Continuing on its growth journey, MGS Technical Plastics has invested in the ThingTrax Manufacturing Performance Platform to better monitor its production facility, improving efficiencies, reducing costs, and future-proofing its operations.
Established in 1974, MGS Technical Plastics (MGS) is a family-owned plastic injection moulding company. The company’s Blackburn headquarters houses 18 modern, fully automated injection moulding machines, ranging from 35 tonnes to 900 tonnes, and boasts an impressive assembly department and toolroom.
The MGS team’s primary focus is on technical capability, quality, and service delivery; this approach has positioned the company as a preferred partner to some of the world’s leading brands. MGS has been trading for over 45 years, growing to 54 employees.
The manufacturer credits its success to its continued investment, not just in its facility, but also in its team. Eager to modernise and streamline its factory and elevate the service it provides to its customers, MGS has invested millions into the latest technology, efficient machinery, and the development of its people in recent years. This has all worked towards the company’s growth journey, which involves a turnover target of £10 million in the coming years.
In order to become a “smart factory,” MGS has taken steps to modernise its facility with investments that will save energy, time, and cost. As a forward-thinking manufacturer, the company is always striving to improve its processes, the quality of the components it produces, and worker engagement. To help achieve its goals, MGS decided to adopt an all-in-one solution that could streamline its injection moulding process and future-proof its operations.
With that, MGS approached award-winning technology provider ThingTrax, whose aim is to help manufacturers transform the way their labour, processes, and machinery connect. After evaluating ThingTrax’s capabilities, MGS implemented the technology on all of its machines in 2020.
ThingTrax was founded in 2015 by Aman Gupta and Imran Shafqat and is led by Software-as-a-Service veteran Paul Reader as CEO. ThingTrax offers a Manufacturing Performance Platform leveraging IoT technology, artificial intelligence (AI), and cloud computing to provide automated, real-time, factory-wide data and actionable insights that enable optimised operational execution. The modular platform is designed to be an affordable, future-proof solution that all manufacturing businesses of all sizes can adopt quickly. Their mission is to help 500 new customers each generate 500% annual ROI of incremental value for their businesses by 2026.
Speaking of what attracted MGS to ThingTrax, Judson Smythe, Technical Director at MGS Technical Plastics, said:
“We really liked what the guys at ThingTrax were doing in this space. They understand all the relevant technologies and are innovating using the latest Industry 4.0 concepts.”
Recommended for MGS, ThingTrax’s “Productivity” module is an all-inclusive hardware and software solution that enables manufacturers to increase productivity by increasing output and minimising downtime whilst simultaneously reducing costs. The solution provides real-time performance monitoring, triggers just-in-time operational improvement interventions, and enables deep-dive root cause analysis.
The ThingTrax platform gives the MGS team complete control over its machines, allowing them to monitor their machinery, predict breakdowns and observe employee workflow patterns. With ThingTrax, MGS employees can quickly and easily log in via any computer, browser, or tablet to view up-to-the-minute information.
The data and insights help pinpoint which machines are due maintenance and when production schedules can be optimised to allow more jobs to be run and generate more revenue. The reports can also locate inefficiencies to be corrected and identify which continuous improvement projects will result in the best use of the business’s resources, ensuring optimal labour and machine utilisation at all times.
The ThingTrax Solution: What is a Manufacturing Performance Platform?
The ThingTrax Manufacturing Performance Platform is a complete digital operations solution offering everything a manufacturing business needs to enable its digitisation journey. Customers simply choose to turn on the modules needed today with the comfort of knowing that ThingTrax has all the capabilities they will ever need as they mature and become more sophisticated with time.
- Daily Management – With the “daily management” module, you can set out your organisationally aligned performance goals, run meetings, proactively manage tasks, hold people accountable, instigate countermeasures, and reward team members who execute to achieve organisational objectives. Leverage this ThingTrax module to foster a progressive, positive, performance-oriented team culture.
- Productivity – With the “productivity” module, you can automatically ingest jobs from your ERP, drag-and-drop jobs to the right machines, then sequence the jobs for each machine into an optimised schedule. Meanwhile, sensors on each machine and cameras at each manual assembly cell or packing station give you real-time data and insights on jobs status triggering just-in-time interventions to increase output or reduce cost. Algorithms automatically predict if jobs will finish and be delivered on time. They will also automatically predict the knock-on effect of job delays on other jobs in the queue so that planners can adjust scheduling and customer expectations can be managed proactively.
- Quality – The “quality” module enables customers to manage customer complaints from receipt to resolution in a trackable compliant manner. The module guides teams through an 8-step process from forming a team, describing the problem, containing the problem, understanding the root cause, identifying a corrective action, implementing the corrective action, preventing the issue from occurring again, and recognising the team for resolving the customer problem.
- Maintenance – If you have opted for the “productivity” module, ThingTrax has all your machines’ operational data. It knows how many hours each machine has run, how much of that has been downtime, how much has been productive time, how many cycles have run, and how many parts have been produced with which tools. As a result, the “maintenance” module add-on can reference each machine and tool’s maintenance schedule, then automatically instigate preventative maintenance tickets and capture the status of those tickets. Increased visibility of maintenance across the business and proactive maintenance discipline enabled by ThingTrax maximises the lifespan of your assets and minimises unplanned downtime, which can cause expensive delays and missed customer deliveries.
- Sustainability & Safety – Most manufacturing businesses have corporate sustainability objectives. You will have goals to reduce your carbon footprint as well as continue to improve your health and safety record. With energy prices rising, you have the desire to monitor and minimise energy consumption as much as possible whilst maintaining output. With the ThingTrax sustainability & safety module, the platform can give you real-time insights about how each of your factories and your business as a group is performing against these corporate goals.
- Connected Applications – The ThingTrax Manufacturing Performance Platform is built on the latest technologies. As a result, through pre-built connectors, it can be rapidly integrated with hundreds of other applications without the need for costly or lengthy custom integration projects. Whether it be your ERP system (like SAP or Dynamics), a Business Intelligence solution (like DataBox, PowerBI, or Tableau), or countless other complementary factory applications with a few clicks, ThingTrax will interoperate with the other tools that you use to run your business.
- Partner Solutions – The ThingTrax Manufacturing Performance Platform offers partners who provide complementary services the option of digitising their offering together. Whether it be oil testing, PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) vending, spare parts vending, or any other third-party service that your manufacturing business relies upon…orchestrate it all in one place with ThingTrax.
The investment in ThingTrax has revolutionised the way MGS’s factory operates, which is crucial as the company enters new partnerships. The company has seen many benefits since the implementation of ThingTrax, as Judson highlights:
“For me, the visibility it provides has had the biggest initial impact; our management team have a finger on the pulse and know each machine status at any given point in time. This allows us to react quicker, plan better, and have greater control of our operation overall.
“From there, things like accurate scrap recording, downtime, and energy monitoring become very useful tools for supervisors and technicians to utilise.
“The costed vs. actual information is excellent too, really highlighting that production is running accurately and in line with the ERP system.
“ThingTrax has given us the perfect platform. With it, we can focus our attention and improve our manufacturing performance, making us a healthier business.”
For more information on how ThingTrax can benefit your business, visit www.thingtrax.com.