Vertech's OEE Case Study for Manufacturing Efficiency

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Vertech and Sepasoft’s Transcript on Centralized Data for Plant Optimization

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Mark French: [0:10] Hello. Thanks for joining us during this Sepasoft virtual event here in the premier MES integrator project showcase.

[0:19] My name is Mark French, director of operations here at Sepasoft. I’m joined by Nick Schuetz of Vertech, to share about this exciting project. Welcome, Nick. Can you introduce yourself, please?

Nick Schuetz: [0:32] Thank you. Yeah. My name is Nick Schuetz. I’m an industrial programmer with Vertech. We are a premier ignition and MES integrator with offices across the United States.

Mark: [0:44] Excellent. Thanks, Nick. Well, to set the stage for those watching, can you describe the scope of this project? Tell us about how large it was. Yeah, fill us in on the project, please.

Nick: [0:57] Sure. This is a multi-phase project with the first phase incorporating OEE and downtime across over 200 lines with future phases, including some SDC and track and trace.

Mark: [1:14] Oh, excellent. This is at a single site at this point. Are there plans to go multi-site in the future?

Nick: [1:21] Yeah. Currently, this is at one location. They wanted to really utilize this and start getting visibility on their plant floor before rolling it out to potentially multiple plants.

Mark: [1:34] Excellent. 200 lines, this must be a pretty heavy install. How many servers are we talking about here?

Nick: [1:41] Currently, a single server for the Ignition application and a single server for the database application. With a licensing structure, it’s very easy to incorporate more as needed.

Mark: [1:58] We have some idea of the scope. This is an OEE-focused project phase, 200 lines at a single site. What were the main challenges that this customer? I know the customer doesn’t want us to share their name at this time, so that’s why we’re saying the customer.

[2:17] What were the challenges that the customer was facing or are facing, that they want this software solution to help them address?

Nick: [2:27] A lot of their data collection was kind of spread throughout the plant and it was a very manual process.

[2:37] They really wanted to centralize that data, automate the data collection, and especially their downtime reasoning so they could really unlock the full potential of all their assets, and then use that data to drive operator training so they could really get the most from their operators and from all of their assets in the plant.

Mark: [2:58] Interesting. most of their data collection was manual. I think a lot of our viewers, especially manufacturers and users, can relate to that. That data was spread out between disparate sources, different clipboards, different spreadsheets, different databases. They don’t have good visibility.

[3:20] I know some customers have described that manual old-school approach as driving by looking through a rear-view mirror. [laughs] They want to look through the front windscreen, the front window in real-time. Very cool. How did you help them meet those challenges with the software solution?

Nick: [3:49] Definitely. Well, this project, we were able to provide one location, obviously, through the ignition perspective platform to provide some real-time information for their operators on the screens, as well as some historical reports for the management team so they can really view all this data, either currently as it’s happening or in the past.

[4:13] Use that to drive some of their decision-making, especially in terms of helping their operators and determining maintenance steps for their assets.

Mark: [4:25] Excellent. I’m hearing two big takeaways here for this customer. They want their operators to be more effective. If they’re using this data to inform operator training, they can see what kind of downtime reasons happen when Nick’s running the machine or Mark’s running the machine. [laughs]
[4:48] Then by visualizing and reporting on things like OEE and asset utilization, they can make decisions about using that equipment more effectively. Both of these, whether we’re talking about human resources or equipment resources, we’re not adding resources, but we’re going to get more out of the plant. That’s going to have a real tangible effect on the bottom line.

Nick: [5:16] Yes, definitely. This is definitely to really utilize everything that they have currently and definitely make it more impactful.

Mark: [5:24] Excellent. Well, I think everybody watching can relate to that. We all want to stretch our dollar further or have more efficient processes, equipment, and personnel get more out of everyone, right?

[5:44] Can you describe the implementation process, the timeline for the project? 200 lines, this sounds like it’s going to take some time to implement.

Nick: [5:55] Sure, yeah. Like I said, this is a multiple-phase project. The first phase has taken about eight months for the discovery process as well as the development and design. Then the future phases will be a little more accelerated around four to five months.

[6:12] In this design and the development, we were able to really utilize the newer 3. modules, and that’s helped us to scale it out to new, more lines more effectively.

Mark: [6:22] I know you’re realistic in your description of the project, saying a longer timeline of eight months. I think for those watching that have gone through MES projects for themselves, eight months isn’t really that long as far as these projects are concerned.

[6:45] To do follow-up phases that are at this point planned for four to five months, we’re talking about under two years doing a real full-fledged MES here. That’s pretty exciting.

