Advanced Plastics Moves to Industry 4.0 with Matics

This case study shows how an effortless communication system and real-time insights from Matics helped injection moulding company Advanced Plastics achieve more transparency and a sizeable increase in productivity.

Advanced Plastics has adopted a holistic solution for real-time OEE (overall equipment effectiveness) management, enabling the continuous improvement of complex production processes in real-time, thanks to Matics.

Business Needs:

  • Eliminating manual processes that result in human errors and mistakes and adopting an automated, real-time objective solution to gain full visibility of all production resources within the production floor.
  • Real-time monitoring of mould usage by upgrading to a fully digital condition-based maintenance to prevent failures and waste.
  • Optimising communication between different personas, management and staff from every department and shift.
  • Tracking performance, making business decisions, and continuing factory daily routines based on real-time data and reports.
  • Dynamic planning of machines, auxiliaries, and tools to maximise machine utilisation and OEE.

Matics Solutions:

Real-time Manufacturing Management and Collaboration Platform

The impact:

  • Increased transparency and agility on the factory floor
  • Provided one source of truth for all employees
  • Eliminated manual work that was creating inaccuracies
  • Easily generated reports that allowed for optimal analysis

About Advanced Plastics:

PlastikCity partner and leading injection moulding company Advanced Plastics operates from a modern 50,000 sq. ft. world-class manufacturing facility in East Yorkshire, England. The company is providing a diverse range of technical injection moulded products for blue-chip clients from the initial design concept to volume production and variety for a series of tens to millions of units. Advanced Plastics manufactures complex products with world-class standards, serving across many market sectors, including automotive, aerospace, heating, and defence.

About Matics:

Another PlastikCity partner, Matics offer a RtOI (real-time operational intelligence) solution to instantly digitise entire shop floors by continually aggregating high-resolution multi-source data, fusing it together, and providing relevant stakeholders with contextually relevant decision-ready insights. The Matics RtOI solution aggregates data from any existing ERP or MES as well as legacy machines, facilitating communication, improving visibility, and providing an accurate overview of the state of production at any given point.

The challenges:

Advanced Plastics understood the value of real-time OEE and its ability to improve the production process continuously. Before Matics, the Advanced Plastics team allocated two admins per shift to monitor the production line every hour to capture and record the machines’ stop events and stop reasons. This tedious process required admins to manually calculate the production efficiency (OEE) on an Excel spreadsheet, which often created inaccurate data that led to wrong conclusions and actions. This is why the team was looking to adopt a holistic solution: to digitise the whole process and manage OEE in real-time.

Agility of the Production Process

With so many production components and multiple variables, Advanced Plastics needed to be able to execute, monitor, and keep track of all of the production resources in real-time. The manufacturer wanted to gain full visibility of the whole production journey from raw materials to final goods. In its mission to maximise its manufacturing efficiency, Advanced Plastics understood it needed to get more than just data: the company needed actionable insights, and it needed to have them available in real-time and from anywhere, all the time.

Manual Maintenance of Moulds

Advanced Plastics was keen on seeking a digital solution to help them manage mould maintenance and improve their control over mould utilisation. It wanted to reduce the risk of moulds being overused during production, causing a higher level of rejects. This process required an on-site maintenance manager that would manually track moulds throughout production and typically resulted in a lengthy, multi-step setup process that increased downtime.

Lack of Transparency

Management and staff at Advanced Plastics were overloaded with timely manual procedures. The company sought a simple solution to optimise communication between staff, track the team’s performance, and increase transparency on the shop floor.

Dynamic Planning

Advanced Plastics also longed for a solution to maximise the utilisation of machines and auxiliary tools, including dryers, conveyor belts and robots, to name a few. It was challenging to track all jobs that came from the planning system and see the current production status versus the plan. The team was also looking for a system that could easily identify delays or performance discrepancies before they occurred and immediately send a notification to all the relevant people to allow for quick and effective actions to prevent shipment delays.

The Solutions:

Faced with challenging requests and a competitive landscape, the Advanced Plastics team decided to adopt the Matics holistic platform to help with major tasks and routines, overlooking all aspects of the production floor. It would track and manage people, machines, tools and auxiliaries, all together and in real-time.

Following a smooth and simple integration of Matics, Advanced Plastics started realising its true OEE. Understanding the big gap between the manual measurement of OEE and digital automatic measurement led to a series of significant process improvements. By tracking all production resources 24/7 and getting real-time alerts and notifications, the factory succeeded in improving its production efficiency far more than they ever thought possible. The immediate access to all data and total visibility of production also helped Advanced Plastics with smarter, predictive mould maintenance and control over moulds’ usage that didn’t require an on-site maintenance manager present every hour.

Matics recorded and analysed the usage of each mould unit in real-time and counted cycles, sending alerts ahead to the planner and maintenance manager and preventing the problem of failures due to overused moulds. With Matics, Advanced Plastics got full control and was able to monitor units production in real-time, thus not allowing to operate a job with a specific mould once the end of the cycle was nearing.

Furthermore, Advanced Plastics experienced increased productivity thanks to better transparency and improved internal communication with the Matics’ chat messaging feature. Matics quickly became one source of truth for the whole organisation. This tool enabled the factory teams to optimise communication between various group members anytime from anywhere. Matics helped Advanced Plastics increase productivity by creating an effortless communication system, within the production context, between its staff and encouraged them to complete their work more efficiently and feel more accountable.

Our director is always using Matics, even at 3 a.m., constantly checking the status of the machines and using the chat options to notify operators in the factory,” says Luiza Kotaba, Information Technology Assistant at Advanced Plastics.

In addition, all routine production meetings were now using data coming directly from the system. With all needed information, customised dashboards and reports present in one interface and accessible to all, preparation for weekly or monthly meetings took minutes instead of hours. The dynamic nature of the Matics analytics tool enabled the slice up of any data set on-the-spot for more in-depth analysis and insights.

Dynamic planning:

With the Matics Gantt module, Advanced Plastics was able to monitor in real-time the progress and the expected completion times for current and future jobs, identify performance discrepancies before they happen, and minimise the risk of shipment delays. The next step provided by Matics would be the possibility to manage utilisation of all the different tools and accessories by moving them between machines, tracking in which hours they were used, knowing with precision when the needed tool would become available and much more.

Advanced Plastics also tracked the number of employees per machine per day to make sure it had enough employees for each job and make necessary changes.

For more information about Matics’ real-time manufacturing analytics and MES software, visit the company website.

Please note: the original case study can be found on the Matics Solutions website.

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