The following summary, from the editors of ControlGlobal.com, was derived from a presentation at Rockwell’s Automation Fair 2009 in Anaheim, California.
"There's always the pressure to do more or to do the same with less," said Duane W. Hiveley, manager, controls engineering, at Teva Parenteral Medicines. "Management is asking whether we really need new equipment or if different equipment can be used. There are many approaches to the idea of cost containment. The main thing is to make sure you have a simple approach on which to base performance."
Hiveley, who led the implementation of an overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) system at Teva, recommended asking yourself how well you really know your manufacturing line performance. How does downtime affect your profits? "It measurably affects your downtime in wasted labor and materials, lost production, reduced customer service and interruptions to other processes," he explained. "What can be done to unify common goals? You can't improve what you can't see, and you can't control what you can't measure."
OEE can be measured by looking at availability, performance and quality. "OEE is the simplest key performance indicator (KPI)," he said. "It measures how much is made that can be sold, vs. what could have been made. OEE software is not an HMI or SCADA application. It's good for general guidance and excellent for summarization, but it's not real-time data collection."
Implementing software that monitors manufacturing line equipment and provides an OEE and process reliability visualization tool is worth the investment, Hiveley said. Improving operational efficiencies targets line effectiveness and addresses the growing efforts to reduce costs and make a positive impact on the bottom line.
The implementation of line monitoring software is relatively simple. The biggest hurdles are the commitment to create manufacturing visibility and gaining the buy-in of the line operators. The collection of data and the translation of data into knowledge to make lasting process improvements is what OEE is about.
"We specified an OEE system, the Rockwell Automation FactoryTalk Metrics solution, in 2009 on a packaging line with high visibility and high utilization," explained Hiveley. "We needed the solution to be bolt-on, and we didn't want to add PLC code to get the data. We wanted it to be connected to the company intranet, and the HMI location was very important to us. There are limited operators on the line, and we wanted them to easily access the system so they would use it."
Teva chose FactoryTalk Metrics Server, PanelView, CompactLogix and two web-based PCs that were put on the line to create a high-profile implementation and to demonstrate how the OEE system could work throughout the company. "This took us one day to install, and it was very non-invasive," he said.