What greater guarantee of quality can there be than when the manufacturer uses its own product and gets excellent numbers? This is what happened to NOVUS, which tested the new DigiRail OEE in its production lines. The result was a success: within 12 months, there was a 10% increase in Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE), the index used in the industry to measure efficiency.
Since the construction of the new headquarters in Canoas/RS (Brazil), NOVUS has applied 4.0 solutions in its production line. The company needed a specialized solution that was able to report the visibility and efficiency of manufacturing processes in real time.
Despite NOVUS having a strong culture of process improvement, prior to 2020 much data was still not collected automatically and immediately. The traditional Excel worksheets and the need for operators to make manual notes did not meet the speed and accuracy required by the company. The analysis of the numbers from the production lines was weekly, which ended up jeopardizing more immediate decision making.
In August 2020, DigiRail OEE, an I/O module for IoT applications designed for industrial systems, was in testing phase and installed in LINE 1 of NOVUS factory. After system validation, DigiRail OEE was applied to the other lines. Currently, there are 5 devices in operation at NOVUS, bringing improvements that are also reflected in the quality of the work provided.
Today, it is possible to know in real time when the line stops, as well as to follow the performance and the quality index. The analysis, which used to be weekly, is now daily and immediate. Whenever a deviation, such as a downtime, low performance, or high failure rate, is identified, it is possible to act immediately and mitigate the problem, consequently improving the OEE index.
In the period between August/2020 and August/2021, it was possible to observe an evolution around 10% in OEE in Line 1 (the first line to use OEE). The SMD Line, in turn, has measured the OEE since November 2020. Since it is a line with a more automated process, it was possible to improve the setup time (which is always very important) and reduce about 30% of this time.
By using DigiRail OEE in the production lines, the information has become immediate and accurate. All the data is collected automatically and, if necessary, everyone at NOVUS can access this information in real time. With the production processes well mapped, with reliable and real-time data, there was a continuous improvement in the processes, which avoided unnecessary downtime, quality failure modes, incorrect production rates and low performances.
The DigiRail OEE used at NOVUS operates with a HarboR LIVEMES system. In other words, a MES (Manufacturing Execution Systems), an automated control system designed to manage the process.
Using DigiRail OEE on its own production lines allows NOVUS to be more effective in tracking and addressing corrective actions. It also helps improve synchronism between planning and operations on the factory floor. The company can experience in practice the benefits of implementing 4.0 technologies in manufacturing. Furthermore, it can create an ideal, reliable, and robust connectivity environment between equipment and processes on the factory floor.
And the future?
The processes maturity, added to the knowledge and agility of the internal teams, allowed NOVUS to follow the evolution and maintenance of its OEE index above 80%, level considered historical by the managers. With the fully satisfactory results achieved so far, there is the assurance that it will be possible to reach higher levels of integration between systems and to continue with challenging projects, towards a more autonomous production.
Murilo Silveira Fernandes, Production and Processes supervisor, and Ronaldo Perotto, Operations director at NOVUS Automation, contributed to this text.