(from left) Antonio Pacca, Nirsarg Shah, Dr Jens Goennemann, Ron Judge, Ajith Gunasekera, Angela Doyle, Sanja Minervini
KLINGER Australia begins the shift towards Industry 4.0
In a mere matter of weeks, KLINGER Australia moved quickly to commence the first steps towards implementing an Industry 4.0 strategy in their production facility in Western Australia by introducing Industrial IoT technology.
It all started just three months prior to introducing the new strategy. An invitation was received from the Advanced Manufactured Growth Centre (AMGC) to attend a presentation held at R Moore & Sons; a well-established manufacturing business. The event focused on where to start with building an IIoT strategy, showcasing the R Moore & Sons success story.
“I was inspired by the practicality and potential it could offer KLINGER after I witnessed how R Moore & Sons had undergone substantial change with a workforce that really embraced it. Seeing the functionality of the technology and the impact it could have on improving our customer service levels made us move quickly and get in contact with the technology service provider; COREIoT. We had talked about Industry 4.0 as a concept and as a strategy to optimise our work centre capacity utilisation and uptime however we didn’t quite know where to start.” explains Ajith Gunasekera; Finance Director of KLINGER Australia
After a return visit to R Moore & Sons with COREIoT Managing Director; Nisarg Shah and key KLINGER people involved in the project, a decision was made to roll out the COREIoT Smart Shop Floor project in three phases.
Phase One: rollout of IIoT Technology
Phase One involved installing sensors to nine machines (referred to as the work horses of the business) in KLINGER’s production facility, connecting devices and accumulating data for analysis.
The beauty about the IoT technology is that it doesn’t matter how old or young machinery or equipment is, it’s a simple plug and play solution that COREIoT has cleverly developed.
“The benefit of this technology is that it can connect to ‘any’ machine without the need to access the machine’s internal controller or PLC” reflects Sanja Minervini, Information Systems Manager at KLINGER.
The package included wireless sensors, easily installed on the moving part of each machine to sense temperature and vibrations. This concept provides the means to record uptime and downtime and monitor fluctuations for the purpose of preventative maintenance. The sensors on each machine relay real-time data to two 4G IoT gateways on the shop floor which then feed information to the cloud-based web portal, also available as an app for team supervisors.
Automation is a key part of the COREIoT solution. A notification appears on the android tablet at the same moment a machine becomes vacant or idle, with a prompt for the machine operator to ask why this has occurred.
Nisarg Shah explains “This is the primary feature of the solution - to continuously improve machine utilisation and increase productivity of facilities. Reasons for idle downtime may include set up, set down or maintenance issues and with this real-time data, team supervisors play a key role in minimising downtime and being quick to respond to any issues.
“The SMART Shop Floor software provides a user-friendly interface to track and assess utilisation monitoring data. The utilisation trend helps decision makers to improve processes and increase productivity of each machine by 2-5% per month. The solution also makes the facility safer with a built-in collaboration tool that connects the machine operator and team supervisor digitally so that the operator doesn’t have to walk around the facility looking for assistance.”
Phase Two: Training staff to use new technology
Phase Two involved training operators to log in, log off and select the reason for a machine becoming idle. The transition was fairly easy at KLINGER due to the introduction of an ERP system three years ago, when machine operators were asked to start using a shop floor interface on a daily basis.
Benefits of the change and the importance of using automation were also communicated to staff. Plant maintenance was a key example of explaining how the solution offers visibility of equipment behavior, to advance towards preventative rather than reactive maintenance.
Phase Three: Integration with ERP system
The third phase scheduled for mid 2021 involves integrating the system with the ERP software to become a smart and connected enterprise. This final phase will enable the business to gain visibility of the demand placed on the plant with 600-700 jobs open at any one time. ‘Planning well to optimise material recovery and have a greater, real-time view of jobs through each of our machines means we can further improve customer service levels.’ affirms Ajith Gunasekera
The Smart Shop Floor project will assist to determine the precise utilisation of each machine over time. Tracking patterns of overtime per machine and employee for example may inform the operations manager to design suitable improvement measures.
“We will also continue to reinvigorate our manufacturing equipment. By June we will have a new Italian made knife cutter machine that we can easily add to this project” informs Operations Manager, Antonio Pacca.
AMGC Tours KLINGER’s Smart Shop Floor project
In April 2021 Dr Jens Goennemann; Managing Director and Angela Doyle; State Director WA of AMGC toured KLINGER’s production facility to see how the IoT technology had been embraced.
Dr Goennemann explained that “The advanced technologies and processes that underpin Industry 4.0 can unlock significant opportunities for Australian manufacturers,
“By investigating and adopting advanced practices, manufacturers can realise improvements across the entire manufacturing process to become ‘better, not cheaper’ and, more globally competitive,
“Now is the ideal time for manufacturers to investigate how Industry 4.0 can benefit their business and AMGC is here to assist.”
KLINGER recognises that the consumer mindset has immensely changed and realises that to stay relevant and continue to improve customer service levels, the business had to move quickly to adopt Industry 4.0. With the support of AMGC and COREIoT, this shift began quicker than anticipated.
Kevin Woolley; Managing Director of KLINGER Australia explains “To be the best at what we do - we have to fulfill our customers’ complete list of requirements and be better than our competition and peers. To do this we need to be at least one step ahead of the game, several steps if possible.
“Industry 4.0, IIoT and all of the technological benefits afforded to it offers us the advantages we are looking for to take the vital steps forward and remain ahead of the pack“
Looking towards the future, KLINGER is committed to continually explore opportunities to add new Industry 4.0 technology to help the business remain at the forefront of the sealing and fluid control industry.