The client is an Asian laminate sheets manufacturing company exporting bakelite, industrial laminates, paper and fabric phenolic laminates used in electrical and auto electrical industries.
The company produces laminate sheets of varying width and sizes from kraft paper and phenolic resins. About 16+ manufacturing batches run through hydraulic press machines daily.
Each batch of laminates is processed at different temperature, pressure and time. To maintain optimal quality of output it is important to contain the above attributes within specified limits. Hence constant monitoring of the process parameters and resolution of deviations is important.
However, given manual processes and paper log entry of data, it was difficult to track deviations from specified benchmarks. Consequently, root cause assessment of quality issues and corrective action was difficult.
The manufacturer partnered with HitechDigital to develop an automated production process KPI monitoring system.
Digitalizing the current KPI monitoring system and gathering relevant data threw up challenges such as:
- Analog sensors used by the manufacturer could not capture data from the machines
- Manual entry of data points for various KPIs such as pressure or temperature was inaccurate and random. This failed to give a correct picture for any root cause analysis in case of deviations and other quality issues.
Hitech developed and installed a production process KPI monitoring system that provided for:
- Real-time monitoring of process parameters like temperature, pressure and time duration
- Sending of alerts and notifications through SMS/emails on breach of batch level threshold values to relevant users.
- An input screen to allow user to easily create daily production batches, adhere to defined batch sequence along with its respective batch start and stop values.
- On demand reports on completion of each batch.
Assessment of as-is conditions
Based on a detailed in-person assessment of products and processes, the HitechDigital team:
- Identified and documented all the parameters and their respective values that impacted the laminate sheets production
- Studied analog sensors and log-book data for existing data patterns
Deployment of production process KPI monitoring system
- Installed temperature (RTD) and pressure sensors onto the hot press machine and connected them with the IIoT gateway.
- Developed a KPI monitoring dashboard to streamline daily production containing details on batch creation, number, sequence, product name, customer name, and min-max values for pressure and temperature.
- Designed a KPI monitoring interface to help operators feed in data points related to batch creation, number, sequence, product name, customer name, and min-max values for pressure and temperature.
- With the help of Edge Computing and IIoT gateway, the system shared event based KPI data points over Cloud to reduce bandwidth consumption and storage capacity.
- Automated batch start and stop based on defined temperature readings and batch sequence.
- Designed intuitive dashboards on IIoT platform for online monitoring of batch KPIs, and to generate on-demand reports.
- The reports contained details on batch number, sequence, product name, batch start and end time, min-max temperature and pressure.
- Instant alerts and notifications were raised through web app, SMS and emails to respective users on breach of temperature or pressure threshold parameters.
Tools and Technology
- IIoT gateway, IIoT platform, Azure Cloud and Digital Sensors