Nick: [6:57] Yeah, absolutely.

Mark: [7:03] Nick, thank you, first, for sharing about this project. We look forward to…maybe one day we can convince that end user to share their name, maybe after those other two phases are complete. In the meantime, it’s still exciting to hear from you about this project.

[7:21] I think everybody watching can relate to some of those goals. It’s cool to see how you have used the OEE Downtime Module, Ignition Perspective, and other Ignition products to accomplish this for the customer. So very cool. Good job. Thank you.

Nick: [7:39] Definitely. Thank you very much.

Mark: [7:41] Any last thoughts before we wrap up?

Nick: [7:46] No, just want to reiterate that this would utilize the Ignition Sepasoft modules to really centralize their data collection so they can gain the full access from their assets.

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Nick: [7:59] As we get started, I want to show and demonstrate how easy it is to add a new line to the system for OIT. Just select whichever line you want to add.

[8:16] You can see that it populates the top header, giving an easy way for operators to switch between the different lines, allowing them to fully operate and run both lines simultaneously.

[8:32] We’ll jump ahead and you can see that it allows you to move between lines and show all of the information needed for each. On line one, we can see that there is a schedule with all currently scheduled work orders. Operators are able to select whichever work order they are required to run and they’re able to view additional order details.

[9:06] Operators are signed into an OIT through a pop-up that allows multiple users to be logged in. This allows multiple operators to run a line simultaneously while allowing a quarterback to be the primary operator for that line.

[9:30] When they go to begin a new run, an operator will just select whichever work order is required and they’ll set it as the next job. You can see in the top right it indicates which planned order is expected to be run next. They can cancel this job setup at any time. You can see it removes that from its planned order.

[9:58] Whenever the operator is ready to begin a run, they just select Start Changeover and sign in as the quarterback. As you can see, that line has now begun changeover. It shows that they are changing over to a new product. You can see that the mode and state is in changeover and it’s setting up in Changeover Mode.

[10:37] In Changeover Mode, you are still able to move back to view your schedule. You can see here that there is a highlighted schedule to indicate that that is the currently running schedule. You can also log in and out your operators.

[10:55] You’re also able to Record Scrap against this run, which is useful during changeover mode to indicate that you’re not creating good product currently. You are assigning it to a changeover possible type or just scrapping that to whatever quality code is needed.

[11:18] Whenever changeover is complete, you just select Changeover Complete. Again, logging in as the quarterback, you can see that changes it to a Production Mode for that current run. You can see that it’s now the Current Planned Order. It shows your current production counts for that run.

[11:48] On this screen, we’re able to see the Performance Tracker for the entire shift, indicating the production counts in 15-minute intervals as well as your line downtime spread across the entire shift, broken into the last 8 hours.

[12:17] You can also see your current overall OEE for the shift, your current speeds and target speeds, as well as your production counts for your run and your shift, as well as the top five breakdown reasons and accumulated time for those reasons.

[12:36] You can also see scrap information. When a job is complete, you’re able to move on to the End Run. Again, that button does not end your run. It just brings you to a Closed Job screen that allows you to view some more planned order information, your scrap information, and your current planned order status.

[12:57] You’re able to still return back to your production as well as record any final scrap that might be required. When you are satisfied with your job, you’re able to mark it as complete or incomplete and then close it. Again, logging in as the assigned quarterback to that line. You can see that that schedule has been removed from this line.

[13:25] I want to quickly highlight on the Overhead screens for the operators so that they can have a very easy way to quickly glance and see how their line is doing.

[13:44] For the shift, you can see the OEE for the shift, your shift start time, and your metrics for meantime between stop and failure, as well as your schedule compliance for your current shift. How well you’ve been running in terms of your line utilization as well as your current production run and a large time breakdown for your production versus your downtime and your changeover.

[14:18] You can see on this Overhead screen, if there were to be a planned order currently in Changeover Mode, the Production Run area will show you your changeover and what you’re changing over to as well as your amount of time used and planned. As your changeover obviously becomes longer, you’ll notice a changeover time slice in your large time breakdown.

[14:54] When a changeover completes for your run, it will go back to indicating how your production run is doing in terms of your produced versus your ordered counts.

[15:11] The screen also shows very quickly how your line is doing in terms of downtime, if it’s currently in a downtime state or if it’s in a normal, running production state.

[15:28] For Management screens, there are a variety of ways to view all of the data. For starters, there is the Plant Overview screen. This shows the data for all of the lines broken down into your site OEE information as well as the different areas that are part of the site.

