“Our technical team aren’t the only ones to have ‘mould compressibility’ in their KPI data-set”, explained Steve, “but the dashboard we’ve customized to them means they are more easily able to plot trends and spot value deviations in real time – precise details that would previously have been impossible to see. Just the other day this ability meant a weak seal was identified before it had a chance to fail, saving us several hours in unplanned maintenance time and associated production loss costs. “Preventive maintenance has always been a goal we’ve pursued. Having the means to easily ensure the right people see the right detail at the right time, is a real game changer in this mission.”
Productivity by design: how digital dashboards have changed what’s possible at MAT Foundry Group
When global business MAT Foundry Group agreed to pilot a new IIoT solution which promised to drive productivity by connecting, monitoring and analysing foundry-wide data sources for actionable insights, they expected change. What they didn’t expect was how simple the process would be, or the potential it would unlock.
In just a few months Monitizer®│DISCOVER – a powerful pairing of DISA’s Monitizer│CIM (Computer Integrated Manufacturing) and NoriGate hardware – has transformed the way teams at MAT’s EURAC Poole (UK) site communicate, operate and eliminate risks to efficient production. What’s more, “thanks to how easily we’ve been able to customize the solution to our needs”, explained Steve Merritt, General Manager at EURAC Poole, “we’ve really started to change our definition of what’s possible when it comes to improving productivity”.
A proposition for the UK… a digital test bed for group
On its two DISAMATIC® moulding lines, EURAC Poole produces over 50,000 tonnes of grey iron castings every year for the global automotive industry. In addition to being the headquarters of MAT Group’s EURAC operations, the site is a testing ground for innovation; an ideal facility to investigate, trial and verify solutions which have potential to transform operations across MAT’s worldwide foundry network - particularly as all MAT’s foundry sites use DISA moulding lines and Wheelabrator shot blasting technology.
In 2019, the transformative solution in question was the revolutionary Monitizer cloud-based IIoT system, designed to pull, collate, correlate and display meaningful data from any connected foundry machine, from any supplier, from any location.
“There is no contest”, said Steve, “when it comes to modern foundry production, ‘doing more with data’ is the single biggest opportunity there is right now. So, when I heard about the digital proposal from DISA and the wider Norican team, I was absolutely in favour. But I also had reservations.
“We’d previously tried digital options from other providers with little or no success. Ultimately because ‘off-the-shelf’ wasn’t cutting it. We needed a way to see our foundry data, our way. I was intrigued to find out how our partnership with DISA could solve this very practical problem and didn’t have to wait long for my answer.”
Preventive maintenance… it’s all in the detail
A vital part of the ‘optimum productivity’ equation is reducing unplanned downtime. Here too, MAT Group has already seen success thanks to its new dashboard-driven setup.
Like all MAT GROUP sites, EURAC Poole uses Wheelabrator’s surface finishing solutions. Here too the solution is proving its worth. Steve commented: “Sensors continuously monitor vibration levels on our shot blast wheels, with Monitizer enabling the shop floor and maintenance teams to track readings on a graph at a glance. This means they can easily see and remedy any potential issues and optimise performance. It’s great.”
The precision with which EURAC Poole can now record information in Monitizer is also having a positive impact in terms of traceability and troubleshooting.
Steve continued: “Previously, if we had any machinery downtime the production team would manually log the total time lost during that particular shift. That’s useful information. But what’s more useful is being able to see exact time stamps of any stops and starts to track how a shift developed and pinpoint when problems occurred – having this information means we are much better equipped to immediately identify potential causes and implement any necessary adjustments to boost uptime. Production is much more transparent.”
Towards automated responses
Having the capacity to monitor KPIs in real time has presented EURAC Poole with another important opportunity it now intends to develop further – automation.
Using the solution, maximum/minimum threshold values can be applied to data pulled from any piece of equipment or combined process. Deviations outside these thresholds can then be alarmed and programmed to action a specific response.
The capability is currently being put to good use with the extraction systems in place at the Poole site. An automated email alert is issued to the maintenance department if live differential pressure readings rise above a pre-determined maximum, a scenario which could indicate a potential fault.
In addition to eliminating the need for continuous manual inspections, the solution has more critical implications. The site’s location in a residential zone means that its permit to operate is dependent on keeping any emissions to an agreed minimal level. Failure to do so could result in fines and ultimately site closure. The new Monitizer digital monitoring system mitigates these risks by providing constant equipment performance feedback and the means to take responsive action.
Sight of every stage, at every site
The equipment agnostic Monitizer solution currently deployed at EURAC Poole harnesses cloud technology to pull in and collate data from any piece of kit (enabling it to connect the entire foundry), from any location - meaning multiple sites can be brought on-board.
Phase 2 of the pilot will put this capability to the test. Plans are already in place to scale-up the system by adding in more equipment for analysis, developing more high-level overview dashboards that will present top-line management KPIs, and introducing more sites across MAT Group’s network.
Steve concluded: “Now we have seen what the Monitizer system can do and how easy it is for us to adapt the way we use it, there really is huge potential to leverage insights from every single level of production, from shop floor statistics to multi-site comparisons. Data is definitely the future for MAT Foundry Group.”