Complete Automation Resource Designs and Installs Machine Monitoring Solution for Michigan-Based Plastics Company.
M R Products, Inc., home of Mr. Chain, is a plastics manufacturing facility located in Copemish, Michigan. They are a family-owned small business, offering a wide variety of sizes, styles, and colors of plastic chain. The business, therefore, found great success during the COVID-19 pandemic, as their products were a method of ensuring safety and division in public spaces. This newfound rapid sales growth, as well as the nationwide staffing shortage, meant M R Products was in need of modernizing their processes for increased speed and accuracy.
The Problem: Manual Data Translation
Traditionally, M R Products’ employees would write machine records and leadership would manually translate that data into productivity reports. Not only was this extremely time consuming, but also led to human error and delayed information.
To begin searching for a solution, Ryan Schultz, Chief Operations Officer for M R Products, reached out to the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center for consulting to identify issues and get their take on technology.
After realizing machine monitoring would be extremely beneficial, they contacted Complete Automation Resource for help. As a premier Ignition Integrator for data collection, the team at C.A.R. was ready to help. M R Products shared their unique obstacles, went through product demos, and discussed what the process would entail.
With a variety of technology companies to choose from, Schultz said that Complete Automation Resource was the best option, as they had the ability to offer a complete, user-friendly solution.
"We are consistently saving 22 hours per day. That’s 2.8 hours per day per press."
Chief Operations Officer
The Solution: Custom Machine Monitoring
After multiple iterations, a custom data collection solution was designed to provide automated data from each machine press. What did this look like specifically? Tablets were installed on every injection mold press calculating cycles time with color-indicated results. This simple visual representation allowed operators to understand how they were doing as well as allowed management the ability to see progress at a quick glance.
“When the tablet is showing red, I can encourage the employees to pick up their speed, and when it is showing green, I can compliment them and thank them on their hard work,” Schultz explained. “It is also incredibly useful when I see that an employee who is usually operating at an efficient speed is running slower than usual. We can talk about if something is going on and identify if the setback is coming from the machine. We get to solving problems a lot quicker this way, and it saves a lot of down time.”
In addition to the tablets on the presses, the solution designed by Complete Automation Resource also connected those devices to a separate computer in the office. This allows leadership to have real time data on everything happening in the facility.
The interface was customized to M R Products’ exact needs from showcasing the number of running presses, speeds, capacity and output, and more. The data can then be downloaded and reviewed as necessary.
"By installing machine monitoring, we were able to make the switch from a 7-day work week to a 5-day work week. We gave people their weekends back."
Chief Operations Officer
The Results: Financial Savings and Increased Morale
“The biggest piece came when we compared the before and after [the installation and use of machine monitoring],” said Schultz. “We are consistently saving 22 hours per day. That’s 2.8 hours per day per press.”
“When you multiply that by labor cost, that’s a significant savings. But it isn’t only money. By installing machine monitoring, we were able to make the switch from a 7-day work week to
a 5-day work week. We gave people their weekends back.”
Schultz continued on to say how he’s been able to watch morale improve asthe company makes better use for their presses and the employees’ time. The reduction of operation time subsequently also reduced the company’s energy consumption, resulting in more suitability to their facility and products.
“It was a great journey. Navigating this during COVID did present its own challenges, but the Complete Automation Team had great communication. We kept working hard back and forth to achieve a common goal, and we did [achieve that goal].”
For more information about M R Products, visit their website at mrchain.com.