Analysis software enables better use of machines

Tom Shelley reports on software that can in some cases achieve massive improvements in production line efficiency

Tom Shelley reports on software that can in some cases achieve massive improvements in production line efficiency

Software to report on and analyse machine performance can, it is said, enable manufacturers to recover up to 40% of their production capacity wasted through stops and interruptions.

Real-Time Production Intelligence (Real-TPI) from ABB consists of a data acquisition module, a data manipulation and storage module, and a module for visualisation and reporting. Each module can be distributed over a Local Area Network from almost any PLC or Distributed Control System. Connectivity is by fieldbus, Microsoft's DDE (Dynamic Data Exchange) or OPC (OLE for Process Control).

Data is acquired both automatically and from manual input. The software is based on three standard production evaluation processes: Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE), Root Cause Analysis (RCA) and Total Productive Maintenance (TPM). Output is in the form of a production trend scheme, including the OEE or other user defined performance indicator. A dynamic Pareto chart reports the cumulative breakdowns according to category. With the help of a chronology screen, the chart enables an operator or production manager to determine the overall situation on a production line, and focuses on the most relevant events. By selecting a colour, the user can see at a glance all the incidents that have occurred during a particular shift, day or week. Each colour corresponds to a class of operation and shutdown. Information can be exported to databases via ODBC or as XML files. The software can also do web reporting.

Prices for a basic installation start at £12,000. ABB claims that in some applications, saving just two hours production time is enough to pay for the system, and that as result of using it, one company was able to gain an entire month of extra production time over a one year time period.

ABB Automation Technologies

Tom Shelley

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