In many industries, the efficient and flexible packaging and filling of products contributes significantly to the success of the companies. Furthermore, you have to set market trends to win customers. In view of the growing number of new mixed beverages, packaging materials and packaging formats, both plant operators and packaging plants face the challenge of responding quickly and flexibly to the new challenges. The resulting upgrades to new specifications demand not only efficient working practices but also carefully planned logistics to ensure the correct handling of containers and packaging materials.
The filling and packaging of products are not just the final but also the most cost intensive steps in the value-added chain. The applied plants are highly complex, interconnected lines whose availability is between 50 and 75 per cent.
Downtime means losses. Since even the shortest amount of downtime, so-called micro-stops, can reduce a system's effectiveness significantly. Improvements are only possible when the key causes of downtime can be identified.
The most important functions of a filling and packaging line are carried out by fillers, labellers, palletisers, transporters and special additional equipment such as CIP (cleaning in place) and flash pasteurisation systems. Usually all the plant components installed upstream and downstream of the central machine deliver a greater nominal output than the filler to ensure trouble-free filling. Nevertheless, stochastically speaking, there will always be the risk of states or defects which propagate up to the filler causing it to shut down.
Within this context, a Line Management System provides a great solution and helps to determine the causes of downtime. Plant Acquis iT LMS from ProLeiT offers an add-on for the production data management system Plant Acquis iT, thus enabling simple access into the world of line management. In contrast to traditional LMS solutions, Plant Acquis iT Compact allows fast, simple and cost-effective implementation with reduced sensor technology, licensing and engineering requirements. Additional features provided by the add-on include an interface to existing ERP systems, and thanks to user-friendly operation via a web browser, the time-consuming and complex task of installing a client is no longer necessary.
Minimising downtime, maximising plant efficiency
Plant Acquis iT LMS records system and machine downtime automatically, reliably and exactly. The causes of downtime and other system or order-related data can be entered at any time manually via drop-down boxes. And predefined causes of faults can be enhanced and extended according to your individual needs. The threshold value for micro-faults can also be defined individually.
The entire data can be analysed down to the finest detail with the help of the drill-down-function: downtime periods can then be arranged hierarchically with varying levels of detail from the overall bottling plant to individual units. Plant Acquis iT LMS then outputs the generated reports at every office PC in the Intranet or on smartphones and tablets. Furthermore, customer-specific data can be entered and evaluated.
The add-on Plant Acquis iT LMS includes the following functions:
- Filler stop tracker – analysing the cause of the fault and recording its duration
- Electronic shift and order log
- OOE dashboard for current performance data
- Order list
- Web-based application
- LMS reporting
The automation class ‘filler stop tracker’ developed specifically for this add-on displays all the line data directly via the standard user interface of the Operation Manager. In the event of faults, this data provides the operator with very fast answers to the questions:
- Which line has stopped?
- What or who has caused the problem?
- What was the reason?
The design of the electronic shift and order log is similar to a personal organiser and enables shift-related data analyses. The order list also provides users with an overview of all the machines and their respective status. In addition, detailed information about the respective orders is stored here, e.g. material provisions, etc.
The extensive range of add-ons for Plant Acquis iT LMS addresses the needs of varying professional groups in the process engineering industry: for instance, production managers profit from the fast, web-based lists stating the causes and times of faults, while supervisors can use a generated report to gain an overview of the current plant situation before starting a shift. The user-friendly, menu-guided user interface allows plant operators to quickly and, in particular, consistently determine the causes of faults. Paper-based recording, which was always prone to errors, is now a thing of the past. Maintenance staff can extend Plant Acquis iT LMS simply by configuring parameters. They are also provided with a quick overview of a plant's weak points and can identify its potentials for optimisation.
In combination with Plant iT material, the module for process-controlled material management, it is also possible to achieve batch-precise logging and traceability.