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For years, medical professionals have warned us to treat the cause, not the symptom. That’s sound advice, whether it applies to a person or manufacturing equipment. Industrial plants, however, must first identify the symptoms so they can intervene proactively to minimize downtime, or at least conduct a root-cause analysis when failure occurs.
But where does one find a machine doctor who can work 24/7? The answer probably already exists in your system control network. Smarter equipment means smarter diagnostics, so the data’s available, but how you use it is up to you.
Figure 1: Data management software can track available raw material, production parameters, or even troubleshooting, fault codes, and downtime. (Source: Siemens Industry)
The Siemens Industry manufacturing plant in West Chicago, Illinois, implemented new equipment from Prima Power as it ramps up new production capabilities, especially of its motor control centers, and the new integrated production system also provides highly useful information. The plant is using data from the Prima Power software for three main areas, explains John Hayden, manufacturing engineering manager, control components and systems engineering, at the plant. “Our materials organization is using it in real time to know exactly how much raw material is available for each type and thickness of material,” he says (Figure 1). “Manufacturing engineering is using the data for information such as sheet utilization, number of hits, and punch life. And maintenance uses it for diagnosing troubleshooting, fault codes, and downtime.”
Siemens’ West Chicago plant has transitioned from a manually loaded coil steel shear process, which required significant setup for each different raw material, where parts were cut to the right part length, and then transferred manually to a shearing station, where they were sheared to right width, says Hayden. “These parts would then be transferred manually to a turret press, where they were manually loaded for punching, and then finally unloaded manually and transferred to a brake press, where they were formed, which required significant setup for each part,” he explains.
The new automated process has raw material stored in a cassette that’s called down to the turret press at the time it’s required and loaded automatically, explains Hayden. “Once it’s punched, it’s retained in a WIP cassette until the automated brake is ready. The WIP cassette is called down and loaded automatically, squared, and conveyed into the brake for forming. Setup time is done automatically, as well as eliminating the time-consuming manual brake setup.”
The plant also has a preventive maintenance system tool, Mpulse, that maintains the schedule for each piece of equipment. “As part of our Siemens Starpower factory program, we also review our maintenance activities and the associated downtime, on a quarterly basis to identify needed additions or improvements to the system to eliminate unexpected downtime,” says Hayden.
Find a sustainable maintenance plan not conflicting with production planning, suggests Lutz Ehrlich, punching/automation product manager at Prima Power (www.primapower.com). “Become proactive in the maintenance and cleanliness of the complete system,” he says. “Treat the system like an airplane. Don’t attempt to check the engine gearbox oil at 30,000 ft.”
Based in Alpharetta, Georgia, Cellu Tissue Holdings, a division of Clearwater Paper (www.clearwaterpaper.com) has a strategic focus on consumer-oriented, private-label tissue products. The company manufactures a combination of internally converted tissue products, machine-glazed paper and tissue hard rolls.
Cellu Tissue’s tissue segment produces both converted and hard-roll tissue, including facial and bath tissue, kitchen towels, napkins and folded paper towels, and its machine-glazed paper segment produces and sells machine-glazed paper hard-rolls to third-party converters who manufacture fast food and commercial food wrap, gum wrappers, coffee filters, foil lamination, wax papers, and butter wraps.
The company’s Interlake facility in St. Catharines, Ontario, has two production lines: the PM2 wet crepe machine, which primarily manufactures coffee filter base paper, and the TM3 through-air-dried tissue machine, which primarily manufactures premium kitchen towels.