In lean manufacturing, life can change pretty dramatically when you are not waiting for the next fire drill. With expanded knowledge and control IoT adoption brings about, roles can switch to being proactive and forward-looking, transforming systems and processes fundamentally.
During the early stages of our organization’s IoT adoption, a Parker team identified an internal application error by troubleshooting a custom pump half the size of a car that was burning out seals.
The hydraulic chiller would not cool the machine down and eventually took the equipment offline for more than a week. Only after the strategic placement of flow and pressure sensors was it discovered that a cracked manifold was burning out the seals.
“It opened our eyes and other people’s. By focusing on the basics set our imaginations to wondering-- just how much smarter can we be in a digital world?”
Don Groce, Parker project manager
At our lean manufacturing sites, teams were coming on board. They wanted to know:
What more can we collect that day-by-the-hour tracking reports don’t capture?
Is a piece of equipment even running?
What is the cycle time?
How can we ensure we will never get to that critical red supply level?
Download our eBook, Voice of the Machine: Manufacturing's Digital Transformation for a roadmap to your organization’s IoT adoption and becoming smarter in a digital world.
If a machine has an 85% uptime goal that is being hit very rarely, that degree of inefficiency is ripe for examination. Not every machine has to run at that level, but for 24/7 assets, a properly configured dashboard can bring issues to immediate attention instead of many elapsed hours later when a supervisor discovers it during rounds.
More complex is exploiting the production angle to analyze the root causes of downtime more deeply. Yet these things must be addressed for equipment that is directly tied to productivity.
Our teams began by educating facility-based maintenance supervisors and value stream managers about the data it is possible to gather, starting with something as simple as demonstrating the capabilities of a dashboard from a mobile device for a glimpse of real-time activity at another facility.
Another key task was conducting a comprehensive site survey to identify opportunities for sensor placement that would unlock insights from actual processes and systems. From a maintenance perspective, it wasn’t hard to see which questions would yield immediate needs to get smarter:
What’s the worst nightmare on any given day?
Which equipment does it involve?
What equipment has a recurring tendency to go off course? For example, accumulators located in out-of-the-way spots may be prone to losing pressure. Knowing when they need a recharge eliminates unnecessary worry.
Which custom equipment has no spare parts and/or cannot be repaired quickly?
What can happen on a weekend that could be tended to before Monday shifts?
What legacy equipment appears most mysterious? We have learned--no matter how old the machine is, there is always a place to put a sensor.
“We have dozens of CNC machines. With IoT and sensors, we can see that they are very stable; the air they need is being reliably satisfied by the compressors.”
CY French, plant manager, Parker Tube Fittings Division
With that freedom from analog concerns came the ability to move away from lagging indicators to leading indicators, of instilling a more predictive maintenance focus to avoid downtime, and gaining a clearer understanding of what processes are capable of achieving quality, safety, and reliability.
To ensure compliance with industry standards and in our own new product qualification processes, we expanded IoT into our mechanical lab. We've identified significant value in knowing the current state of the hydraulic impulse testing machines in there, that shoot hot oil through hoses at 60 cycles per second.
By identifying ways to create value through IoT systematically results in our competitive advantage. Which keeps us envisioning--how much smarter can we become through our IoT adoption journey?
Download our eBook, Voice of the Machine: Manufacturing's Digital Transformation to learn more about our organization’s IoT digital transformation, and a roadmap to chart your company’s path to IoT success.
After more than a century of experience serving our customers, Parker is often called to the table for the collaborations that help to solve the most complex engineering challenges. We help them bring their ideas to light. We are a trusted partner, working alongside our customers to enable technology breakthroughs that change the world for the better.
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