Most articles in Glastory are about glass tempering or typical glass-processing issues. In this article, however, we decided to look into the glass-processing factory as a whole – and ways you can utilize your factory to its full potential. Previously, we discussed the possibilities of online reporting and process monitoring in regard to tempering. But can these possibilities be also applied to the whole factory? This is the question we will try to answer in this latest blog post.
New factories are increasingly more often equipped with various reporting tools and solutions that enable glass processors to have clear visibility of their production machines at all times. Still even today, such monitoring and reporting systems are costly and require a high level of integration with production machines. This leads to situations where small and medium factories need to carefully consider if investing in a monitoring system is in fact financially worthwhile.
Now, let’s consider existing factories. Most likely they have equipment from various suppliers, some machines being newer and some older. Different machines have different kinds of reporting systems, but only the latest machines enable online access to data. What these typical factories are lacking is a comprehensive view on the entire production. This means they are lacking a validated answer to the question “How is my production running?” To run your factory efficiently, it’s extremely important to have reliable data about material flow, bottlenecks and utilization rates.
Why is it important to know your production?
At this point, you may be asking yourself why is it so important to know all these details about your production. Surely, throughout the years of operation, you have formed a general understanding of how your production is running. Reports from individual machines also give you some indication about this. But it requires a lot of manual work to have all data in a form that actually gives you comprehensive information about your material flow. This means that it will take you time to detect and fix problems and other bottlenecks along with verify development goals. This also means that you are lacking real-time visibility of your production, which would allow you to track your production goals on a daily or even hourly basis and enable you to easily compare how different shifts are performing.
Why is it difficult to add a reporting system?
If you have been considering adding a production reporting system to your factory, you already know that there are many different solutions available in the market. Most of them will give you exactly what you need. But the downside of many is that their implementation and deployment is slow and costly. Each project is different because it calls for thorough machine-specific customization – and there are no two factories with all the same machines. This factor often leads to unexpected delays and additional costs. So only after a project is complete will you finally have full access to the data provided by the machines.
Unfortunately, large-scale projects like this are not possible for many companies. Even though the result of a working system is generally good, the costs and deployment time do not make the investment financially feasible. Also, you won’t have a guarantee of the end result, and high costs require you to fully commit to the system before you even see it working.
What alternatives do you have?
In many cases, a lightweight solution that gives you comprehensive visibility of your production would be more than enough. An example of such a system is Insight Full Factory, a factory performance reporting tool designed specifically for the glass industry. Compared to traditional monitoring solutions, Insight Full Factory concentrates on measuring high-level events, such as glass pieces processed, machine processing time and environmental conditions. The system requires no integration or interaction with existing automation systems – it is completely independent, which makes it a quick and secure solution. Besides, it works with both old manual machines and new fully automated machines from any OEM.
The system has been designed from the beginning to address the problems of highly integrated, costly solutions. It is completely wireless and utilizes modern sensors that are attached to the machines by magnets. This makes installation and setup extremely easy. A good example would be a recent installation of the Insight Full Factory solution in a factory with 10 machines – it took only 90 minutes to complete the whole procedure without any production stops.
How the reporting system makes your life easier?
As a user of Insight Full Factory, you can have access to all information from your mobile device at any given time, even when you are outside your facility. Standard reporting can be scheduled as desired to defined management email addresses so you can start your working day with fresh performance data from previous shifts. Historical data is also available for further performance analysis and trend tracking.
Apart from monitoring your machines’ operations, the system also enables you to monitor the general conditions of your facility. These include temperature, moisture and brightness. When starting a new day, operators get warnings for poor operating conditions that exceed the set alarm levels – just to avoid unnecessary costs caused by low quality and rework due to environmental factors. Plus, having the possibility to remotely check that the factory lights have been turned off while the factory is closed gives you additional peace of mind. And getting alarms for any status change keeps you on top of things at all times.
What can you monitor? Some examples
So, what can Insight Full Factory help you monitor? The system is designed for industrial environment conditions and is very versatile to fit any currently existing installed base. Below are just some examples of different glass-production machines’ metrics that can be monitored.
Digital printing machine: processing time, room temperature, moisture
Insulated glass production machine:pieces in, pieces out, processing time, temperature
Double edging machine:machining time, pieces, drilled holes
Insight Full Factory is the easiest solution to open a whole new flexible way to monitor factory performance and the facility status. Instead of installing and configuring a fully integrated rigid monitoring system, the Insight Full Factory system gives you the freedom to see the complete picture without sacrificing even a single day of your production.
Technologies are developing fast. For the glass industry, this is good news. This means that online factory condition monitoring and instant reporting tools no longer need to be difficult to install and costly to be reliable and provide a practical overview of your production processes. Just as those times of big clunky computer units on your desk are gone, so too can even complete factory monitoring be done in a slick and stylish way.