Real-time Information Boosts Manufacturing Decision Making
Manufacturers and producers continue to realize gains in productivity, efficiency and profitability by using real-time production data to empower operator and manager decision making.
Consistency of machine parameters is important for turning out quality aluminum extrusion products. Tom Welle, automation coordinator at Alexandria Extrusion Co., in Alexandria, Minn., says operators need live process data—temperature, pressure, speed—in order to maintain that essential consistency. The machine operation entails loading an aluminum billet, heating it and forcing the hot aluminum through a die to produce the desired shape of aluminum extrusion. Giving operators real-time information helps them make a consistently good product.
A few years ago, managers at Alexandria Extrusion evaluated productivity vs. industry averages as compiled by an independent source... Read more
Cloud Computing with SAP: One User’s Experience
Quick implementation and predictable costs were among benefits of using SAP’s new Software-as-a-Service ERP product for a start-up plant in China, says Excel Polymers’ Steven Lubowicz.
Business ByDesign (BBD), the long-delayed, cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) system from SAP AG, is finally ready for prime time. Executives at the Walldorf, Germany-based enterprise software giant announced at SapphireNow, the company’s May 17-19 user conference, that BBD version 2.5 will be released at the end of July as a “volume-ready product.” Aimed for use by small to mid-sized companies, BBD will be delivered over the Web to customers on demand, using a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model. Though SAP first announced BBD in late summer 2007 with a stated goal of 10,000 customers for the application by 2010, the company later pulled back on those projections, and BBD since has undergone multiple revisions... Read more
Platform Migration: A Search for Opportunity
Upgrade your automation without uprooting it. Technological progress is great—except when it leaves you behind.
No one likes receiving those letters saying that your controls platform is so obsolete that its manufacturer will no longer be supporting it. When those letters arrive, it forces companies to ask, “What should we do about it? How do we migrate to a more up-to-date platform without ripping out wires and installing all new equipment?”
The answer is to seek an automation vendor that advocates a migration strategy that matches your needs. In the case of a producer of petrochemicals, the right strategy was one that guaranteed continuity of operations... Read more