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Real-time data analysis for manufacturer of foam

Real-time data analysis for manufacturer of foam and felt for the automotive industry

Advantech and KFactory partnered to provide Masterfoam with significant improvements in its production processes.

INTRODUCTION

Any manufacturing manager faces a constant challenge to increase operational efficiency. KFactory’s Core platform combines traditional data acquisition and business intelligence coupled with big data to deliver high value insights into not only what is happening, but also why.

A critical part of the story is the need for a resilient and rapid real time data collection system, and this was made possible by the adoption of Advantechs WISE-4000 product family.

THE CLIENT

Headquartered in Bucharest, Romania, KFactory is a European pioneer in factory digitalisation through the application of technology. Its Core platform provides a 360 degrees view of the production process, detecting deviations from the production plan as well as undesirable behaviour from operators or support teams. Smart notifications enable managers to act before losses occur, maximizing production time.

THE CHALLENGE

Over recent years, manufacturers have been subject to a ‘perfect storm’ of overlapping crises. Supply chains have suffered significant disruption and the costs of raw materials, energy and transportation have all rocketed.

At the same time, manufacturers are dealing with an aging workforce, and a corresponding looming skills gap. Addressing these challenges whilst also facing increased competition in a continuously changing market, Masterfoam needed to find ways to increase efficiency and reduce costs.

SLOW DATA COLLECTION

Evidently, data collection from the production process was slow and was subject to human error.

The problem was compounded by historical data being stored in unstructured formats, making it difficult to spot the patterns and emerging trends upon which to base any improvement strategy.

“All the manufacturing sectors are going through difficult times, but the implementation of our Core platform in conjunction with the data collection solutions provided by Advantech provides our customers a true competitive edge.”
Vlad Cazan, KFactory, Co-founder

THE PROCESS

We selected firstly the WISE-4051 to perform the remote data acquisition and transmission from the factory floor to the Core platform.

It offered the ideal mix of I/O and robust and reliable operation, coupled also to easy, quick and cost effective installation due to its WiFi connectivity. Firstly, that eliminated the need for costly cable installation. In fact, the first connected machines were online and producing actionable insights within a couple of weeks.

WISE-4051

The data is lastly recovered from the WISE-4051 devices by the KFactory Core platform. That contributes to applying business intelligence to the real time and historical data to provide insight and proactive recommendations to the Masterfoam managers.

“We took the decision to develop the project because of our heavy workload of manual data processing. We can now track production activity in real time, have a better knowledge of how production orders are scheduled and the actual lead times, and particularly identify operators who require the closest support and training.”
Monica Pascu, Plant Manager

THE SOLUTION

Deploying the KFactory solution resulted in the production process being monitored in real time with maximum precision. Data is collected from all relevant actors, including equipment, inspectors and support teams, and is ultimately delivered to managers in an easily digested and timely manner.

IDENTIFICATION OF PATTERNS

Furthermore, combining real time data with historical information allows analysis to be performed on data sets collated over a much larger timeframe than was possible prior to deployment. That enables furthermore identification of patterns and trends indicative of slowly developing problems, or other long term trends offering scope for improvement.

Finally, Advantech and KFactory partnered to provide Masterfoam with significant improvements in its production processes.

THE OUTCOME

Overall, Masterfoam achieved several strategic objectives:

• Improved measurement precision.

• Improved measurement reliability.

• The collection cost of data is reduced.

• Data integrated from diverse sources.

• Better management oversight.

• More reliable factory operations.

• Above all, increased production efficiency.

Before

• Manual, error prone data collection

• Data recorded on paper forms

• Not correlated data between different functions

• Unstructured historical data

After

• Reliable, automatic data collection

• This time, data is recorded in historian database.

• Business intelligence applied to big data

• Actionable insights presented to managers

ADVANTAGES TO MASTERFOAM

• Less human error.

• Real-time KPI monitoring.

• Instant, informed decision making.

• Reporting of relevant information on equipment, orders and operators.

ADVANTAGES TO KFACTORY

Robust and reliable data acquisition.

• Rapid and cost effective installation.

• Accurate, real-time data.

• Global partner with local support.

• Wide variety of product SKUs from which to select optimum project fit.

• Proven track record of supply.

WHY ADVANTECH

Overall, KFactory considered a number of factors when selecting Advantech as a partner for the Masterfoam project.

• Firstly, cost effective, proven technology.

• Secondly, wide variety of SKUs from which to select the optimum project fit.

• Local office and support.

• Global presence and service centres.

• Financially strong and stable.

• Independently recognised as leading supplier for IIoT devices and systems.

“We chose Advantech as a partner for the range of data collection, industrial computing, and communication platforms on which our solutions are built. This allows us to approach prospects like Masterfoam with confidence, knowing that Advantech will be indeed able to supply the solutions we require.”
Adrian Dima, KFactory, Co-founder
Janczewski

Slawomir Janczewski

iFactory CEE KAM Advantech Europe

Vlad Cazan, cofounder KFactory

Vlad Cazan

Co-founder and Sales Lead KFactory

About Advantech

Advantech is the leading manufacturer of industrial computing, display and communications products.

Advantech its customers and their end-users wherever our equipment ends up. We cooperate closely with our distribution partners, software, hardware and communication partners, system integrators and consultants to provide complete solutions to complex computing and communications challenges. Our mission is to enable an intelligent planet by developing the automation and embedded computing products on which it will run. With Advantech products, the application and innovation potential is unlimited.

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