Global Leading Manufacturer of Irrigation Products Realizes Continuous Improvement with Sepasoft MES!
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Custom Built In-House Solution Receives Notable Transformation
Prior to implementing the Sepasoft® OEE Downtime and SPC modules as a solution, continuous improvement was entirely dependent on manual data collection and user input, delaying data aggregation and improvements by days or weeks. Data collection was therefore unreliable and inefficient, causing delays in providing engineers and operators with the tools they need to improve efficiency.
“Before we had Igntion®, it took me four days to get that data…now it takes me about a minute and I can pull up our site’s OEE, our different product lines’ OEE and if I see anything going on on the line, I can contact that ME right away and say ‘Hey, what’s going on?’ and we know ‘Hey this is down because of this, we’re having cycle issues’ or whatever is going on.”
―Javvad Syed, Senior Manufacturing Engineer
Built on the Ignition® platform, the Sepasoft® OEE Downtime and SPC modules help Hunter Industries maximize efficiency year-over-year. They manufacture controllers, rotors, rotary sprinklers, spray head sprinklers, nozzles, valves, drip irrigation, weather sensors, and more. Hunter is able to acquire more reliable data trends and analyses and fully transform their entire manufacturing data acquisition process, from a time consuming custom in-house built manual effort to a more robust, real-time automated process! Hunter found that the OEE module answered to their need for real-time efficiency analysis, as well as efficient monitoring of trend charts and alarming.
One key element Hunter capitalized on was by-the-minute OEE reporting and allowing Hunter to give the operating engineers the tools they need to make necessary adjustments. The Sepasoft® OEE Downtime Module helped eliminate scrap and ultimately realized a notable cost savings benefit, as much as $300,000 last year, attributed to continuous improvement with the Ignition platform and the Sepasoft MES OEE and SPC modules. Hunter realized an overall 8% OEE improvement after implementation.
“Since implementing Sepasoft’s products we’ve been able to…not only reduce downtime across all of our automation equipment and manual lines, we’ve also been able to drastically reduce the scrap across the organization and prevent a lot of unecessary overtime, and we’ve also been able better to quarantine our products that are non-conforming.”
―Scott Corbett, Manufacturing Systems Manager
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Endless Possibilities Realized Since OEE and SPC Implementation
The year-over-year performance and data analysis improvement that Hunter Industries has seen thus far has driven them to look beyond what their systems can do and look forward to a complete global synchronization including non-conformances, deviation handling, and even document control integration.
Since completing implementation more than six years ago, Hunter Industries has been able to consolidate about eight different data systems into one with a bright future of continual system integration beyond the scope of a single location. As Hunter Industries moves forward becoming more of a global presence, their ability to synchronize all of their manufacturing environments while maintaining organizational alignment is key to the success of their global operations.
“Continuous improvement is a big part of Hunter’s culture…we actually run really well…just this past year we’ve had $300,000 in savings from using the Ignition platform because we’ve been able to fine tune areas of production that we didn’t know that were available to us and that’s what Ignition offers, it gives you insight into opportunity. ”―Javvad Syed, Senior Manufacturing Engineer
Optimizing Hunter Industry’s Business Structure for Real-Time Success
Building out a successful implementation not only meant understanding specifically Hunter’s pain points and how to best solve those needs, but also providing customization tools each step of the way. This allowed Hunter Industries to optimize their need for flexibility while not having to customize an entire MES solution from the ground up. Sepasoft® not only offers all of the tools needed for a successful rollout, but also stands by the product and are just a phone call or email away from technical support.
When trying to implement an in-house solution, Hunter Industries struggled to achieve convergence between the plant floor, operations, IT, and executive level management. The Ignition platform along with Sepasoft MES solutions were able to provide a way to not only bridge those gaps, but to do so in a way that improved Hunter Industry’s manufacturing operations, both monetarily and across all lines of communication.
“At the San Marcos facility alone over the last three years, we’ve seen across the entire board we’ve seen about an 8% increase in OEE across all of our buildings…it’s equated to a pretty substantial cost gains because of those OEE improvements”―Michael Huelsman, Manufacturing Engineer Manager
“We explored several different companies that had software that could produce real-time OEE…and based on the ability for the software to provide quick development, to give us the information we needed in real-time, and based on the cost of implementation, the choice was obvious…we needed to go with Inductive Automation and Sepasoft.”
―Scott Corbett, Manufacturing Systems Manager
Hunter Industries OEE and SPC Case Study Transcript
Scott Corbett: (00:05)
Hunter Industries has been in business since 1981. We’re a manufacturing company making irrigation products and lighting products for residential, commercial, and agricultural markets. We were using a software that was built in-house by a senior automation engineer and he wanted to retire and no one else knew how to support the software and it also gave us another problem that it really didn’t provide real-time information, the only information we got from the system was shift-based CSV files that then had to be analyzed by another person afterwards.
