Plant Apps Pro Tip 110

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Plant Apps Pro Tip 110

Identify and remove the poorly made products that continue on through the process, with Proficy Plant Applications. 

Stop Letting Waste Flow through your Process!

Q: What does a sewer and your process have in common?
A: They both have waste flowing THROUGH them. 

Ok… let me explain.

Have you ever worked on something only to find out later that it was all for nothing?

Imagine finishing the icing on a beautiful birthday cake only to find out that a key ingredient was missed. Imagine completing a homework assignment and then discovering you had misunderstood the topic. Imagine driving on the thruway and simply taking the wrong exit. Bummer.

For many manufacturing companies, this isn’t a one-off issue. It is an unfortunate norm to their every-day.

Let’s examine a real-world instance. We helped a company with a known quandary: they could only physically inspect their product at the very end of a multistep process. Picture in your mind a process that cleans, applies multiple coats, cuts, rewinds and inspects a reel of expensive material.

Only at final inspection are any test samples taken. Physical samples are used to produce quality metrics that simply confirm the reel could be released for shipping.

The occasion of a bad reel could be due to an issue at the start of the process. And yet, the reel continued to travel through all of the steps: machine time and labor consumed, expensive materials wasted, schedules disrupted and morale reduced.

  • With inspection at the end, it’s just how it goes… Or is it?
  • Is it necessary to go through all of the steps to just find out it was all for naught?
  • Could it ever be known whether the material had an issue BEFORE the final inspection?

The Aha! Moment 

Consider the coating application in the above example. Many variables must work together to distribute the material in an even and planned manner.

The speed of the unwinding reel needs to be coordinated to the pressure of the spray nozzles that apply the material. The temperature of the material interacts with the humidity of the air to dry properly. The mixture ratio and components also add to the challenge.

Indeed, there are a good amount of variables to track. Here is the good news: when variables are controlled, variability is reduced. Let’s aim to control the conditions that produce the desired product as defined by the quality tests already in place.

Aha! Simply correlate the process and quality data.

Even though the reel cannot be physically inspected until the end, it is still possible to create a set of “soft-sensors”.

For each step in the process, capture the key conditions (speeds, pressures, temperatures, etc.) that have been shown to produce the needed quality of the finished product: the Golden Profile. When the conditions of the process step match the Golden Profile, allow the material to continue on to the next step.

However, when conditions for making the good product are not met, take actions to reduce the risk of further production steps: trigger alarms for operators, automatically set the product on hold, message the quality team and initiate standard procedures.

That is how you stop waste flowing through your process.

What it means for you

You can stop waste from flowing THROUGH the process.

Yes, issues like this are very damaging. When they occur:
• Time, energy and materials are wasted.
• Resources need to be rescheduled.
• Morale hits a low-point as the process is restarted.

Yes, these issues can easily be avoided when care and technology are combined.

Fortunately, the solution is easily achievable with Proficy Plant Applications. Start by digitally recording all of the quality values completed during inspection points. Then, tap into the machine signals to summarize key points about the process. Use the additional tools within Proficy Plant Applications to correlate and identify the key conditions needed to make a perfect product: the Golden Profile.

What's next?

Is your company taking advantage of this feature?

Check with your Quality team. Then, reach out to us to discuss the simple steps that will help you to reduce wasted effort and increase stability.

Contact us to learn how your peers have leveraged the powerful capabilities already in their system.

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Chris Carlins

Plant Apps Pro

This Pro Tip was prepared for you by Chris Carlins. We hope you like it.

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