Tools & Technologies

The e$CORE function in 5ME’s Freedom eLOG software suite helps managers visualize machine performance in terms of money saved or wasted.

By Drew Harnish

When machines go down without warning, operate at an increased cycle time or begin producing defects that go unnoticed, the impacts to production throughput and rework can be significant.

To prioritize corrective action, it may be helpful to monetize these performance attributes so operators and engineers can see how their work affects the company's bottom line. The e$CORE software feature from 5ME builds on the success of the company's Freedom eLOG suite to do just that.

Transparency from the floor to management is obtained by visualizing machine performance in terms of money saved or wasted.

5ME's 4.0 update of its software allows users to assign monetary values based on six categories defined by the Association for Manufacturing Technology (AMT): plant shutdown, scheduled downtime, delay time, repair time, not in-cycle process time and in-cycle time.

Once these metrics and their associated cost weights begin to be tracked, e$CORE provides KPIs in three views. The burden view compares the performance of several selected machines so users can understand the categories that contribute most to the overall cost position. The monetary view compares production cycle times against lost time (e.g., delay, repair) to translate machine utilization into dollars. The summary view allows machine-to-machine comparison for the monetary view in order to assist with corrective action, line balancing or capital expense decisions.

In addition to its monetization capabilities, Freedom eLOG also incorporates dashboard features that can be tailored to various job functions. These "dashlets" are fully customizable by machine(s) or cell(s). They allow users to determine data elements, refresh rate and report layouts. By automatically capturing and archiving manufacturing data, users are able to analyze frequency, trend and severity statistics for a variety of process and performance metrics.

Once created, these dashboards can (IoT) system by producing web-based reports and analytics on machine utilization, and productivity. Additionally, these dashboards and reports can be accessed on the go using smartphones or tablets to support immediate decisions. The software also integrates with existing enterprise requirements planning (ERP) systems, manufacturing execution systems (MES), quality management and business systems.

As industrial and systems engineers, we know that maintaining consistent execution with process control limits provides a leading indicator that our system will achieve the desired performance targets. Monitoring at this level also provides an early warning that the performance goals are at risk if the process metrics go outside a predetermined threshold.

Real-time metrics and dashboards that convert process metrics to monetary values ensure that companies can make appropriate decisions at the right time and avoid costly surprises that may come about when only watching the performance (outcome) measures that result from the process.

Drew Harnish is a senior project engineer at Lockheed Martin and a member of IISE's Young Professionals group.