Industry: Food & Beverage

Increased productivity and process visibility at Pioneer Foods

Goals

  • Real-time data collection, analysis and reporting
  • The ability to do Root Cause Analysis
  • Open and easy integration with other solutions
  • Easy configuration and customisation to cope with change
  • Provide web access

Solutions and Products

  • Equipment Effectiveness Suite
  • Top Server

Challenges

  • To implement an OEE system as a management tool to uniformly manage efficiencies and waste on 48 production lines across 8 production facilities across the country on a tight budget and in less than five months

Results

  • Reliable trustworthy information
  • Real-time performance and yield information at any line or plant can be checked from anywhere and at any time (web interface)
  • Increased productivity
  • Increased productive time
  • Improved efficiency
  • Less downtime and better downtime analysis
  • Faster decision making
  • Improved operator interaction and contribution
  • Drill down capability and Root Cause Analysis

Background

8 production facilities throughout South Africa − Having identified the need for more effective management of their equipment assets, Pioneer Foods commissioned system integrator Systems Anywhere to implement an online OEE solution that would be rolled out on 48 lines at 8 production facilities across South Africa. The result is business and operational benefits through real-time decision-making.

Goals and Requirements

“The goal of this project was clear but somewhat daunting,” says Gordon Schoombie, Operations Director at system integrator Systems Anywhere Coastal. “It was to implement an OEE system as a management tool to uniformly manage efficiencies and waste on 48 production lines across 8 production facilities across the country on a
tight budget and in no longer than five months. It sounds overwhelming and after you’ve had the chance to think about it, it gets a lot worse.”

In addition to their having access to expert and readily-available technical support, Pioneer Foods specified that the system must be capable of:

  • Real-time data collection, analysis and reporting so as to be a management system as well as an information system for its users.
  • Drill down capability and the ability to do Root Cause Analysis as well as rolled-up information and management dashboards
  • Open and easy integration with other solutions
  • Easy configuration and customisation to cope with change
  • Web access

Lastly, the solution supplier must provide change management protocols and get the buy-in of operators for the new system.

“The solutions we needed for this project would have to be tried and tested, fast and easy to implement as well as low cost if we were to comply with Pioneer Foods’ requirements,” says Schoombie. “With the help of Wonderware Southern Africa, we contacted Software Toolbox who recommended their Equipment Effectiveness Suite (EES) as well as TOP Server for OPC and I/O management – the latter is a reliable
standard with all our installations.”

Visualisation of information would be done with Microsoft.NET as an HMI route would have exceeded the budget and data collection using Beckhoff PLCs as connecting to existing PLCs was out of the question.

Pioneer Foods had already evaluated two other systems with pilot implementations. “When it was our turn, we implemented a working pilot within four days,” says Schoombie. “This included hardware installation. While we were competitively
priced, the richer functionality we were offering and the proof of its ease of implementation must have appealed to Pioneer Foods’ sense of future-proofing and independence.”

“Our final choice of Systems Anywhere was based on the company’s successful track record of a creative and innovative approach to projects. We also agreed on their
selection of reputable Software Toolbox solutions supported locally by Wonderware Southern Africa,” says Piet Burger, Supply Chain Executive, Pioneer foods.

Implementation

OEE is a hierarchy of measurements developed by Seiichi Nakajima in the 1960s to evaluate how effectively a manufacturing operation is utilised. It is based on the
Harrington Emerson way of thinking regarding labour efficiency.

“It became quickly obvious that one of the benefits of this project would be to ensure that everyone was on the same page regarding the measurement of OEE, which was being done differently at each plant that we visited,” says Schoombie. “The determination of OEE is a universal standard and not subject to individual interpretation. It’s also not an excuse to measure the effectiveness of people so that
someone can be blamed for poor results. This by itself required the implementation of an extensive change management programme for which we enlisted the help of Competitive Dynamics International.”

The project was started in May 2014 and commissioning was completed within the specified time period by the end of September of that year. The system was integrated with Pioneer Foods’ intranet and provides Internet access through which full remote support, configuration and control is possible. Web access also provides users drill-down reporting and dashboard capability while scheduled reports are e-mailed to relevant personnel.

“The OEE analysis dashboard has been kept as simple as possible and lists the equipment as well as the reason for its downtime such as product change or stoppage due to failure or some other cause,” says Schoombie. “One of the features of EES – and something not usually seen in other solutions of this type – is the ability to split downtimes between production and maintenance. Downtime causes can be either entered manually or scanned from barcodes. Insofar as reports are concerned, we used those supplied in EES and we kept them clear, concise and easy to analyse.”

“At our Worcester bakery, EES has assisted us in identifying the production bottlenecks and by launching a focused improvement project we managed to increase our production capacity by 4%.”
– Jabbaar Mookadam, Divisional Technical Manager, Essential Foods: Bakeries.

“Since implementing EES at our breakfast cereals plant, I am now able to remotely monitor line performance and provide guidance in order to improve line efficiencies, reduce waste and illustrate the impact of changeovers. The data is available immediately and reports are easy to draw and interpret,” says Jacques Weidemann, Unit Manager Atlantis Cereals, Groceries

Systems Anywhere monitors all 48 lines at 8 sites on a 24/7 basis. Load shedding, OEE values below par or other alarms are instantly visible on a country map so that appropriate and timely action can be taken.

Conclusion

Even including the tight budget and time constraints, the project has met all of Pioneer Foods, goals and criteria: “We finished within budget and two days ahead of schedule,” says Schoombie. This OEE implementation also provided some unforeseen benefits such as a common reality on OEE and the empowerment of operators to optimise their processes and contribution through real-time knowledge and instant feedback on the effects of their actions.

“We’ve had a very positive experience with regards to the installation, ease of use and training. Support is efficient and issues/queries are resolved on the fly.”
– Jabus Wessels, Manufacturing Executive, Essential Foods: Grains

Business Benefits

  • Reliable trustworthy information – verified against manually-derived figures and key to gaining operator confidence
  • Real-time performance and yield information at any line or plant can be checked from anywhere and at any time (web interface)
  • Increased productivity
  • Increased productive time – because of improved OEE, more machine time is available for production which meant not only increased efficiency but increased throughput as well

Operational Benefits

  • Improved efficiency
  • Less downtime and better downtime analysis – instant alert of line downtimes and their reasons allows maintenance personnel to act quickly and to address the right problem
  • Faster decision making
  • Improved operator interaction and contribution Drill down capability and Root Cause Analysis – also quick determination of what equipment is responsible for availability losses