosti UK Ltd at Larkhall, took the form of a presentation by Andy Jewell, Solarsoft Business Solutions (formerly Mattec Corporation) on Real Time Monitoring and a visit to the moulding shop to see the system in action on a Demag all-electric moulding machine.

Andy described the attraction of real time monitoring as making more money through reduced variability in part quality, decrease in variability in machine processes, improvement in overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) and conformance with customers’ requirements. The system uses data from existing or additional digital and analogue outputs via a host computer interface and a Windows format, which is compatible with virtually any shop floor machine, old or new.
Chris Clark, Manufacturing Manager at Rosti UK, explainingthe real time monitoring system to Dr Gudrun Janke, Carron Phoenix Ltd
The system generates real time machine status, alerts (audible or email), SPC analysis and real time and historical reporting, scheduling and planning. The benefits of cost savings come from timely and more accurate data, which is easy to retrieve to aid better decision making. Better data on cycle to cycle variation and intra-cycle analysis lead to less scrap, more available machine hours and higher customer satisfaction.

 

real time monitoring diplay
Andy illustrated the benefits of real time monitoring with a recent case study. A moulding company with 18 machines was operating on a 7-day pattern and estimated the OEE as 80% and scrap levels at 10,000 ppm. After 9 months with the RTM system the real OEE had risen from 62% to 75% and, the scrap level was reduced from a corrected 14,000 ppm to a respectable 100 ppm. Also the company was able to reduce the number of machines from 18 to 16 and revert to 5-day working, all with considerable cost savings.

 

real time monitoring display
In discussion it was established that Rosti and other moulders had seen significant benefits from real time monitoring but it was established that the system could be readily applied to other processes such as polymerisation casting. Although the system indirectly monitors operator and technician performance, the benefits of reduced paperwork and improved productivity vastly outweighed any fear of ‘Big Brother’ consequences.

 

Chris Clark, Manufacturing Manager at Rosti UK, showing the Product Design students round the moulding shop
The meeting attracted a broad audience drawn from moulders, other processors, academics, school teachers and a party of Product Design students from Edinburgh Napier University. The students were provided with an extended tour of the facilities at Rosti UK Ltd in Larkhall.

Report by Charlie Geddes, SPRA Honorary Secretary, November 2011

 

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