I have been working in the automotive industry for many years as a specialist for plastics and all related processes. Developing and optimising the processes for the later production, efficiency and quality have always been highest priority. Over the years I really wondered, how little of the latest technology was used to improve the processes people were working in every day. So I decided to change that. Ellie was born.
Injection Moulding Digitalisation for the Industry 4.0
Engineers, Production and Managers profit from using Ellie.
Efficiency, Quality, and smart information distribution are in the focus.
Latest technology for the industry.
The Vision for Ellie and the industry
Ellie is going to automate all time consuming and recurring tasks as much as possible. Highly qualified engineers shall never again use their valuable time to copy and paste process data into Excel sheets to analyse them manually. Or fill out all those production documents that are necessary. With Ellie all that and a lot more is done in seconds automatically. Starting at the plastics processing industry.
A lot of companies really struggle to hire qualified experts, even if they are really trying. But in the meantime the experts already working for them are bound to inefficient working processes. There is in fact potential for a solution to solve a lot of problems at once.
These days, buzzwords like Industry 4.0, Smart Factory and "the fourth industrial revolution" are all over social media, blogs and news websites. Many businesses communicate strong interest in those topics as they are preached as the path to future success.
All things considered
If a company wants to produce a new product, a lot of people are involved. The mould needs to be constructed and built. The injection moulding process needs to be developed and improved. Parts produced by that need to be evaluated and tested. This whole process is repeated until the parts are perfect. The result is a production-ready mould and injection moulding process.
For this result, a lot of work needs to be done in several different places and a lot of people. And all depend on the information shared by the others. The perfect injection moulding process is as efficient as possible and produces highest quality parts over a long period of time. Since injection moulding is a quite complex process, it is very time consuming to create the perfect process for every part. Every test and validation needs to be analysed, documented and distributed to others, to act on the gained information. Finally the product is ready for mass production! The technicians in the production departments need the production documents, machine programs and quality control information. This is 2018! Still hardly any company has managed to make the paperless production a reality.
Ellie tackles all these challenges at once. Improving the whole process on various fronts with a central solution. The different perspectives of the stakeholders are very important to be considered. I'd like to get into the different benefits with a bit more detail next.
Ellie for Technicians and Engineers
It takes a lot of knowledge, skill and understanding to create really efficient, highly stable prosuction processes. Thats why companies hire experts for process and product engineering. To gain a competitive advantage and grow their business. A newly created injection moulding product and the process, that enables mass production in high quality, usually takes several loops. A new product is developed and the mould to produce it is designed and built. An injection moulding process has to be created to produce the first parts with the mould. The parts are tested, measured and generally evaluated for serial production. But I have never seen parts that were perfect on the first attempt. Adjustment and imrpovement cycles are necessary to iterate until the part is as needed.
This whole process involves many different departments and their people and takes many hours. The injection moulding process is quite complex and needs a lot of understanding to bring efficiency, in form of produced high quality products per time unit, to the maximum. To do that, the data that the injection moulding process produces, needs to be processed, analysed, prepared and evaluated. Only then it is possible to create the best possible production process, that is efficient, delivers highest quality products and will stay that way over the long term.
Creating and evaluating such a process by the data the machines return is often very time intensive. Many companies have several different types of machines, that deliver very different sets of data. The tool of choice is often still Excel an copy-paste, like is has been for the last decade. And if the process is finally done, the production documents and the process documentation needs to be created manually as well. I have been doing exactly this tidious work for hundreds of times, as well as many other people i know in companies around the continent.
Ellie takes care of all the time intensive parts, that can be automated. The extraction of the data given by the machine, independent of the machine type or manufacturer, the statistical analysis and evaluation and also any creation of documents is automated and done in an instant. Engineers are immediately presented with valuable, perfectly displayed and prepared data about the process. Tools to view and compare the process information makes it so much easier to identify further potential and issues. Of course the engineers can easily add and change information in the documents and Ellie will take care of the storing and distribution of them as necessary.
Ellie for the Production
In the production, it is very important to keep things simple. A lot of the time they are dealing with many different products and their processes on many machines. Keeping things simple boosts efficiency and minimises mistakes before they happen. That means, that the production staff needs all the necessary information, equipment and materials at the right place in the right moment. If just one document, information or other part is missing, the production will be delayed or cancelled until the issue is resolved. Ellie can make sure, that your production always has immediate access to the information they need. Process- and quality-documents, machine programs, equipment and material information.
Printed documents are still the standard, even in innovative companies. The paperless production, where all the documents that are necessary are digitally available, has been around for many years now. Digital documents have many advantages over printed ones. They are not limited to the space of a sheet of paper and they can be filled with dynamic information, colorful images and more. The cost of paper and printing, as well as environmental thoughts are other important things that need to be considered.
Ellie for Managers
Managers need to maintain an overview of what is happening. But on a greater scale than the engineering or production departments. Summarised values, progress towards their goals, the identification of problems and other key information allows the management to make founded decisions, initiate solutions and plan ahead. If the process data, documentation and information sharing is done the traditional way, by using Excel sheets, a network directory, email to send the documents, the information is not centralised and therefor not accessible. It has to be found, extracted and prepared for decisions manually. If Ellie handles all the data, it is all accessible. Now and later. Custom dashboards, that presents exactly the information in need, are a core feature of Ellie.
Ellie for Quality
Ellie has the process stability and long-term forecasts already covered before an injetion moulding process it taken to serial production. But also quality assuring measures may be necessary for the production, like hourly weighed samples, color-checks, function-testing. Usually there are Excel sheets the production or quality staff has to fill out. Knowing large production department and their daily business first hand, I know that it's a lot of files and forms to fill out for some of the articles being produced. Not all of them, but some. Every product needs to be evaluated differently and at a different time cycle.
Complicated workflows and keeping track of so many things at once can lead to missing out and errors. Ellie can make all that really easy for you. Easy to access article related production forms at one place. A quick notification will let you know when it is time to check on an article and what criteria to evaluate. These quality checks and there results are saved in Ellie and can be accessed at any time.
In many industries, audits are very common. Essentially a customer comes to your company to evaluate different aspects about your process of producing a product they buy from you. It is a quality assurance measurement for the customer in some way. Data about quality assuring measurements are very often demanded, production documents are evaluated and process capabilites are analysed. With Ellie, all this information will be available at your fingertips all the time. Audits can become a possibility to shine, instead of a uncomfortable event.
The Path Ahead
The industry will change. As technologies and digitalisation evolve, the companies will too. Sooner or later they will need to, to stay competitive. It is not an advantage to wait. It is an advantage to find a partner that provides a solution for existing and upcoming challenges. No company will become an industry 4.0 company over night. It will be a continuous process of change. That is, where Ellie wants to be. In the center of the change, as a foundation for further digitalisation, automation and information distribution. So that everyone can pursue their real mission and not wasting so many hours on inefficient processes. Ellie will continue to expand and improve its core functionality to include all types of machines, industries and workflows that hold potential to create value for you.
Don't miss out on your chance to advance ahead of the competition and take the next step of the industrial evolution now.
Neues professionelles Prozessmanagement 4.0 wird sich durch eine Balance aus Effizienz, Kostenoptimierung und Änderungsdynamik auszeichnen. Dies erfordert neue digitale Tools, eine flexible Prozessarchitektur und ein ebenso agiles Prozessdenken.
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