Can Real-Time Data Manage Packaging Lines Alone?
manufacturingtechnologyinsights

Can Real-Time Data Manage Packaging Lines Alone?

By Manufacturing Technology Insights | Thursday, September 12, 2019

To better use real-time data, packing managers need to know about two kinds of signals—status and flow.

FREMONT, CA: Most often, the line managers are directed to use real-time data to better manage the packing lines without notifying what the vital information is. In terms, the information obtained online is a signal that lets administrators see the right and wrong on the line quickly.

With live data, it is possible to fix broken machines swiftly, and without it, lines will go down without a moment’s notice. To better use the data, the packaging managers need to know about two kinds of signals—status and flow.

Status Signals

A status signal in the manufacturing process indicates a quick corrective action to fix the machine before the line has a downtime. Consider status signals as packaging line’s check engine light; if it has a problem, it needs to have quick action. For instance, when the stack light flashes red, it signifies that there is something wrong with the machine. 

Flow Signals

Flow signals comprise real-time information like speed, reject rates, and throughput. The signals additionally let administrators predict what may happen by considering the current situation of the packaging line. Furthermore, the signal indicates whether the packing line is running behind or ahead of the schedule to further assist mangers in making operational changes if required.

How Line Managers Can Employ Status and Flow Signals 

If there is any change seen in the status signal, administrators need to give it immediate attention. The kind of real-time data makes it easy to find and respond to challenges to help avoid being hindered by hours of costly downtime.

There are various reasons why a section of a line can go down; the line is starved, held, or broken. Too often, line managers struggle to determine whether or not a machine is broken down or where the process is underperforming. Upon attaching photo-sensors to their printer, connecting it to the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and utilizing data management solutions, managers can determine line status instantly to see where the line is struggling. The conclusion is that real-time data can offer invaluable actionable insights. 

With flow signals, line managers can decrease and additionally help eliminate waste. Most packaging lines are usually behind 90 percent of the time and ahead by only 10 percent. Flow signals help in addressing the issue and keep the line running competently and also to maintain the target.

If the packaging process is running behind, then flow signal lets the managers see at what areas is the line held up. If running ahead, then the route is overcompensating for something, which is altering the timing of the line. Also, if scheduling employees have not been told to make changes when the line is running ahead, then there will probably be a downtime or a lot of waste.

Another way line manager can use flow signals, and real-time data is by attending to the problem of high reject rates. When managers are to crank up the speed of the process to what management says, then in those cases, the reject rate will be too high.

Upon knowing what the throughput and reject rate are, administrators can create an efficient line, which without the flow signal will be hard to understand. The reject rate sends a strong flow signal; if it increases, line managers need to fix the line immediately. The technique essentially tells line managers that something has changed and needs a look at.

Three Advantages of Real-Time Information

When both status and flow signals are measured in real-time and fed to the packaging line, mangers will have three advantages:

• The line operators will be empowered to know when things with the packaging are going well and when they are not. They will have a conventional work process in place to enhance the business and help save the line from unplanned downtime.

• Mangers will have information to know how well they are doing, and whether or not they need to work on scheduling changes downstream or upstream. Additionally, the process will help managers to run the whole plant better and more holistically.

• Administrators will have an online data-driven input for problem-solving at the point of transport.

Therefore, instead of viewing the status report, one can adopt real-time information to understand what is happening and enable suitable changes to the packaging line. A better understanding of signals will facilitate packaging managers to identify the root cause of issues and how to countermeasure them.

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