Detroit — Automotive suppliers are implementing cloud-based data software to increase efficiencies and decrease waste amid heightened lead times and a less predictable supply chain.
Livonia, Mich.-based automotive supplier NYX LLC is using M-Powered, a cloud-based AI software developed by ei3 and paired with Milacron machines, to help the company improve its manufacturing efficiency. The company, which makes automotive interiors, including door panels, center and overhead consoles and glove boxes, was able to drop its scrap rate by 23 percent, using the program, bringing it to below 1 percent.
Data analysis from the technology "is endless," Todd McCaig, plant manager at NYX's Linden facility, told Plastics News in an interview. "You can go back and see every parameter or setup for any part you produce at any time.
"Our customers like it from the standpoint that the data accuracy is better than the manual method of collecting data at different intervals throughout the day," McCaig said.
"With everything having extended lead time recently, double or triple what they were a couple of years ago," he said, "it's good to be able to monitor the equipment and predict potential failure to allow us to react to those in advance. It really helps to minimize the possibility of unplanned downtime due to inability to get spare parts in a timely manner."
"One thing we've gained from this system is a dashboard developed that is very visual-control," added Jeremy Schafer, operations and technical service manager at NYX. "Any of our operators, any indirect positions, can go to this [display on the manufacturing floor] and snapshot, just glancing at it, we can know if a press is running or down, if it's scheduled down for a reason, if it's running within tolerance for our scrap control.
"If a process is running out of what tolerances are set or what our desired process is, it will flash yellow so we know instantly what's going on," Schafer said.
The program's remote monitoring system will even send out a text if a machine has been down for a certain amount of time, he said.
"In the past, if you're a [processor], you're waiting on an operator to tell you, 'I'm having bad parts,' where now this system will tell me you're out of your recipe," and processors can catch the part "before it goes bad," Schafer said. "When you're not relying on human error, … if you set your windows and tolerances up correctly, you should be able to catch that before your parts go too far out of process."
"[Automakers] are always driving for higher quality and … the more controls you have, the more [likely] you are to have a good part every time," he said.