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How to Benefit from Real-Time Data in Production

Reading Time: 4 Minutes 11.03.2021 Currents & Trends

4 reasons why real-time data are an asset to production

Tight profit margins and a growing pricing pressure are among the challenges the manufacturing industry is faced with every day. If you want to ensure your success in the market, you must maximize the efficiency in production, whether you are a manufacturer or a supplier. You can achieve this, for example, by processing real-time data.

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Nowadays, status information in production can be entered automatically to a great extent. Numerous sensors measure various parameters and transfer the collected data to the ERP system in real time. In the following, we have summarized the benefits of real-time data and give you good reasons to use them:

  1. Quality as the top priority
    Short cycle times are a prerequisite for efficient production. For this purpose, scrap parts must be discarded as quickly as possible, for example, by means of cameras which automatically identify the defective parts. The discarded quantity is directly reported to the ERP system. If the error rate of an order is too high, the ERP system will automatically create a new work order to produce the missing quantity. Advanced planning and scheduling ensures that the required resources are available and the delivery date is met.

    The use of image processing systems also offers benefits if certain scenarios require manual rework, for example, after automated deburring. The ERP system then creates a work order for the removed parts for the manual processing at a workstation.

    Our customer, electric wire manufacturer Schwering & Hasse, is quite familiar with the benefits of immediate quality control. Each day, the company produces approximately 90,000 miles of wire and hence several million records. They comprise temperatures, velocities, and insulating properties. If a critical value is reached, an event is triggered in the ERP solution. The workers are immediately notified and can exchange a spool if the wire no longer meets the requirements. This avoids expensive scrap.

  2. No more unnecessary setup times
    Machine data help to reduce setup operations to a minimum. For instance, a worn tool doesn't always have to be replaced immediately. If you can use products of lower quality for another order or product line, you can continue producing. The ERP system recognizes the amount of lower quality products and assigns them to the respective orders or storage area lines. This way, you can increase the efficiency of the production at optimum quality.
  3. Problem spotted and solved
    Production downtime often entails serious consequences. The tighter the production schedule, the more severe are these potential consequences. The close integration with an ERP solution can help here as well. As soon as a machine reports a failure, the ERP system redirects the subsequent orders to alternative resources or postpones less time-sensitive orders. Hence, the agreed deadline can be met despite the failure.
    In addition, the software creates a maintenance order for the service team and provides the relevant worker with the worklist and information about the urgency of the incident. The urgency is valuated on the basis of the machine data and the availability of replacement machines.
  4. Direct connection to the ERP system
    Many roads lead to Rome, and just as many roads lead to the ERP system – and the way to ours is the Integration Workbench (INWB). Modern machines usually feature an interface in the OPC format (Open Platform Communciations) UA. Depending on the use case, some companies also use ODBC (Open Database Connectivity) or radio frequency (RFID) for exchanging data.
    If the ERP system receives data from many different sources and hence in different formats, the further processing requires a converter to convert the machine data into the correct format. Many ERP providers, including proALPHA, address this issue by means of an own integration platform with an Enterprise Service Bus (ESB).
    However, older machine models often lack such interfaces. You can still prepare such machines for Industry 4.0 using alternative solutions like retrofitting. (Interested in retrofitting? Find out more in this article).
Detailed data from production does not only offer benefits at the operative level but also at the strategic level. The more precisely your KPIs reflect reality, the better you can identify potentials for further improvements. This way, machine data support the corporate management in successfully implementing long-term optimizations and making sound decisions.


How to Increase Your Efficiency with Real-Time Data

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