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||October 27, 2006|
Headlines from Today's Activities
Strategic Maintenance: From Expense to Business Asset
All depend heavily on equipment availability and reliability. "It's time to see maintenance for what it really is—a strategic business asset," said Mike Laszkiewicz, Rockwell vice president, customer support and maintenance. "We want to help our customers transform maintenance to an asset that improves their business performance."
Moving maintenance from an expense to a strategic business asset requires the right balance of preventive maintenance (PM), predictive maintenance (PdM) and run-to-failure (reactive) activities. "But these modes are not being optimized," Laszkiewicz said. "Plants are using the wrong mix, and have the wrong emphasis."
Plants must improve productivity, cut costs and extend the useful life of capital equipment while dealing with reduced staffing and an aging workforce—"competency erosion," Laszkiewicz calls it. Data he's gathered says in today's facilities where downtime costs as much as $300,000 per hour, 18% of maintenance work is unnecessary and only three to seven replacements are hired for every 10 retiring workers. "Many plants have reduced maintenance's scope to core activities — only those items deemed critical by upper management, often without a lot of analytics behind the decisions," he said.
Plants doing PdM say they're spending 15% on it, but need to be spending 33%. They say they spend the major part of their resources on PM, but 60% of the cost is unnecessary, and excess PM can actually induce failures. And although it's by far the most expensive mode due to production downtime, plants typically devote 40% of their resources to reactive maintenance while acknowledging it should be about 12%. As a result, Laszkiewicz said, "Two-thirds of the typical company's potential profits are burned up in maintenance."
Restoring lost competency is key, whether it's done internally or with the help of service providers. Partnerships can be a short-term or, increasingly, a long-term solution to fill competency gaps.
Rockwell Automation's Customer Support and Maintenance experts help plants quantify performance metrics, determine the right mix of PM, PdM, and reactive activities, achieve their goals, and prove their success with financial results.
The power of a little help from outside was made clear by Tony Yanora, maintenance manager for Pepsi Bottling Group (PBG), Detroit, who asked Rockwell Automation to help rationalize and trim his plant's inventory of spare motor drives and sensors. The plant reduced 120 unique sensor part numbers from multiple vendors to 40 Rockwell Automation part numbers, and 330 Allen-Bradley drives bearing 50 part numbers from 10 drive families to a total of 14 part numbers. Drive inventory was reduced 50%, and sensor inventory 60%.
"What did I do with the old sensors and drives?" Yanora says, "Rockwell bought them from me."
Along with streamlining inventory, Rockwell Automation provided cross-references from the old part numbers to the new parts, including concise instructions, appropriate adaptor hardware, and cord sets. Then Rockwell trained Yanora's technicians on how to use the charts and parts.
"Our sensor inventory used to take up three cabinets," Yanora says. "Now it all fits neatly in one. The boss's boss came for a visit, took a good look at our new level of organization and said, 'I love it.'"
Visit www.rockwellautomation.com for more information on Rockwell Automation's asset management solutions.
"Eighteen percent of maintenance work is unnecessary and only three to seven replacements are hired for every 10 retiring workers." Rockwell Automation's Mike Laszkiewicz on the general state of "competency erosion" at industrial facilities.
"Our sensor inventory used to take up three cabinets—now it all fits neatly in one." Tony Yanora, maintenance manager for Pepsi Bottling Group, spoke on his company's first steps in their journey toward strategic maintenance—streamlining spare parts inventory.
Safety Profitability Starts with Control System Design
"Sure, to most production managers, safety means shutting down machines and reducing productivity. Safety is viewed as a cost and an introduction of risks. Companies often rely on luck to avoid injuries and then react to incidents as they occur," he said.
"However, when systems are designed by integrating the safety functions of a control system with its non-safety functions, productivity actually improves," Schuster noted. "Safety improves floor space requirements, reduces injuries and lowers business costs such as insurance and workers' comp." Integrated safety systems help companies to simultaneously provide a safer workplace for employees and improve productivity through increased uptime. Costs also come down for activities such as installation and maintenance, he added.
He added that safety is a culture—a combination of people systems (procedures) and technologies (components and circuits). "It's a systematic approach, not a component-based approach. It's a life cycle from a system concept through risk assessment, design, build, start-up, validation, operations and decommissions. Safety specifications drive the safety life cycle," Schuster said.
Taking an integrated approach to designing systems in this safety life cycle includes using some of the new technology that Rockwell Automation introduced at Automation Fair. One of these new technologies is the CompactBlock Guard I/O designed for use with any safety controller that communicates on DeviceNet using CIP Safety for controlling and monitoring safety circuits. Guard I/O detects circuit failures at each I/O point while providing diagnostics to the controller. With CIP Safety, users can integrate safety and standard control systems by using safety and standard messages on the same wire.
Also, with the latest release of the Rockwell Software RSLogix 5000 programming software, the GuardLogix safety controller is designed for standard control (sequential, discrete, motion, drive and process) and safety control (SIL 2 and SIL 3) in the same system and a single platform.
