Adapting Digital Transformation
After unprecedented events such as Covid-19 and ongoing geopolitical issues such as Ukraine and Russia War, manufacturing companies around the world are struggling with different kinds of challenges. A lot of small and medium-size manufacturers have no other choices other than to push themselves up to achieve digitalization of the process for two purposes;
- To address the mobility issues caused by infectious diseases such as Covid-19 which is consistently mutating and adapting
- The clear visualization of the production to cope with meeting the market demands to maintain or increase their market share when competing with their peers.
This led to the implosion of adaptation of digital transformation and Industry 4.0 around the globe but unfortunately, a lot of SME manufacturing companies do not have any idea where they should begin their transformation journey and these companies acknowledge that the challenging issues were forcing them to transform.
Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE), a step towards Industry 4.0
Meeting the market demand is challenging when there are issues such as supply chain issues and material shortages. Hence visualization of the production process plays a major role in advising customers with more accurate and detailed information and this leads to measuring the overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) of the machine. It came into the picture for two reasons:
- It is a way to measure the efficiency
- A way to forecast the production output.
By collecting and analysing OEE data, the manufacturers have more insights to identify the bottlenecks such as losses which cost them a great deal. Addressing the losses by implementing certain processes will lead to improvements in efficiency. With consistent data visualization with analytics, the manufacturers can provide forecast production output data on whether the current investments is able to cope with the market demands or whether it is time to invest in more new equipment to meet the demands.
Collection of data to present meaningful OEE data is easy when the manufacturers have machines that can provide data such as machine power on time, start time, stop time, the operator name, total output and so on. This was achieved by communicating to the machine controller and by using the data captured, data such as availability, cycle time and quality data can be calculated.
But when it comes to old legacy machines, there is a huge challenge. One of the major problems is that most of the old legacy machines have no controller to extract data out. Another problem is the machines are too old that the documents are either not available or not updated. Hence without those valuable data, the calculation of OEE is not possible. It turned out that investing in a new machine sounds like a solution but it is not practical since a large amount of capital expenditure is required to invest in a new one especially when the manufacturers own a lot of old machines.
DGNet – Machine Data Collection Solution
DGNet is an integrated solution designed and developed by LKH Precicon Pte Ltd to assist customers to jumpstart their digital transformation journey with machine data collection. It is nicely catered not only for those new machines with standard communication protocols such as TCP/IP, Modbus TCP or Ethernet/IP but also those legacy machines for which the controllers are either unavailable or it is too old that there are no clues how the data can be extracted out.
It can be achieved either adding on additional sensors or contact blocks to extract signals from the machines and directly input to the system. Based on the signal extracted, data such as run time, and cycle time can be calculated hence this leads to the analytics data such as availability, performance and quality and last but not least is the OEE of the machine.
This capability of the system benefits SME manufacturers to prolong the lifespan of the legacy machine with the lowest cost compared to conversion to a new machine which required a huge amount of capital expense.
DGNet solution is also designed with an option to add a graphical user interface (GUI) for the operators to input information such as reasons for the machine to stop and production order information. Hence the solution can be used not only for machine data collection but also for production order information collection which provides more meaningful data for the factory owners. It allows the owners to track the time taken to produce the goods for some specific customers with a specific order and with the forecast given by the customers. Also, the manufacturers can actually analyse and predict the production output to judge whether targeted output can be reached or not and they can take the necessary course of action.
- Connectivity by EtherCAT, Ethernet (TCP/IP, Ethernet/IP, Modbus TCP)
- SQL connection without any PC or Middleware
- Automatic Data Spooling when SQL connection breakdown
- IO Expansion possible with DG NET IO
- Dashboard to provide analytics insights
- An option with a local display to monitor real-time OEE
- Monitor real-time OEE and historical OEE data to optimize machine productivity
- Monitor machine downtime to improve machine repair time and maintenance
- Monitor cycle time to judge how the machine is operated & efficiency of the operator
DGNet – The Overall Integrated Dashboard
The solution consists of three different categories of the dashboard, machine progress, and OEE KPI comparison and downtime analysis. With the option of a GUI mounted at the system, the operator can track real-time OEE values to track and improve their performance. The dashboard is designed with the open source readily available software, Power BI from Microsoft.
Furthermore, the dashboard design is not fixed in the picture shown above. The solution consists of designing Power BI dashboard service for three categories (three pages for one machine) since these are important analytics data that are crucial for manufacturers. If more dashboards are required, it is possible to do so since the whole solution is designed in a very flexible manner.
The details of operation metrics this dashboard addresses are as follows.
- Runs Time Module – These modules allow the owner to know what happened to that specific machine at one glance. Also, it can monitor who operated the machines and the behaviours of the operators such as whether the operators start the machine on time or whether he is delayed by certain reasons.
- Availability – It shows the machine utilization and the availability comparison between machines can help to identify the bottlenecks caused either by the operator or the machine itself.
- Performance – It measures how fast the machine is running. For those legacy machines without ideal cycle time data, the system measures how fast the system run and the fastest data is stored. Performance is calculated based on the fastest cycle time.
- Quality – It measures the total production output and the good product. If there are too many rejections, the owners will know and the issues must be addressed.
- OEE Data – The calculation allows the manufacturers to compare the performance between the machines. At one glance; the management will compare the OEE first before diving into individual components to investigate what happened so that the issues of the losses can be addressed.
- OEE can be set as a gauge to track the performance of the machines and the operator. To make sure all the efficiency data are improving, the dashboard provides the comparison analytics data to ensure the production efficiency is improving.
- When the machine breakdown, there is a reason behind it. Either adding an ID to the reason or selecting of reason from GUI allows the system to track the frequency occurrence of the downtime caused by the specific reasons.
- Based on the information, the heat map can be designed and at one glance, the owner will know immediately what the frequent reasons for machine breakdown and the issues can be addressed.
DGNet and Future Expansion
The DGNet solution was catered for three machines to jumpstart the project but it offers flexibility for future expansion for multiple machines. There are also accessories such as IO Box available to increase the number of legacy machines to be connected to the solution. Even if the SMEs manufacturers decided to use Manufacturing Execution System (MES), the DG Net has the capability to feed the data back to MES as well since the DGNet support the Industry 4.0 standard protocol named OPC – UA. The system can serve as a gateway device to collect information to input the data back to the MES system since MES does not support machine controller protocols and normally drivers required to pull the data out cost a lot.
To conclude, the DGNet offers not only jumpstarts the SMEs manufacturing digital transformation but also can be played a vital role to provide a service as a gateway for machine data collection to integrate between the Operational Technology (OT) layer and Information Technology (IT) layer. IT system has always faced challenging issues when it comes to dealing with the OT layer and the DGNet can assist them by setting up as an OPC UA server hence the client from the IT layer can extract the data seamlessly in a secure manner.
|DG NET Box + Local Display + 2 Pages Power BI Dashboard
|DG NET Box + 2 Pages Power BI Dashboard
|DG NET IO Expansion Box for one machine
Interested to find out how DGNet can help in your business? Feel free to contact us!