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Real Industry 4.0 in MEVGAL
Jan
01

Real Industry 4.0 in MEVGAL

If a production company intends to connect all the data from its production machines in a single control system, it can ensure the sustainable growth of its business through the commitment to apply Industry 4.0 practices.

MEVGAL is one of the first and largest Greek companies that sought to transfer their production and packaging to the new digital era.

Various productivity management issues arise in all production companies, which is normal considering that their production relies on two factors: people and machines. When a company invests in the purchase of machines with a specific nominal output of e.g. 10,000 items per hour, at the end of the day it needs to know the actual output of each machine and the reasons why it did not achieve 100% performance. Considering that one production line consists of dozens of machines and that the entire factory consists of dozens of production lines, it is clear that it is practically impossible to have this much-needed information per machine in an instant. This would require many people to be working on this alone, constantly recording data on paper or computer. This, too, would reduce the company's productivity.

The realisation of the need for the direct receipt of information from the production areas immediately gives rise to many different questions.

  1. How can I monitor my production lines from the office?
  2. How can I receive on-line information on the output of each machine in the production line without having to search through Excel reports or documents?
  3. How can I see any machine failures, the frequency at which they occur and if they were repaired on-line and in-time?
  4. How can I directly combine data from production and packaging machines without having to search through documents and Excel files?
  5. Is there a way to receive immediate information on what is happening in the production area without having to have employees record and enter data?

 

The answer to all these questions has been provided by Acmon Data's TracePro, an integrated packaging line production and performance management and supervisory control system that is connected to the ERP system.

 

In particular, the project involved the electronic management and recording of the following procedures:

  • Implementation and supervisory monitoring of the production program and the corresponding production orders, while guiding and protecting operators from making mistakes;
  • Central collection, management and statistical processing of data on production, productivity and output of machines in the packaging lines (Key Performance Indicators, OEE)
  • Monitoring and supervisory control, in real time and on-line, of the status, productivity, output and deviation from theoretical values of all machines and subsystems;
  • Central management of marking and labelling machines based on the production orders running in each packaging line;
  • Supervisory control and recording, in real time, of measured quality characteristics of products (sample weight control);
  • Recording of consumption of raw and packaging materials, together with the inspection and management of lots based on production orders;
  • Full traceability, knowing and recording the events of each production order, as well as the lots of every material used.

In the ERP system, once the production manager creates/enters the production program, the production orders that are to be executed are automatically created based on the standard recipes. Through the interface, TracePro creates the packaging orders that must be implemented, which in turn appear in the packaging manager's computer. Each packaging order states all the necessary data and presents all the required raw and packaging materials (BOM) in detail, as well as their lots and other crucial information.

TracePro records and manages information for every machine in each production line, such as start/end times, operation/waiting/idle times, alarms/failures and the causes thereof, counters, etc.

The Monitoring / Implementation of working orders takes place as follows: An industrial terminal with a touch screen has been mounted on every packaging line. The following appear on the screen of the line's industrial terminal:

  • The production orders that are to be implemented;
  • The status of the current order (production, productivity, output, and deviation from theoretical values and target values);
  • Materials that have been consumed (quantities, lots);
  • Sampling data.

When the operator selects the production order that is to be executed, the following appear on the terminal screen:

  • The necessary raw and packaging materials;
  • Instructions on the execution of the order;
  • The number of samples that must be weighed (sampling program).

Furthermore, TracePro sends the correct settings to the marking systems, thus eliminating the need to have them set manually by an operator. This results in greater productivity and the elimination of any mistakes. Moreover, it notifies the operator when a sample must be weighed, and since the sampling scale is also connected to the system, the operator does not need to record the measurements anywhere. A very basic function of the system is that in the case of unexpected/unspecified stoppages, it asks the operator to specify the cause category. This is done by pressing on the touch screen, thus recording it automatically. Therefore, the operator will never need to use a pen and paper to make a note of anything.      

The following are recorded in the TracePro database for every production order:

  • Number of correct and faulty trays
  • Number of tray packages
  • Total production
  • Consumption of raw and packaging materials, and their lots
  • Stoppages of machines and other equipment (duration) and the causes thereof
  • Weight of samples and the time at which they were taken

 

TracePro is an important tool that effectively helps to boost performance and productivity. It is also a highly flexible applications solution as it can be adapted to the needs and particularities of each production plant, regardless of how small or large it is. This software helps companies to determine their needs at the operational and administrative level (production departments and lines, raw materials, machines, parts, etc.) so as to keep up with the dynamic of the market.

TracePro is an investment for all those production plants that aim to boost their dynamic, such as the Greek dairy industry of MEVGAL, which has been around for 68 years and boasts substantial export activities to over 35 countries. MEVGAL, too, has chosen TracePro as part of a large investment plan that was implemented over the two-year period of 2017-2018.  Because the growth of a company can only be realised through investments in production, know-how and its people.

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