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News

Production monitoring system helps plastic pouch department

ABB Automation Technologies : 02 November, 2004  (New Product)
An ABB production monitoring system has helped the plastic pouch department at Baxter Healthcare Corporation to increase its Overall Equipment Efficiency (OEE) from 71.5 to 81.6%.
Baxter Healthcare Corporation's factory in Lessines, Belgium, makes products for hospitals and home patients and exports over 85 percent of its production. One of the key divisions is the Medication Delivery business, producing plastic drug delivery devices, with the Kiefel department employing 240 people and producing 240 million pouches a year.

Baxter began its improvement programme in the Kiefel department in 1997, using Excel spreadsheets to calculate OEE. This method's inflexibility led Baxter to adopt a dedicated OEE tool, a package that is now developed and distributed by ABB as Real-Time Production Intelligence (Real-TPI). Real-TPI analyses and reports the OEE in real time, giving the production manager a better understanding of shortcomings on the production line and allowing him to take action to increase productivity. The system allows Baxter's managers to look at any time period, such as the previous night shift, to see possible problems. It does this by collecting and analysing production data to identify ways to increase efficiency.

Real-TPI makes it easy for Baxter to track daily progress, identify and react to possible problems in the production lines. By recording machine events and breakdowns online, Real-TPI can provide quick, clear Pareto Analysis and show the trend of the breakdowns for each asset monitored by the software. Several improvement methods can then be applied based on the data collected, such as PM analysis, Root Cause Analysis, RCA or Failure Mode, Effect and Criticality Analysis (FMECA), the method used by Baxter.

When OEE indicates poor plant performance, RCA can be used to determine the root causes of the problem and where it is located so corrective action can be taken. Another technique that can be used in association with Real-TPI is Total Productive Maintenance (TPM), a process to adjust production equipment procedures with the aim of improving efficiency.

The results of the analyses are presented in a variety of reports using techniques such as Pareto Charts, Waterfall Diagrams, Penalty Charts and Production Reports.
Data provided by Real-TPI allows machine and cycle times to be reduced, leading to increased throughout. The first project undertaken was to improve a production bottleneck on the Kiefel machines, the port inserter, which places a cap on the end of the tube sealed to the plastic pouch. Based on data provided by Real-TPI, FMECA showed that a redesign of the cap distribution was necessary.

A number of actions were implemented during this project including modification of the vacuum system and of the cap distribution pipes and ramps. The project led to a reduction in downtime on the 12 Kiefel machines by around 3%, from +/-23% downtime to +/- 20% downtime.

Other projects included work on the scrap removing machine, which removes the extra material around the pouches before the quality check and packaging.
This project led to a further reduction in downtime of around 2.5%.

As well as supplying the Real-TPI software, ABB helped Baxter develop and implement a new OEE model based on the French standards (AFNOR).

The Real-TPI configuration database was also especially designed to allow a seamless integration with Baxter's CMMS. 'While information from controls and maintenance systems is important, information needs to fit into a broader context,' says Bert Mijten, product manager, Real Time Production Intelligence, at ABB. 'Measuring in real time and combining it with analysis techniques provides an opening to the hidden plant and hidden capacity. Our real-time production intelligence systems monitor controls and equipment, looking for losses in manufacturing production operations, loading, scheduling, supplies, quality and equipment availability.'

Currently, average OEE in the manufacturing sector is around 60% - the goal of Baxter Lessines is to become a World Class Manufacturing facility with an OEE of 85% and, with Real-TPI, ABB has helped put the company's Kiefel department on course.
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