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Noviembre de 2021 Página 2 de 3

Digitalization in film production: from data to value

Dr.-Ing. Laura Flórez, Editor-in-Chief, Tecnología del Plástico

The implementation of 4.0 tools in blown film converting enables substantial savings and improvements in production quality.

Reducing claims

Being able to translate quality into values has several advantages. For example, the system can learn, for a given recipe, which combination of parameters translates into good quality production and generate alarms indicating which parameter to correct when the product is out of specification. It is also possible, if there is a defect, to mark exactly where in the production it is found so that only the meters that are out of specification can be discarded.

The system also delivers predictive information to help improve production that is currently in progress, and in case of an anomaly, it allows immediate action to reduce waste. "Before we produced, and then we measured production. Now we can have a real-time evaluation," says Amaya.

If a claim is made, for example, it is possible that without IoT tools a batch of 20 coils could be retained and must be reprocessed as "scrap". With information from the IoT system, it is possible to identify exactly which coils are out of parameters and extract only those.

And communication with the customer can improve over time. It is possible, for example, to indicate which area of production came out with a defect and alert the customer not to process it. "From 20 claims that are produced, it is possible to reach 2 in a month". This not only affects profitability but also strengthens the supplier's reputation with the customer.

Increase OEE

The objective of the whole system is to obtain more production efficiency and to be able to associate this efficiency with values. Therefore, one of the data that can be obtained is the OEE (Overall Equipment Efficiency). For each run, it is possible to understand how much efficiency the system had and compare that run with the other runs for the same reference, for example. "With the same product, it is possible to know which of the runs was the most efficient with the OEE, and Ruby will tell you why. If there was a problem with the supply of raw material, so that internal logistics should be improved; or if there was a mechanical or electrical issue," Rickel explains.

“Production can be expressed in data, in values that have a meaning for the end customer.”.

Frederik Rickel, W&H

Each extrusion process has a recipe, and the parameters must be within a window for good production. The system can inform if there is a limit violation, but also notify the operator if, when starting a run, the process window is reached earlier than expected. "Suddenly the operator tends to wait more minutes for experience, and if everything is already within parameters you can save run minutes," says Rickel.

10 to 15% is the OEE improvement obtained in some European companies by implementing the IoT Ruby platform.

In cases where it has been implemented in Europe, the system has delivered overall improvements in their OEE between 10 and 15%. "It depends on where you come from," Rickel explains. "If you don't improve the 'output,' you do have more transparency, and you provide more reliability to the customer". Rickel says that, in his market, the system is proving particularly valuable in increasing OEE in family-owned companies, allowing them to remain competitive with large conglomerates.

Safety and connectivity

One of the big question marks that appear in all companies is related to the issue of security. And no wonder: what circulates in the bowels of IoT systems is the know-how acquired over many years. That is why data security is one of the most worrying issues.

W&H has recognized this need, so instead of a cloud solution, it has opted for a server that stores data within the customer's network, so none of the data leaves the company. "Security is crucial and we know there are other cloud-based solutions. If the customer wants to have it in the cloud, we could do that in principle, but we feel it's important to have it hardware-based," Rickel says.

In terms of connectivity, all machines from the German company can be integrated into the system. The solution may require some engineering adjustments for brands before 2014, and all new machines come ready for integration into the platform. Rickel specifies that they are already working to incorporate machines from other brands in the future, which can share their information through OPC-UA communication protocols.

Plastilene: Ruby implementation leader

A pioneer for more than a decade in automated production management, the Plastilene group is once again one of the first companies in Latin America to incorporate state-of-the-art technology and has recently opted for the acquisition of the Ruby system. The group already has the solution at its plant in Guatemala and has recently incorporated it into the group's most modern plant, Novalene, located in Mosquera, Cundinamarca, Colombia.

Mauricio Muñoz Cubillos, Plastilene Group's Engineering and Maintenance Director, sees Ruby's main advantage in integrating "pieces that before were like pieces of a puzzle. You had the energy control module, the defect control module, or the quality module separately. Now you can have them all integrated into the Ruby system and navigate the menus you need".

“We have been counting with online information for more than ten years, and we know that having minute-to-minute control means dollars per hour.”

Palabras relacionadas:
Ruby, single central interface, blown film, production quality, packaging production, Ruby System, Diego Amaya, savings, OEE increase, data, IoT System, production, Plastilene Group, W&H, online information, energy control module, OPC-UA communication protocols, defect control module, automated production management
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