Plant-wide Optimization: Investments for Improvement + Compliant, Sustainable Processes

June 1, 2015
Technologies are evolving rapidly in the manufacturing equipment industry — and buyers are paying attention.   Full article brought to you by Rockwell Automation. Visit The Connected Enterprise for more.  

Technologies are evolving rapidly in the manufacturing equipment industry — and buyers are paying attention. Industrial machinery production grew some 9% in 2014, with another 9% increase anticipated in 2015.[1] Why? Because manufacturing execs want their plants to remain safe, compliant, and profitable — and they know they need new equipment to remain competitive.

Savvy leaders also understand that there’s plenty of room to improve plant utilization. Overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) — a measure of machine reliability, quality yield, and capacity to produce[2] — was 80 percent (median) at U.S. plants in 2014. Yet one-quarter of plants reported poor OEE numbers of less than 70 percent.[3] Investments in machinery — along with process improvements — can boost OEE and improve plant-wide optimization by:

  • Speeding deliveries — minimize downtime and unplanned maintenance
  • Improving quality — keep machines operating within accepted variances, and lower scrap and rework
  • Increasing capacity — generate higher output from the same plant footprint
  • Cutting costs — streamline production processes, minimize inventories, and reduce energy consumption and labor requirements

New equipment is needed to drive innovation and keep up with compliance, too, by:

  • Accommodating new products, materials, and/or component technologies
  • Addressing new government and industry regulations — and customer specifications — required by new products 
  • Complying with stricter operations requirements (emissions, sound, employee safety)

New equipment and upgrades also offer opportunities for long-term planning and improved production agility. Leading manufacturers (such as Rockwell Automation) have implemented Connected Enterprise models — advanced information technology/operations technology (IT/OT) infrastructures that enable executives to use data from production equipment to tap into real-time operations and supply-chain insights for better, proactive decision-making. As companies leverage the Internet of Things with intelligent devices embedded within equipment, they also can secure their IT/OT infrastructures and keep information, networks, and operations safe.

How safe, effective, connected, and profitable is your equipment today? More importantly, how competitive will it be tomorrow?

[1] Daniel Meckstroth, U.S. Industrial Outlook: Growth Mode, MAPI, Sept. 9 2014.

[2] OEE = % machine availability X % quality yield X % of optimal rate that equipment operates

[3] 2014 MPI Manufacturing Study, The MPI Group, February 2015.

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