Key Technology


August 2013


 
The Plant Services website recently published an article about understanding the “Five Whats” of plant performance improvement.

The five questions outlined in the article are also ideal for evaluating the performance of specific pieces of equipment:
  1. What is the performance level you want to achieve?

  2. What indications will there be to let you know if you are achieving the desired performance level?

  3. What data do you need to develop the indicators of performance?

  4. What has kept you from putting the processes in place and collecting the data needed to achieve higher performance levels?

  5. What internal and external support do you need to achieve higher performance?

In the last issue of the Service Advisor we addressed how the first two questions apply to Key Technology equipment and their effect on your productivity.  This month we will focus on the last three questions.
  


What data do you need to develop the indicators of performance?

 
Data Monitoring of a Sorter with RemoteMDValuable information is available from the OPC server built into the software of our SmartArm™ shaker monitoring system and our digital sorters. For our shakers, speed and stroke are the key pieces of data you need to develop indicators of performance. An over stroke condition can be an indicator of a process issue, such as too much product on the shaker, or a maintenance issue, like product build-up on the bed.

Developing performance indicators for sorters can be more complex due to the number of data points available. They can provide valuable general information such as uptime, sorting time, and whether sorting is enabled or not. Operational data can be used to monitor for alarms to ensure the sorter is performing the functions required without interruption. Finally, statistical data can be used to calculate defect counts, defect rates, and ejection activity. When integrated with a SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) system, you can create control charts to monitor sorter performance.
  


What has kept you from putting the processes in place and collecting the data needed to achieve higher performance levels?

 
Until recently, technology was the biggest road block. Many plants had process control networks, but those were typically closed networks (data was only viewable from the control room or special monitor on that network) running proprietary protocols. PLCs were used to monitor environmental conditions and to control the process, not monitor its performance. Plants were also not equipped to support Ethernet networking and internet-based monitoring systems. Fortunately that has changed and processors now have more power to establish processes and collect data for performance measurement than ever before.
  


What internal and external support do you need to achieve higher performance?


 
Internally you will need the support of Operations, Production, Maintenance, Quality Assurance, IT, and Management.  As with any investment, management will want to see how investment in performance monitoring tools will improve the bottom line. Build a team with representation from each group and show how performance monitoring tools will benefit the company as a whole, including the bottom line, and you will get buy-in faster. Management generally does not like justifying a project with soft cost savings, so look for measurable improvements in quality and yield.

Externally, talk to your suppliers to find out more about the capabilities of your equipment.  For example, you installed a sorter to remove defects and foreign material, but what else can it do? Does the supplier provide consulting services or partner with an integration service provider? What other tools does the supplier have to make the job easier?

 Understanding how each piece of equipment can provide an indicator of performance and what changes are necessary will take time and resources, however, the improvement opportunities will be worth the investment.  Some companies choose to partner with outside contractors or suppliers to assist with this process.  Please contact us if you are interested in learning more about identifying the critical performance indicators for your Key Technology equipment. 
 


Thank You!


 
Our global services team is here to assist you with all of your training, service and parts needs.
Contact us at:

Europe, Middle East, India & Africa +31 (0)345 509900
email: keybv@key.net

Australia & New Zealand +61 03 8710 8200

North America and other regions +1.877.UPTIME1 (+1.877.878.4631)
email: service.info@key.net

Sincerely,

Your Service Team
Key Technology, Inc.

  

Key Technology 150 Avery Street, Walla Walla, WA 99362 USA | +1 509.529.2161 | PROliance@key.net

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