Overall view of plant operations –
Product specific knowledge emerges
Tibnor Oy stores and handles steel in various plants throughout the country. Each plant is specialised in different steel materials and material thicknesses. The plants provide customers with blanks that have been, for example, sawed or flame and laser cut into components which can be directly used in the assembly.
“We have over 50 lines connected to the ARROW Machine Track monitoring system. They enable us to see what is going on in the plants in general – not only the machine status, but also the wider entity, including the reasons for possible shutdowns. In that sense this is an important tool in plant development”, says Planning Manager Kalevi Hartikainen.
As an example he mentions that if a machine is often shut down due to the time needed in packaging the products, it is necessary to add more employees or increase automation to a point where the expensive machine is working harder than the users. Additionally, the time periods spent on changing sawing patterns and waiting can reveal bottlenecks that might otherwise go unnoticed.
When the actual events are visible, it is easy to handle information and to use it in decision making – which is now based on reliable figures. In situations such as these, information jotted down on paper based on a gut feeling is not enough. However, data gathered in this new way leaves no room for explanations or speculations.
According to Hartikainen, having exact information of the plant’s operation helps to focus on, for example, peripheral tasks. Jobs that do not produce added value can be cut. Simultaneously, the system is well suited for internal benchmarking: procedures that have been found beneficial in some plants can be utilised in other facilities as well.
Funds are allocated correctly
Ruukki Metals started to use the Machine Track in the autumn of 2009. The choice was strongly affected by the positive experiences gained in other parts of the concern. Now the system forms an indicator with which it is possible to immediately observe the effects of different repairs and improvements.
“We have already used the gathered data in different projects that aim to improve utilisation rate and duty rate. When the actual events are visible, it is easy to handle information and to use it in decision making – which is now based on reliable figures. In situations such as these, information jotted down on paper based on a gut feeling is not enough. However, data gathered in this new way leaves no room for explanations or speculations”, says Project Engineer Kimmo Halme.
Once we have an internal price for every product that we sell, we are able to check our external pricing. We can cut unprofitable services or adjust their prices. We can also invest in and develop sections where we offer our clients added value worth paying for”, says Hartikainen.
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“The benefits have been concretized, it is noted that making the work order to the system takes just a minute. Operation Managers’ job is easier when they can closely monitor the progress of the work and are able to get reports they need quickly and in real time.”
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“Clear objectives were set for the maintenance system. The system should enable efficient and systematic control of own resources and projects. In distributed maintenance, it is indispensable that the directors have a tool to enable this.”
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The production of an assembly line, for instance, is usually kept continuous. In the Andon philosophy, when an error occurs, the line is stopped and the reason for the problem is investigated. When the downtime is recorded into the information system, it is possible to systematically deal with the causes.
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