improvement in productivity


production plants

Machine Track functions in the Huhtamäki factory in Hämeenlinna as it should: highlighting operating malfunctions and preventing defects from going unnoticed. Machine track has also compiled material control and quality checks into a single system. The reception of the system has been good, as it eliminates a great deal of superfluous work.

Huhtamäki manufactures various forms of packaging. In the Hämeenlinna factories, the machines are busy producing disposable dishes such as cups, plates and casseroles. In addition to a competitive price, a high quality of products is important, which is further reflected on the fact that the machinery must produce them as quickly and reliably as possible.

As there was no proper, measured information on the production efficiency and interferences, ARROW Machine Track was procured to the factory. ARROW Maint was introduced slightly earlier.

Quality checks incorporated into the monitoring

In the Huhtamäki application, Machine Track handles a number of tasks besides the usual efficiency monitoring. As food industry is often the end user of the packaging, some customers wish, for example, that the person operating each piece of machinery can be reliably traced afterwards. Therefore, the system also functions as a person register.

“In addition to hygiene and traceability criteria, more and more companies are very particular about their reputation and the operations of their subcontractors. Carrying a social responsibility is one such criterion, and our customers can, if they wish, check that each person operating a piece of machinery has handled their taxes and other obligations lawfully”, Perävainio says.

Besides staff monitoring, the quality checks through the Machine Track Operating monitor software include, for instance, leak testing, seam and bracket inspections, foreign object checks and different safety and cleanliness inspections. These inspection events were previously registered on separate inspection forms and archived. Now they are registered directly through the software into the Machine Track database, which makes their search easy and fast in connection with, for example, quality audit.

Therefore, the work always begins with the machine operator logging into the system. Logins are also utilised in hygiene and traceability surveys. There are also consequences to the logins: effective employees who perform well are easy to reward for their accomplishments.

Many tasks in one system

Huhtamäki has been able to compile as many functions as possible into connection with Machine Track. “Our aim was that the production personnel would not need to manage or use other software”, says Perävainio.

For example, the work orders, which have their origins in production formulas, nowadays come directly from the software. They indicate the raw materials and other settings of the machine, and no separate work phases need be done for their benefit neither in management nor in the machine-operating department. The operating screens have also been tailored to be as straightforward as possible so as not to confuse the employee with irrelevant information or questions.

In addition to product, person, quality and material data, the system is used for OEE calculation, but the connection of this element is still in progress. When it is finished, Huhtamäki will receive genuine OEE information on the production, making the true capacity of production constantly available for use and the base of continuous improvement.

It is more than clear that ARROW Maint and Machine Track are connected to one another and are mutually supportive. An alarm from the production is immediately registered as a standby, and when the fitter receives the work, it is transferred into repair. When the repair is complete, interference is registered as the reason, which, in turn, is registered according to the frequency of defects – this action provides a list whose aim is to eliminate the most harmful problems and to liquidate the headache in the top spot.

An important instrument in decision-making

Perävainio relates that viewing the management of the factory functions in clear numbers is vitally important for long-term development. When malfunctioning machines or other production parts can be presented in figures – as hours, material loss, kilowatt-hours, and, ultimately, euros – investment suggestions become concrete. For example, the manually executed special adhesive tape attachment expense transforms from an estimate to explicit data as euro per unit.

Very often the argumentation of the technical and the financial management is not similar, and there is no unified way of thinking behind the decisions. Nevertheless, when there are figures to back up the decisions, the discussion can easily be added up by productivity and usability into periods of amortisation and capacity efficiencies.

Defects revealed

As a short-term accomplishment, Perävainio says that proper monitoring prevents information shortages and the hide-and-seek of any defects. Previously, it was possible that a simple information shortage prevented the use of a machine. The defect might have already been repaired, but the operating department still thought that spare parts were expected from, for instance, Äkäslompolo.

As far as usage and maintenance goes, it has also been important that the difference between a fault and a feature has come up. People may easily assume that if a piece of machinery falters, it is a usual feature of the machine. When it is listed in the defect report, it is easy to detect as an actual fault.

“Over the past three years, we have improved the efficiency of our factory by eight per cent. Maint and Machine Track are an important part of the continuous development by which we want to raise our usability and our total utilisation rate. In such development, any information we can acquire from the machinery and basic functions needs consistent increase,” says Perävainio.

Huhtamäki Foodservice Nordic Oy ,

Founded 1920
74 production plants
17 000 employees
52 machines connected

Available solutions
Machine Track

MES-system for improving productivity

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