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As manufacturers all over the world race to compete in a dynamic and global market, process improvement, waste reduction, and safety all become more and more pivotal within organizations in every industry. More and more frequently, it has become necessary for all types of manufacturers to address outdated technologies and processes with some regularity. System Integrators play an integral role in helping to address these concerns and in offering cutting edge, sustainable solutions. Recently, we took on the challenge of addressing some inefficiencies that were creating work stoppages, waste, and a level of unpredictability for a crimping operation at a cosmetic manufacturer's production facility.
The customer was finding that their Servo control system was having some issues with reliability, creating both unnecessary downtime along with quality issues. We were approached about evaluating what was causing these issues and making the necessary changes to correct the problem. It was found that some of the equipment in use was either outdated or insufficient for what the customer was trying to accomplish. Communications from the machine used in the process were identified as the main culprit for these issues.
Upon investigation, it was found that Ethernet cables being passed through a slip ring could be attributed for most of the communication issues from the machine. We quickly went to work, replacing all the electrical components including a fixed panel subplate, turret PLC, twelve servo drives and motors, as well as an HMI PC onsite and brought two production lines back up with minimal downtime. Our ability to address the issues quickly and come up with effective solutions in order to minimize loss of production between the two lines affected left a lasting impression on the customer.
It's important to understand the utilization of automation can lead to long term, sustained production by addressing key parts and processes that need to be changed or replaced on a production line or facility rather than reinventing the wheel. Think of it along the lines of an automobile: it isn't necessarily time to purchase a vehicle when the tires are bald or the brake pads are worn. What we can do is offer stop gap solutions that allow the customer to make the necessary changes while still maintaining a production schedule.