Solving the problem of increasing the profitability of production when using injection molding machines


There is a production facility equipped with injection molding machines that manufactures plastic fittings. Production works, there is profitability and profit. Economic calculations show that a loss of 5% of work efficiency leads to a loss of 50% of profit. In fact, the equipment of the entire technological chain is one, but it works separately and is not one.

The management of the enterprise, as a rule, is carried out manually, through verbal orders. The main “automated” means of command and control is WhatsApp (or other messenger) chat. In the described situation, the issue of performance management remains open. The objectivity of managerial decisions strongly depends on the reliability of the information reported by subordinates and their human qualities.

Let’s analyze the situation:

The shop works and pours plastic. In order to increase productivity, the head of production, together with the adjuster, ensure the setting of injection molding machines (TPA) in such a way as to ensure a machine operation cycle of 15 seconds. Based on the obtained performance, the enterprise makes plans and assumes obligations to fulfill existing contracts, and when concluding new ones, it takes into account the possibilities of production. A week later, it turns out that in fact in manual mode it is not always possible to keep the set parameter at the desired value and productivity drops, and plans go astray, the ability to fulfill one’s obligations decreases. Profitability and profits are falling, reputation is deteriorating. New calculations show that the actual cycle time of the injection molding machine is 20 seconds.

The production manager asks the adjusters a completely logical question: “Why can the equipment do four cycles per minute, but actually does only three?”. Not every adjuster is able to objectively answer the question and remember all the situations in a week, and if there are several adjusters or there is a manifestation of negative human qualities, then it is generally impossible to get an honest detailed answer to the question.

Most likely, the answer will be of a general and superficial nature: “Something did not work, there were downtime, such and such reasons (which I remembered and was not afraid to say)”. Useful conclusions that can be relied upon cannot be drawn from such answers.

The situation is difficult, but manageable. By automating the collection of statistics and equipment monitoring, we will compensate and help the installers collect clear statistics, having which we will be able to analyze hard data, identify causes and eliminate them.

We form the task and our assumptions for possible reasons for downtime. If the problem is in the quality of the batch of raw materials, then you need to change the supplier. If the reason for downtime is the long reaction of the adjuster, then the issue of discipline and involvement of employees must be addressed. If the downtime is caused by a long recovery time, then the issue of the qualifications of the installers or their availability of spare parts, tools and accessories must be addressed. If the problem is in the peripheral and auxiliary equipment, then we solve it. If the problem is frequent breakdowns of the same units, then you need to pay attention to the quality of spare parts and work in this direction, and so on. If the robot did not pick up the part, or the equipment went into error, then a prompt response from the service personnel and a reboot of the equipment are required. Monitoring should help to understand the abnormal deviation from the normal value of certain reasons for downtime and make objective management decisions based on real arguments. The statistics collection tool should be simple and located directly on the equipment. To combine statistics from all workplaces, a single information system is required. To control the reliability of the collected information, it is necessary to link events and incidents on the equipment to video surveillance data.

If you are reading this article, then you have already tried to study the issue and are faced with the fact that among the mass of declared proposals, there are few possibilities of finished products that correspond to reality. Various companies claim to monitor machine tools using their equipment, but when it comes to the specifics of injection molding machine control, it turns out that there is no ready-made in Russia, and developers, as a rule, have no time to delve into the needs of a new industry. Foreign companies have not been found on the Russian market either, and the use of foreign software in modern reality is unstable.

We studied the problem of choosing a control and monitoring system and settled on the little-known Qcan equipment. ( ) According to our assessment, the system is simple and flexible. The system is not overloaded with unnecessary functions, which allows it to be easily customized and adapted to any production, including injection molding machines. The control of the objectivity of the collected statistics and the recording of the tracked incidents is really implemented here through synchronization with video surveillance. The authenticity of the actions of operators / adjusters is checked without getting up from the chair.

The hardware part consists of compact devices that are installed on production equipment and connected to the network. Installation time is no more than 20 minutes. The removal of the main parameters is carried out through induction current clamps from power buses. To collect statistics at the workplace, the system is equipped with an industrial touch screen with a simple interface. Connection to the network is carried out wirelessly.

The software part is implemented as a cloud solution. The basic set of functions is available immediately after the installation of the hardware. Software customization for specific customer requirements is carried out within 2 weeks. Impressive is the openness of developers who quickly assemble a finished product from basic solutions and refine it to the needs of the customer. In particularly difficult cases, the revision can last no more than 3 months.

Preliminary calculations show that the payback period of the system is 2-3 months, and the projected increase in profitability is 1.5-2 times. A jump in productivity is observed in the first months, when the true non-obvious reasons for the difference between the calculated and actual performance are revealed. It is important to note that the monitoring system is only a tool for collecting reliable data. The nature and effectiveness of the measures taken to eliminate the identified problems does not depend on the monitoring system.

If you know of another similar system that solves production problems using injection molding machines, write in the comments or let us know

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