The Process manufacturing sector has been way ahead of the rest of manufacturing in adopting and using efficiency metrics, all for a good reason. Discrete manufacturing has not been able to adopt metrics easily in the past and we now have a cost effective solution that can be of huge advantage to companies.
The simple logic here is the Process manufacturing sector, characterized by chemical changes in product often in a continuous environment (eg. Refinery), is very capital intensive using process control MES systems that capture all this information, so it is then easy to report on the metrics. Typically multi-million dollar project implementations, all part of the initial machine deployment.
Discrete (CNC and many other types) on the other hand, which are characterized by making individual parts, have not needed the sophisticated MES controls and could not justify the very expensive implementations of $10,000 to $millions per machine, so they have not done much in the OEE metric area. Up until now, and primarily because of our product, we have brought the price point down to the $4,000 per machine level – which is now cost effective and justifiable. The benefits of 20% or more productivity (our customers say it is much more) pay for this system very quickly.
And we can make this an “Operator-less” input – meaning we pick up signals right from the machine and there is no need for an operator to give some input, unless required for reject or downtime reason codes. We are hearing from our customers that this is very important – you can just imagine all the reasons. Many ERP and other solutions just about all require operator input (bar-code scanning etc.) and this is old thinking and often problematic with operator productivity, errors and even hand writing on a clipboard for entry days later. Our real-time, direct connection is most accurate and saves much labor time – often justifying the hard direct expense in itself, let alone the benefits of increased efficiency, lower product costs and competitive advantage.