Real-time preventive maintenance
improvement in OEE
machines connected to Machine Track
Laitilan Wirvoitusjuomatehdas Oy is a Laitila-based brewery founded in 1995. In addition to soft drinks and beer, the company also produces ciders and long drinks. The most known brands of Laitila brewery are Kukko beers, Oiva ciders and Into long drinks. In addition to its own brands, the factory also produces drinks as a contract manufacturer of several grocery store chain brands.
Initially, the factory did not have any production or maintenance monitoring. As the number of machines increased and the running time became more and more expensive, the need for monitoring was reconsidered. Production Manager Tommi Suutari explains that the matter was taken into consideration in 2007.
”At first we monitored the running and efficiency of the new can line by using a clock and transferred the results into an Excel table. However, this method of measuring took too much time, so we started to look for an automated solution and ended up choosing Machine Track. With Machine Track, the capacity increased from 26500 cans to 33000 cans per hour.”
With proper tools at hand, the system could be further improved and the actions of each person at the event of malfunction could be developed more functional. The efficiency of the machines at the factory increased and the OEE indicator climbed from level 40 all the way up to level 65-70.
Maintenance in accordance with running
The line was improved, but stoppages still kept on occurring. The reasons for the stoppages were investigated and the possibility that the machines are not maintained sufficiently systematically was discovered. The factory contains two canning lines and one bottling line, and apart from the summer season, only one is running at a time. Previously, maintenance work was carried out based on Excel tables, which again were based on calendar dates, not the true running times of the machines.
However, the aim was to make the maintenance correspond with true running times. This was the reason to start looking at maintenance software on the market and to gather user experiences from businesses using these pieces of software.
”Good experiences from the users of Machine Track and visits to a factory using Arrow Maint helped us to make the final decision.
The company employs some fifty workers and the maintenance crew consists of maintenance workers plus one automation technician. Previously, the malfunctions discovered during work were written down in a notebook, from which they were implemented by the maintenance crew with a delay of approximately one week. The maintenance and repair requests in the new system are carried out using a web browser, thus notifications of these requests are delivered immediately and work can be started faster.
”When the operational staff received an acknowledgement of their repair request and were informed, for example, that required spare parts are on their way to the factory, they felt that the maintenance crew truly cared about them and the operation of the machines. This actually caused a real surge of repair requests.”
Maintenance becoming visible
Because the maintenance organisation also participates in production, sometimes subcontractors are utilised. For example, piping and electrical work is entirely acquired from external sources. The maintenance software also shows these tasks and their progress.
The maintenance software naturally manages that regular maintenance tasks are performed in time. In addition, the software reminds of the need to order parts and supplies for the said tasks well beforehand.
”ARROW software has made the operations in several factories more visible, while the monitoring is performed by everyone ranging from the operational staff to the Managing Director. In addition, the relation between maintenance resources and need becomes clear and the requirement for external help can be assessed correctly”, Suutari explains.
Investment based on facts
When the system’s operation and reliability are clearly seen, it is easy to make out which machine or line is preventing the use of full capacity. Without facts gathered from machines, it is hard to reason decisions and the consideration process easily remains at the level of mere intuition.
”In the change of the labelling machine, we had clear principles on how much the capacity of the factory would grow compared to the price of the machine requiring renewal. We were able to prove that enough maintenance work already had been performed on the machines and the help from the manufacturer’s experts did not help in this case. It is easy to present large acquisitions for approval when their effects on costs, capacity and profitability can be represented on paper.”
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One of the main reasons for choosing ARROW was that the software solutions responsible for machine control in production and for service functions in maintenance operate together and in connection to each other. Quick error messages sent directly to the maintenance department set repair work into action immediately. Additionally, Machine Track provides the maintenance department with information about machines causing the most problems and about the seriousness of the flaws with regard to the entire system.
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“When selecting maintenance software, the most important criteria for us were that it should have a clear, internet-based user interface, be easy to start using, have a fairly simple machine hierarchy and low total costs. The total costs were lower because we didn’t have to hire external help to create the system and our share of the labour was only moderate as well”
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