Big Payoffs

May 1, 2006
Communicating with transmission control protocol/Internet protocol (TCP/IP) and Ethernet brings many benefits in machine-to-machine communications.

and in giving the front office more insight into daily production levels. That insight also makes equipment operators more accountable, which can provide sharp increases in productivity.

Ridgeview Industries Inc. bought some new equipment and hoped to get it to run at 80 per cent efficiency. But once it was running, the equipment was mired at the 35 percent to 40 per cent efficiency level. “Everybody was blaming everyone when the equipment was down,” says Terry Krueger, senior control engineer at the Grand Rapids, Mich., manufacturer.

Shortly after it was installed, a TCP/IP-based system was attached, letting management see how the equipment was working minute-to-minute.

“Once we were monitoring to the minute, production immediately shot from 35 percent or 40 per cent up to 60 per cent or so.”

That eliminated the operators’ tendency to point fingers at someone else. That made conversations much more productive when staff meetings were held to see what could be done to increase productivity.

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