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12 Manufacturing Tips for a Brilliant 2017 (Part 1)

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12 Manufacturing Tips for a Brilliant 2017 (Part 1)

To boost productivity in the next year, these tips will show you what data you need to collect. This series starts off by stressing physics and knowing what not to make.

· IoT Zone ·
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New Year’s is always a good time to reflect and plan. So here’s the first in a series of manufacturing tips for having a brilliant 2017. 

GE is executing its own strategy for developing brilliant factories that are digitally optimized to drive greater efficiency, productivity, and lower costs. In this brief series, I will share some stories of how analytics and data intelligence have been applied to discover inefficiencies or problems in manufacturing plants—unlocking new levels of performance and factory optimization.

Let’s start with manufacturing physics.

Tip 1: Physics

The psychology of the manufacturing organization can be predictable; employees tend to do whatever they are measured to do. Operators have production goals, and many times they are measured against each other. Results of these measurements of production throughput can have an inverse effect on plant maintenance.

In a heavy industry or complex discrete manufacturing plant, the culprits are sometimes the operators themselves. To their credit, they want to meet their production goal and exceed them. To do this, they will increase the feed rate of a machine they are working on. We know in physics that there is a relationship between velocity and force of impact. This takes the form of the equation K=1/2mv^2, where K is the kinetic energy imparted, m is mass, and v is velocity.

Therefore, the force of impact of an operating machine goes up by the square of its velocity or speed. The faster you go, the more your machine wears out and breaks. Experienced operators are better at increasing the feed rate; the problem is that less experienced operators try to replicate this activity, and that results in greater issues.

Operations shortcuts plague supervisors on production lines who need to watch and keep track of how their operators are performing and maximize the overall operation. That's why it's very important to have a tool that can calculate overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) in the context of production information and production rate.

By analyzing this data and looking at it over time, supervisors can come up with the optimal rates versus maintenance schedules for their machines and their portion of the plant. They can also keep tabs on worker productivity versus maintenance costs. This also allows the operation to make better, smarter goals for workers to balance all the needs of the plant.

Better living through data analysis and analytics is the mantra of a Brilliant Factory.

Tip 2: Stop Making What

Chemistry has always been fascinating to me. Mixing two elements together and having a reaction that provides the ability to improve the way we live is an important part of civilization as we know it today. One such process is that of a battery, which provides power for many of the devices we use every day.

The design and making of batteries are both a science and an art. Many things need to be considered, including the operating environment, and current draw and charge rates. Battery manufacturers are also very concerned with safety and the use of their batteries by consumers.

Because there are many battery manufacturers around the world, the supply chain aspects of producing and selling batteries becomes very important. It’s important not to make too much stock and produce stock that is of high quality, and to be able to react to an issue in the field very quickly in the supply chain.

In the past, we worked with a battery producer that was having issues with a battery that was used in data centers. Under certain conditions, it would fail dramatically.

Because this customer had an MES solution in place that was generating a great amount information, it was easy for them to analyze the process and trace back to the issues with this battery to make improvements.

But before this can happen, the manufacturing organization needs to be notified of the issues in the field. This communication of what is going on needs to happen in near real time to influence the bottom line.

Unfortunately, communication of the failure rates did not go back to the manufacturer organization and it produced over 1,000 units of bad batteries before it could halt production. Having a linkage between the field, the supply chain, and the manufacturing organization to make continuous improvements and to communicate the status and demand for product can save literally millions of dollars in a large organization.

This is the power of a connected organization that leverages the digital thread and data to drive operations.

industrial internet ,iot ,manufacturing ,connected devices

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