For manufacturers, Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) is the gold standard for measuring productivity. A recent equipment upgrade project by the Avery Weigh-Tronix Malaysia team for a chemical producer has improved the customer’s performance, availability and quality figures.
The customer produces various types of formulated lubricating oils in cans, bottles and drums for motorcars, motorcycles, trucks and all types of industrial engines. Their production line consists of 9 units of material tank weighers, feeding into a 50T blending tank. These weighers were originally connected to 2 indicators, with 5 tanks connected to each indicator.
The output from the blending tank in turn feeds into 6 storage tanks, and finally the filling and drumming lines for a range of drums and containers. The tank weighers and indicators, which interfaced with a Distributed Control System (DCS), were all competitor equipment.
Avery Weigh-Tronix Malaysia had initially taken over the customer’s maintenance contract as the original equipment supplier was unable to provide a reliable maintenance service for the equipment.
The customer also had a significant accuracy problem where weight variances between the material tanks, blending tank and the output filling and drumming lines had caused high rejection rates due to wrong formulations and also product shortages in terms of the quantity of cans and drums which could not be accounted for.
The Avery Weigh-Tronix team worked with the customer to investigate the source of the problem, and found it was mainly caused by inconsistent weight signals transmitted from the old indicators to the DCS.
To combat the problem, the team replaced the two existing equipment with ten Avery E1080 indicators with digital weight signals transmitted via Profibus interfacing. The existing load cells and DCS system were retained to help minimize the customer’s capital outlay, meaning the team had to work with the customer’s incredibly busy system programmer on the configuration and interfacing of the new indicators to the customer’s existing system.
As a result of the customer’s very busy production schedule the entire installation, including full testing and commissioning, was completed within two weeks during a plant shutdown, thanks to detailed planning from the Avery Weigh-Tronix Malaysia team.
The project outcome was more than satisfying for the customer. Process accuracy was dramatically improved, and the weight variance range was tightened to less than 10% of the original variance range. This ensured that the customer no longer had to suffer product rejections and shortages.
With ten indicators now serving ten tanks, the customer is also assured that any future indicator problems will only affect a single tank and not five tanks as in the past. This has the added benefit of minimizing production capacity losses.
The upgrade project delivered gains for the customer in all three major components of Overall Equipment Effectiveness; availability, performance and quality, and demonstrates Avery’s ability to convert existing equipment involving new interfacing and programming work.