David Winger: (00:40)
It worked for our basic needs, but it didn’t give us all those extras that we were looking for. What I mean by extras is, basically, the data was cumbersome. It was hard get through the data, see what was happening on a day-to-day basis. It lacked some of the performance side that we were really interested in.
Mike Huelsman: (00:56)
It put us in a position where we were always about two weeks behind. It would take four to five, six hours sometimes to aggregate the data, and then once that was talked about in different production meetings, it was, it was two weeks late.
Scott Corbett: (01:11)
We explored several different companies that had the software that could produce real-time OEE and, based on the ability for the software to provide quick development and to give us the information we needed in real-time and based on the cost of implementation, the choice was obvious. We needed to go with Inductive Automation and Sepasoft.
Mike Huelsman: (01:36)
As we transitioned to the Sepasoft platform with Ignition, it put us in a position where the old saying “knowledge is power”, we definitely moved to a position of power since the information we had was real-time. I’d say overwhelmingly the biggest thing we learned during the initial implementation is to keep it simple. We looked at things in a lot of different situations and we were typically looking at it, trying to get everything that the engineers need and not necessarily giving everything the operators what they needed. So, after the first time we rolled out Ignition, and saw what it was capable of, we realized we needed to get in there and really fine tune it more for the operator interfaces more, and that improved the level of data we got on the engineering side tremendously, when that engagement level came up on the operators.
Javvad Syed: (02:28)
Before we had Ignition, it took me four days to get that data. Now, it takes me about a minute and I can pull up, I can get up right now and go to my desk and we can look up our site’s OEE, our different product lines’ OEEs, and if I see anything going on online, I can contact that ME right away and be like, “Hey, what’s going on?” And we know, “Hey, this is down because of this, or we’re having cycle time issues because we had a sensor go wrong.” All these different things, we do it instantly or not waiting a week where we’re looking at previous months of data. We’re looking at everything in real-time. When you can make changes in the present, you can make progress in the future.
David Winger: (03:10)
Now we have trend charts, we have alarming, a lot of great features that were built into Ignition that really allowed us to keep an eye and monitor the performance of our product a lot closer than we did before.
Scott Corbett: (03:19)
Since implementing Sepasoft’s products, we’ve been able to, not only reduce downtime across all of our automation equipment and manual lines, we’ve also been able to drastically reduce the scrap across the organization and prevent a lot of unnecessary overtime. We’ve also been able to better quarantine our products that are nonconforming.
Javvad Syed: (03:38)
Continuous improvement is a big part of Hunter’s culture. We actually run really well. Just this past year we’ve had $300,000 in savings from using the Ignition platform because we’ve been able to fine tune areas of production that we didn’t know that were available to us. That’s what Ignition offers, it gives you insight into opportunity, and when you have the right team with the right platform, you can truly drive the significant savings.
Mike Huelsman: (04:06)
At San Marcos facility alone, over the last three years, across the entire board we’ve seen about an 8% increase in OEE across all of our buildings. It’s equated to pretty substantial cost gains because of those OEE improvements and really given the engineers the tools they need to track down the most important downtimes and performance lacking equipment to be able to make those improvements.
David Winger: (04:33)
We see endless possibilities, so that includes non-conformances, deviation handling, and even integrating document control into there. We’re trying to get to the point that our entire system works in tandem together, working in conjunction, passing information, manufacturing floor works quickly, so we’re trying to make sure we keep up with it. Our vision is just that, to make one system working together.
Mike Huelsman: (04:54)
On the floor, we mold billions of individual plastic parts here and we assemble them into tens of millions of products. To have a platform like Sepasoft and Ignition to help us sort through what some would consider the chaos of doing that on a daily basis has been an incredible tool for us.
Javvad Syed: (05:13)
We’ve been able to consolidate about eight different data systems into one, and with the future, I see us integrating even more systems, especially as we become global, to have one source of truth for four different manufacturing facilities, and having alignment in the organization of how to drive improvement in all those different sites with shared resources. I’m excited.
Scott Corbett: (05:36)
I’m really impressed with how far we’ve come in six years, to be able to really improve every aspect of our operations process. As I look forward, I know we’ve got a ton of work still to do because there’s constantly requests coming in for, “What? Can it do this? Can it do this?” And we’re always looking for ways from our employees to improve the system and make those changes a reality. What’s great with the Ignition and Sepasoft is we can deliver on all those ideas that our employees have.