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FASTech’s UPC Verification System Case Study in Control Engineering Magazine

FASTechnology Group adds UPC Verification to Bagging Machines in Packaging Industry

Challenge: Supplement existing machines with an efficient, robust system to verify the correct pre-printed packaging is used for the product being packaged, 100% of the time.

Solution: Using the latest in PLC controls, HMI, and machine vision technology, as well as custom software and database development, FASTechnology Group created a system to read, compare and verify the UPC barcode of each and every product made against the plant’s ERP system.

Result: A system that integrates seamlessly with the existing production lines, monitoring the necessary aspects to improve line consistency and make mismatching of product to packaging a thing of the past.

Summary: In the Consumer Packaged Goods industry, a simple mismatch of pre-printed package to product can quickly spiral into a safety concern for consumers, not to mention countless dollars lost on wasted products, recalls, and downtime. For example, a packaging line cannot have peanuts going into a potato chip bag. The risks of only checking the spool of film prior to running the line doesn’t always cut it. When FASTechnology Group was tasked with modifying existing production lines to verify the UPC of each and every bag, the company was able to use the latest in industrial controls across a wide array of technologies to deliver a solution to the customer.

The system combines an industrial logic controller, a machine vision barcode reader, and custom server-side software to cross-reference the physical UPC with the one in the Plant Management Software.  As one of FASTech’s customers states: “Using this system, we are able to limit the pulling of jobs down from the plant management system to only those scheduled for the current shift. This keeps the user interface out on the plant floor clean, simple to use, and efficient.”

Here is a link to the original Case Study…

FASTech_UPC_Verification_CaseStudy

Get Your Overall Equipment Effectiveness to 85% and higher.

The importance of knowing what your OEE is!

Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) Part 4 of 4 Part Blog

by Dion Volk

Now that you know how to calculate OEE, what do you do with it?  How is it useful?  What is a good number?

Knowing your OEE helps you understand your manufacturing health, know when to take on additional orders, when to make new equipment acquisitions, and when not to.

Once you have started the daily process of calculating and tracking your Overall Equipment Effectiveness, addressing manufacturing problems early becomes straightforward.  Being able to break your OEE calculation back down to its three basic components, Availability, Productivity, and Quality, tells you exactly where the problem is.

When it comes to taking on additional orders, knowing your OEE is critical.  If you have an OEE of 85% or higher, congratulations, unfortunately you are most likely at the capacity of your equipment.  Knowing your OEE in this case should help you justify new equipment and calculate its ROI.  Now, if your OEE is low, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, if a low Availability number is the cause.  If Productivity or Quality are the cause of your low OEE, then maybe unreliable or worn-out equipment should be replaced.

What is a good OEE? The common thought is that world-class OEE is anything above 85%.  If you have an OEE of 85% that is fantastic, congratulations are in order.  Keep in mind you still have a 15% loss.  The benchmark of 85% is just that, a benchmark.  Good OEE is up to the manufacturing facility to determine for itself.

At FASTechnology Group we understand what it takes to get good product out, efficiently.  Together we can erase benchmarks, establishing new ones.  Let our +30 years of packaging experience help you improve your OEE

Here is a Link to Part One “What is OEE and How Can It Be measured?”

lean manufatcuring implementation

“What is OEE and How Can It Be Measured?”

OEE Part 1 of 4 Part Blog

by Dion Volk

The term OEE is being thrown around a lot lately; so what is it exactly?  Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) is a concept used in lean manufacturing implementation.  At a very basic level OEE can be measured using the following equation:

OEE = Availability X Productivity X Quality
or
OEE = A X P X Q

AVAILABILITY: is the amount of time, in percentage, the equipment is available to produce product vs the amount of time the equipment actually produced product.

Example: If a packaging machine was available to run for 8 hours, but only ran 7, you would have an Availability of 87.5%.

PRODUCTIVITY: is the comparison between maximum machine speed and actual machine speed.  This can get confusing as not all packages have the same maximum machine speed; more complex packages take more time to produce, lowering your machine productivity.

Example: If a machine has a maximum speed of 120ppm (packages per minute), but only produces 80 ppm, its productivity would be 66%.

Example: If a machine has a maximum speed of 120ppm, but a more complex package can only be produced at 100ppm, the productivity would be 83%.

QUALITY: is the number of good packages produced compared to the total number of packages produced as a percentage.

Example: if a machine produced 28,800 packages and 28,000 packages passed QA, the quality is 97%.

If the scenario above is used for the OEE calculation it would look like this:

 

OEE = 87.5%(Availability) X 66%(Productivity) X 97%(Quality)

OEE = 56%!!!

 

This is a simple illustration of how quickly Overall Equipment Effectiveness can be lost in a production environment.  In part two, we will discuss contributing factors to OEE loss, and how to mitigate them.

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Industrial Automation

CONTROLLERS_4500FASTechnology Group’s long-standing strategic involvement with Siemens and Rockwell Automation that help FASTech maintain a truly ‘Global’ attitude toward customer service and technology development.

This global approach is evident through applications across the United Sates, and at international project sites such as Japan, Switzerland, Italy, Canada, Australia, and Mexico. Our ability to provide CE and UL certified systems with the backing of our key technology service providers gives our clients additional piece of mind that they have chosen the best systems integrator for the project.

With an installed base of systems throughout Fortune 100 clients and small businesses alike, we have the ability and expertise to develop turn-key solutions for your industrial automation needs, whatever the industry.

Industrial Automation Technology

The bottom line is that if you allow FASTech automation experts to tackle your toughest production and automation challenges, you can have the freedom to focus your resources on your core business activity, “doing what you do best.” Contact us today to learn how automation technology can be applied to your manufacturing operation to not only help you maximize your growth potential and decrease your costs, but to also help you finalize those projects that may have been on hold for lack of resources. We look forward in assisting you to maintain the competitive edge!