Stable production processes by means of STIWA analysis software

In order to increase the efficiency of one of its production machines, FESTO has set up an interdisciplinary team including the plant manufacturer, production team and analytics.

In order to increase the efficiency of one of its production machines, FESTO has set up an interdisciplinary team including the plant manufacturer, production team and analytics. By employing special analysis software, STIWA was able to contribute to the identification of optimization potentials in manufacturing processes, making necessary adjustments and significantly increasing OEE.


With its technological developments and more than 30,000 catalog products in several hundred thousand variants, Festo is giving new impetus to industrial and process automation worldwide. The company, which has its headquarters in Esslingen am Neckar, is the world's leading supplier of pneumatic and electric drive technology.


Increased demand requires machine optimization

Key factors for efficient production are closed loop controls and fully mastered manufacturing processes. Due to an increase in customer call-offs, the overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) of a VUVG automation system had to be increased in autumn 2017 at the Festo Technology Plant in Scharnhausen. This involves an assembly system that produces several thousand pneumatic valves for mechanical engineering each day. "At the time, we were also struggling with unstable production processes at the plant. Our goal was to quickly identify and eliminate the problem areas in order to achieve a sustained and significant increase in output. For this purpose, we set up an interdisciplinary optimization team consisting of mechanical engineers, a production team and analytics, which worked exclusively on this project. The team grew together extremely quickly," reports Festo project manager Kilian Seiler.


STIWA know-how in the areas of automation and software

Analysis was taken over by the automation specialist STIWA, whose software products AMS ZPoint-CI and AMS Analysis-CI are an integral part of Festo machines. “For more than 25 years, we have relied on the data recording and analysis of all motions of the machines. Scalable and adaptable software analysis tools enable us to recognize complex interrelationships in production, limit weak points and thereby achieve performance increases in means of production," explains Peter Reisinger, Head of Application Technology Projects at STIWA Manufacturing Software at the Hagenberg location in the Mühlkreis region.


Successful cooperation of the optimization team

For several weeks, Reisinger and numerous experts from different areas such as process technology, control and test engineering as well as quality management took a close look at the individual production processes of the plant. "STIWA's task was to provide a well-founded data base and to identify optimization potentials in the areas of performance, availability and quality by means of technical analyses. It became apparent that technical, mechanical as well as organizational problems had caused numerous cycle time overruns in the individual production processes," notes Reisinger. Faulty feeding material and incorrectly set screwing, press-in or handling processes also proved to be the cause of long workpiece carrier block times, increased scrap, leakages and hard module standstills. Consequently, OEE was not at the expected level required.


Continuous increase in output

Based on the evaluated data material of the individual production steps, the optimization team made adjustments in the areas of control and quality engineering, process technology, organization and mechanics. Measures included the reduction of holding and cleaning times, the optimization of gripper units and screwing programs, the exchange of materials used, changes in software parameters and maintenance. The effects of the implemented measures were then revalidated. Within a few weeks, the OK output of the plant was increased by more than 10 %. The reject rate was reduced significantly. After one year, the rate of increase of OK output already stood at 40 %.


Mag. Alexander Meisinger, MSc

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