Smart people using smart machines: KLINGER Australia invokes industry 4.0
KLINGER Australia relies on Industrial IoT to improve plant maintenance. The IIoT solution focuses on automation, plant safety and integration with ERP tools.
In only a few weeks, KLINGER Australia began implementing an Industry 4.0 strategy in their production facility in Western Australia through the introduction of Industrial IoT (Internet of Things) technology. IIoT technology involves connecting tools and machinery to the internet to collect and share data, creating a safer and more efficient industrial system that responds in real time.
The journey began just three months prior, when KLINGER Australia received an invitation to attend a presentation on IIoT strategy held at R Moore & Sons, a well-established manufacturing business.
„I was inspired by the practicality and potential it could offer KLINGER after I witnessed how R Moore & Sons had undergone substantial change with a workforce that really embraced it. Seeing the functionality of the technology and the impact it could have on improving our customer service levels made us move quickly.“
Ajith Gunasekera, Finance Director of KLINGER Australia
After an additional site visit and some strategy meetings with key KLINGER personnel, the team decided to roll out the project in three phases.
Phase One involved installing sensors on nine key machines in KLINGER’s production facility, connecting devices and accumulating data for analysis. Because the adopted IIoT technology is plug-and-play, this enables the system to track and monitor machinery or equipment of any age or level of sophistication.
„The benefit of this technology is that it can connect to ‘any’ machine without the need to access the machine’s internal controller or PLC.“
Sanja Minervini, Information Systems Manager at KLINGER Australia
The IIoT package included wireless sensors, easily installed on the moving part of each machine to sense temperature and vibrations. This concept provides the means to record uptime and downtime, and monitor fluctuations for the purpose of preventative maintenance. The sensors on each machine relay real-time data to two 4G IIoT gateways on the shop floor, which then feed information to the cloud-based web portal, also available as an app for team supervisors.
Automation is a key part of the IIoT solution. A notification appears on an Android tablet at the same moment a machine becomes vacant or idle, with a prompt for the machine operator to explain why this has occurred. As reasons for downtime are recorded and compared, productivity and maintenance issues can be addressed, adding efficiency to every step of the process. Team supervisors receive troubleshooting information faster, allowing them to quickly respond to problems and minimize downtime.
The system software also increases facility safety by allowing built-in digital collaboration between machine operator and team supervisor. This prevents the operator from needing to physically seek out the supervisor for assistance, limiting unscheduled and unexpected movement on the busy facility floor.
Wireless sensor attached to knife cutter machine
Training staff to use new technology
Phase Two involved training operators to log in, log off, and select the reason for a machine becoming idle. The transition was fairly easy at KLINGER Australia due to the introduction of an ERP system three years ago, when machine operators were asked to start using a shop floor interface on a daily basis.
Benefits of the change and the importance of using automation were also communicated to staff. Plant maintenance was a key example of explaining how the solution offers visibility of equipment behavior, encouraging team members to advance towards preventative rather than reactive maintenance.
ERP software integration for a fully smart facility
The third phase, scheduled for mid 2021, involves integrating the system with the ERP software to become a smart and connected enterprise. This final phase will enable the business to gain visibility of the demand placed on the plant with 600-700 jobs open at any one time. “Planning well to optimize material recovery and have a greater, real-time view of jobs through each of our machines means we can further improve customer service levels,” affirms Ajith Gunasekera.
The Smart Shop Floor project will assist to determine the precise utilization of each machine over time. Tracking patterns of overtime per machine and employee for example may inform the operations manager to design suitable improvement measures.
“We will also continue to reinvigorate our manufacturing equipment. By June we will have a new Italian made knife cutter machine that we can easily add to this project,” confirms Operations Manager, Antonio Pacca.
Adapting for the future of customer service
KLINGER Australia recognizes that the consumer mindset has immensely changed, and realizes that to stay relevant and continue to improve customer service levels, the business has to move quickly to adopt Industry 4.0. With the support of vendors, this shift began quicker than anticipated.
„To be the best at what we do - we have to fulfill our customers’ complete list of requirements and be better than our competition and peers. To do this we need to be at least one step ahead of the game, several steps if possible. Industry 4.0, IIoT, and all of the technological benefits afforded to it offers us the advantages we are looking for to take the vital steps forward and remain ahead of the pack.“
Kevin Woolley, Managing Director of KLINGER Australia
Looking towards the future, KLINGER is committed to continually explore opportunities to add new Industry 4.0 technology to help the business remain at the forefront of the sealing and fluid control industry.
From left to right: Antonio Pacca (Operations Manager at KLINGER Australia), Nirsarg Shah (Managing Director of technology provider COREIoT), Dr. Jens Goennemann (Managing Director of AMGC - Advanced Manufactured Growth Center), Ron Judge (Cutting Shop Supervisor at KLINGER Australia), Ajith Gunasekera (Finance Director at KLINGER Australia), Angela Doyle (State Director WA of AMGC), Sanja Minervini (Information Systems Manager at KLINGER Australia)
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