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Innovative Thinking

KPI Best Practices

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are essential to effectively manage and keep track of organizational requirements, helping drive operational improvements. But determining KPIs for teams and individuals isn’t exactly straightforward and shouldn't be rushed into. Instead, a planned approach should be followed, keeping in minds the long-term operational goals that need to be fulfilled.

Basics of Lean Manufacturing

While the entire idea of Lean Manufacturing and the benefits that come with it do sound enticing, several system integrators and vendors that have tried to implement it have run into hurdles which have prevented a complete adoption of the framework. From unfinished actions following Kaizen, to constant doubts from the management team, to individual personalities, Lean Manufacturingoften leaves engineers scratching their heads.

What You Should Know About Cascade Control

Multiple sensors are often used for measuring parameters in controlled processes. In such cases, cascade control systems offer a much more viable and better choice than traditional single-measurement controllers. For instance, a temperature sensor that measures and alters the valve actuator in a steam-fed water heater may seem like a complete solution, but it would start to bottle-neck once multiple parameters start chipping in, such as mechanical friction.

Tips for Mitigating Harmful Harmonics

The widespread adoption of power electronics in the industrial sector did lead to astonishing energy savings, however at the same time it also increased the presence of a negative factor within the electric grid: Harmonics.

Harmonics are voltage & current waveforms that are sinusoids with frequencies that are some multiple of the base signal’s frequency. Normally, the world follows a pure sinusoid of either 50Hz or 60Hz. When a harmonic of 3rd order is introduced at a 60Hz power system, a component of frequency 180Hz is added to the system. This in effect, distorts the shape of the voltage & current signal that is fed to the appliance/component/machine. Example of non-linear loads include battery chargers, UPSs, VFDs, LED drivers, electronic ballasts, etc., most of which are usually found within commercial or industrial buildings.

Financial Benefits of Combing Automation & Safety Projects

Dedicated departments for engineering, environment, health and safety can be found in almost every mid to large sized manufacturing company. These departments have little collective knowledge-pool and coherence, since traditionally their KPIs have very little overlapping. For instance, engineers continuously work with operations to improve productivity & efficiency of the equipment, while safety professionals analyze & reduce risks. Therefore, it’s very rare for the two departments to cross paths. However, this attitude has to change if an enterprise wants to keep itself at par with the competition and adjust according to the latest market trends.

Vibration Monitoring for Machines

Vibrations, what may seem like so irrelevant and benign are actually quite serious, and possess the tendency to damage a machine’s sensitive components. When dealing with industrial machines, shaking is something for which all damping efforts are made beyond a known threshold. The major task is to determine whether the magnitude of oscillation being faced can be tolerated or if needs to be stopped.

Design Out Waste and Build Lean In

Industrial Automation may have eased the manufacturing sector’s worries about an abundance of things, but there are undoubtedly times where over-automating a unit isn’t the solution.

It is noted that product and process designs take up 80% share of the total manufacturing costs, but almost always control engineers work hard to reduce the 20% left, rather than rectifying any errors in the former. The father of Toyota’s Production System, Taiichi Ohno devised seven canons of any design process that account for wastage of resources, and ultimately drive up costs. Today, the concept is known as Lean Manufacturing, and heavily followed throughout the world. These seven wastes included overproduction, waiting, transportation, over-processing, inventory, defects and motion.

What Industrial Analytics Platforms Offer Manufacturers

Internet of Things has brought several changes to the conventional manufacturing landscapes, one of the major ones being the new wave of data streams due to a wide variety of sensory devices. Industrial Analytics is a concept that sits at the helm of all this, turning raw machine data into information that can be used to drive intelligent operations and processes.

Improving Shutdown Process

Millions of dollars are wasted on shutdowns by companies who are not aware of the ways to develop their shutdown process.

If an employee is hurt on a machine, all of the machines must be shut down in your facility. Factory shutdowns are necessary in this case, but they are often done incorrectly. You can look at other companies having these problems and understand how to fix certain issues. The process of shutting down is a series of documents and meetings resulting in a final report that displays everything that was learned and what to do if this happens again.

Five Factors of a Successful Launch of Your Lean Journey

 

Lean manufacturing can be a very worthwhile investment, as it can have a very significant effect on your productivity and profitability. But beginning your lean journey is a daunting task and a serious investment, involving a lot of effort and a bunch of money. If not managed properly, a launch into the lean is at risk for serious failure, so keep the following factors in mind to greatly increase your chances of a successful launch.