The SmartGuard 600 safety controller integrates 16 safety-rated inputs, eight safety-rated outputs, four pulse test sources, a USB port for configuration, and a DeviceNet port that supports both standard and CIP Safety communication. Users can expand the number of safety inputs and outputs by controlling up to 32 Allen-Bradley Guard I/O safety modules. The built-in DeviceNet can simultaneously communicate the status of the safety system to standard PLCs and HMIs.
In addition, the new line of SensaGuard noncontact switches uses RFID technology for coding and inductive technology for sensing. It has a Category 4/SIL 3 rating switch and is TÜV functional safety approved to EN964 and IEC61508.
Visit www.rockwellautomation.com for more information on Rockwell Automation's safety solutions.
"Safety is a shared responsibility, and we're all stakeholders. A well-designed system improves both safety and productivity." Rockwell's George Schuster on how safety can increase productivity and provide a competitive advantage for machine builders and manufacturers.
|Our online Product Showcase highlights new Rockwell Automation offerings that were on display.|
Global Machine Builders Solve Critical Growth Problems
"We make assembly and test equipment for all those products that you hold in your hand," began Sean Flanagan, controls group manager at Mikron. The company provides equipment for a wide-ranging group of products from automotive to medical/personal care to electronics products, all having distinctive machine performance needs.
The company's approach is to build as many identical machines modules as possible, then add specialized modules for the unique needs. The system enables the user to move modules in and out for fast changeovers.
"We work closely with the customers to create a modular, scalable control system," said Flanagan. "We use interchangeable controllers, interchangeable power supplies, and so on, to more easily accommodate the custom need."
Flanagan pointed out that the approach benefits the OEM and customer alike. "We provide faster delivery, installation and validation," he stated. "The well-established modules are more reliable, spare parts management is not as big a deal, and scalability of features such as HMI is easier." In addition, he added, there's an opportunity for reusability of some of the modules when one complete assembly reaches the end of its lifecycle.
"It means our controls engineers focus on the real performance problems, and it enables faster builds," said Flanagan. Much of Mikron's business is in FDA-regulated industries, so pre-validating modules hugely reduces many paperwork requirements.
Flanagan reported compelling performance improvements from these concepts. "We're on the way to halving delivery time down to 4-7 months, and module reusability is up to 60%," he reported. "We also enjoy lower risk because of stable, predictable module performance."
Rodrigo Sanchez, group vice present for Masipack, summarized his company's journey from being a respected Brazilian builder to becoming a global machine builder. Building a wide range of turn-key packaging line systems that include vertical and horizontal form, fill, and seal units and accessory equipment, the company faces the ever-present challenges of low cost, fast delivery, and innovation. The company also follows a modular approach, does everything itself from design to fabricate to assemble, and has an extensive factory acceptance testing (FAT) procedure. "We test as much possible in-house," reported Sanchez, "in order to reduce startup time at the customer site."
Masipack has been selling in North America for about three years, and Sanchez related the project that propelled them to that market. "We were challenged to design, build, and ship a complete weighing and filling system in roughly two months—less than half of a typical delivery expectation," said Sanchez. "If we could do this successfully, it would mean recurring business."
A big key was the company's ability to provide a complete solution that included accessory machines such as hole punchers, easy-tear applicators, zippers, etc. "We can supply a system that many end users might have to buy and integrate from six different suppliers," said Sanchez. "That gives us a complete understanding of the process, so we can make a superior design."
With great effort and admitted risk, Masipack provided a design in less than one month. "The customer approved it and then said we now had to build and deliver in four weeks," continued Sanchez. "We were successful. In fact, the equipment was delivered, installed and commissioned, and then sat idle for three weeks because the customer's processing unit wasn't ready to use it."
Sanchez credits well-supported, scalable, off-the-shelf hardware and software for facilitating the entire process. "We're not a controller company, he reminded the audience. "We want to concentrate on what we do best."
Sanchez recalled Masipack's unsuccessful attempts to sell in North America with largely proprietary hardware and software, saying the company simply couldn't provide the type of support and resources that it required. "The only proprietary controller left now is for the scale, and that's going to change too," he added.
To help make that point, Masipack's show-floor machine at Automation Fair is controlled by a SLC 500, not the standard Micrologix or ControlLogix solution Masipack offers. "We want to show the interoperability our system offers, so customers have confidence in our ability to innovate and support."
Being confident it can provide great support in a new region is how Masipack decides to grow globally, and Sanchez said the ability of Rockwell's PanelView Plus products to provide help screens, parts lists, and operator manuals is a big part of their ability to provide full support.
Visit www.rockwellautomation.com for more information on Rockwell Automation's solutions for machine builders and OEMs.
Industrial OEMs gather for tailored presentations at the Global Machine Builders Forum at Automation Fair 2006. Other industry-specific venues included Industry Forums for Food & Beverage, Life Sciences, Water & Wastewater, Oil & Gas and Marine industries, as well as the fifth annual meeting of the Process Solutions User Group.
