Reacting quickly to prevent downtime
Now that he’s gotten more familiar and comfortable with the system, Duprey has begun to involve other plant personnel in the troubleshooting process.
“Now I have the system shooting emails out to plant supervisors and production leads on the floor. They’ll get an email the instant we run out color or for whatever reason it alarms. So, they’re going to be able to identify it on the spot and address it before the press actually shuts down. We have a reservoir underneath each blender that holds about an hour’s worth of material so we’ve got an hour to react. That’s awesome because it gives us an hour to get somebody over there to fix the problem before it actually causes us downtime.”
Tracking down quality issues
As good as the system is, however, some off-color product (what Duprey calls “lights and darks”) can still get shipped. This generates a Customer Action Report, and he needs to find out what happened.
Since all shipments are time/date stamped, this is easy. Using the SmartServices portal, Duprey can quickly go back into the system history and identify which blender had a problem and determine exactly when and for how long.
The SmartServices portal also has the ability to track how much of various materials are being processed and confirm that the ratios of virgin, regrind and colorant are as they should be. Correlating total throughput with total parts produced provides a check on the accuracy of quoting and allows MRP to be more accurate in its estimates.
Scaling up the connected factory
As more equipment is connected to the system, Duprey expects his IT department to make much greater use of SmartServices. In the near future, he’ll be able to connect his FLX conveying control system into SmartServices and have the same centralized monitoring, control and data-gathering capabilities that he has on his Conair blenders.
“That’s definitely where I’m trying to take our company,” Duprey said. “I want things smart. I want traceability. I want to be able get useful information out of our systems. I want to get our systems to really work for us, and Conair is the company helping us get there.”