[15:55] For this customer, they have four different areas. You can see that it shows your OEE, as well as the lines you have in production and offline for your total machine utilization. The screen also shows your top five breakdowns for all lines on the site.

[16:17] You can see that they are an accumulation of the downtime by reason for each individual line, as well as showing your average breakdown time and your minimum and maximum for that reason.

[16:35] You can also see the top five microstops. This indicates which of these breakdowns have happened underneath the short-stop threshold. You can see it’s, again, an accumulation of those downtime events and showing you your total value as well as your average and your min and your max.

[16:58] Over here, we also see a production total value in cost shown for your selected time range. You can also view the data broken down by your four different areas. You can see for Packaging, we have your OEE information, again, as well as your machine utilization.

[17:24] On the right, we have OEE breakdown for all the lines within that area as well as the planned order status. If we were to select a line, we’re able to see individual information for that line and how it’s running for the shift. You can see the production counts for that run and the entire shift as well as your top five breakdowns for that line.

[17:52] In the bottom, you can see the top five breakdowns and the top five microstops. Again, on this screen, it is showing you only the lines that belong to the area that is currently selected. Again, you can see your production total value cost for your area.

[18:12] For production schedule, managers and your schedulers are able to view your current schedule for all lines, so that you can see which lines are currently being utilized and which ones perhaps need to have something scheduled. For this, you can see for line one we are currently running a planned order and you can see your previous runs.

[18:39] For our production analysis, we’re able to view different reports. For starters, we have the OAPQ which shows the overall OEE availability, performance, and quality for all lines. You can filter and group the reports by different data points in order to get a different view of your data.

[19:09] If we wanted to view our OEE, our availability, performance, and quality by area, we would just select that and we can see that the information returned has been grouped by that data point. We can also filter by different items. If we wanted to filter by only the packaging lines and we were to rerun it, you can see that the information returned is a lot shorter.

[19:37] For production history, we’re able to view all of the production information within the time range. Again, grouping by different information and filtering by different information. If we wanted to view our production runs, you can see all the production run information returned.

[19:58] Selecting a run and double-clicking it provides a quick look at the particular run and all of its related information, including your timeline for your downtime reasons, as well as all of your downtime events, your rates, and your changeover and production counts.

Mark: [20:20] Thanks, Nick, and thanks to the Vertech team. We’re signing off.

Nick: [20:27] Thank you.

In a recent Sepasoft virtual event, Mark French, Director of Design Consultation at Sepasoft®, and Nick Schuetz, an Industrial Programmer at Vertech, showcased an innovative MES integrator project. Both Ignition and Sepasoft modules were used to centralize data collection, bringing real-time visibility and optimization to plant floors across the United States.

Project Overview

  • Objective: Integration of OEE (Overall Equipment Efficiency) and downtime data across 200+ lines with a future focus on SDC (Source Data Collection) and Track & Trace.
  • Location: Currently a single plant with plans to expand to multiple sites.
  • Servers: A dedicated server for the Ignition platform and another for database management.

Challenges Addressed

  • Centralized Data Collection: Transitioning from a dispersed, manual data collection process to a unified, automated system.
  • Downtime Reasoning: With the new system, the customer can better understand asset downtime and use this data for effective operator training.

Benefits & Outcomes:

  • Visibility: Ignition Perspective provides real-time data for operators and historical reports for managerial decisions.
  • Efficiency: The software enables better decision-making for operator training, equipment utilization, and more, optimizing both human and equipment resources without added costs.
  • Scalability: Vertech’s modular approach facilitates easy addition of new lines and seamless integration into existing processes.

Project Timeline:

  • Phase One: Spanned eight months, encompassing discovery, design, and development.
  • Subsequent Phases: Expected to last between four to five months, leveraging the capabilities of newer 3.0 modules for quicker implementation.

Excited to learn more? Reach out to us to schedule a live demo today!

Interactive Features:

Operators can now:

  • Swiftly switch between lines.
  • View and select work orders.
  • Log into the system, with multiple user access, for concurrent operations.
  • Track production in real-time, from changeover to production to completion.
  • Access overhead screens for a quick performance overview.

Managers gain:

  • Comprehensive plant overview screens, displaying OEE data, production vs. offline metrics, and top breakdown reasons.
  • In-depth analytics on microstops, production costs, and more.

Looking Ahead:

Vertech’s collaboration with Sepasoft® promises further innovations in MES integration, with a commitment to optimizing plant operations, maximizing asset potential, and elevating overall productivity.

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

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