Rockwell Extends Integrated Control, Information Offering
"Our customers are looking for an automation architecture that not only improves productivity and supply chain performance, but one that simplifies programming, commissioning and maintenance," said Steve Eisenbrown, Rockwell Automation senior vice president. "We've embraced these demands, providing a level of integration, functionality and range of scalability that is unique."
At the control level, key demonstrations at Automation Fair included GuardLogix, which has extended the Rockwell Integrated Architecture into machine as well as process safety. "It means a single controller, a single development environment, a single communication protocol—offering up to level SIL safety on the familiar Logix platform," explained Rockwell's Steve Ludwig.
The company's continued push and growing competency in process automation also was evident in the migration tools demonstrated for modernizing INFI 90, TDC 3000 and Provox legacy distributed control systems. On display were a variety of upgrade methodologies, starting with extraction and replication of the operator displays only—the most economical start—through replacement as far down as the I/O cards. "We let users decide how much of the older system they need to replace," said Rockwell's David Bachman.
Even on the machine automation side, the company's integrated architecture offering was performing more and more like a process control system—with its global tag-name approach and pre-configured operator displays. For example, Rockwell product manager Don Steffens demonstrated new RSView functionality that directly accesses drive system tags, showing preconfigured views of drive information, including CAD drawings.
Other significant automation architecture products announced at Automation Fair included more than 30 significant enhancements to the latest RSLogix 5000 programming software; a new ControlLogix L64 controller, which features a new high of 16 MB memory for large or data intensive applications; and a higher performance EN2T EtherNet/IP module. The Kinetix integrated motion control offering added Kinematics robot control, bringing the software and special function blocks typically needed when incorporating a robot into a packaging application into the Logix architecture.
On the information integration side of things, Rockwell introduced FactoryTalk ProductionCentre at Automation Fair. Based on the manufacturing execution systems (MES) functionality acquired with Rockwell's purchase of Datasweep in 2005, the new ProductionCentre also takes full advantage of the company's FactoryTalk service-oriented architecture.
"When we acquired Datasweep late last year, we announced that we would be extending our MES offerings and integrating the Datasweep Advantage product into the FactoryTalk suite," said Kevin Roach, Rockwell Automation vice president of software. "It's an important milestone in building an integrated suite that helps manufacturers in discrete and process industries link the plant floor with enterprise-wide information systems."
"As companies continue to globalize their facilities, business risk management becomes essential to meet and manage regulations," added Roach. "Globalization has also increased the involvement of information technology on the plant floor, requiring a heightened sense of operational improvement. Customers are now able to monitor all of these elements with FactoryTalk ProductionCentre, enabling better business practices and lean manufacturing."
Another important information integration tool announced at Automation Fair is FactoryTalk Integrator, which allows manufacturers to more easily connect their plant-floor applications with higher-level business systems. The system essentially abstracts a company's production plan from the automation systems below it and the ERP systems above, according to Rockwell Software's Ky Ryder.
FactoryTalk Portal rounds out the information integration advances announced. Based on IBM's Websphere technology, FactoryTalk Portal helps manufacturers increase productivity by allowing them to consolidate their Web-based interfaces into one manageable and configurable launch point.
View enlarged schematic of how Rockwell's integrated Logix control-level architecture and FactoryTalk production and performance suite bring together plant-floor and enterprise systems.
|Couldn't attend the Automation Fair® event this year? Show your solidarity with genuine Automation Fair merchandise!|
Service, Support Differentiate Rockwell Component Offering
One way to get a jump start on finding that elusive component when you're on the job is by using the Product Selection Toolbox from Rockwell Automation. You can order this comprehensive catalog online at www.rockwellautomation.com/components, or search this site itself for product information. It's a reference guide that details the breadth of essential components available from Rockwell Automation. The 30 new products featured at Automation Fair 2006 included introductions from operator interface to safety, sensors and switches.
Sy Stevens, Rockwell Automation commercial programs manager for components and power control, emphasized that all Rockwell Automation Essential Components are globally compliant, and come with service and support. "With the level of service and support, product quality and international compliance, components aren't just commodities when they're from Rockwell Automation," Stevens added.
The company works with its customers to create products that meet their specific needs, Stevens added. One common need among customers is the desire to minimize space requirements, which is why Rockwell Automation Essential Components trend toward miniaturization. "Our components continue to get smaller, but still have the reliability and quality our customers have come to expect," Stevens said.
Another goal is to reduce assembly, installation and integration time, which is why the company continues to introduce products such as the Bulletin 855F 70 mm Pre-Assembled Control Tower Lights. Preassembly saves valuable assembly and wiring time. And when it comes time to reorder, items such as the Bulletin 800FD Monolithic Push Button Devices have a single catalog number, which allows customers to order a fully assembled product for quick stocking and installation.
Rockwell Automation's monolithic pushbuttons are among the company's products that arrive pre-assembled, saving customers' time and effort.