Case Study: Increasing Manufacturing Capacity by 25% with Zero Additional Resources

Adding scalability to your production line so you can increase output when you need to with no additional costs – this is one of the objectives you can achieve with factory automation technologies.

We have direct experience in these types of projects. In the example in this case study, we delivered on this objective for one of our long-term customers. This customer operates a high-volume manufacturing facility in Ireland.

Objectives

The customer had a straightforward requirement for the project. They wanted to increase manufacturing capacity by 25 percent on an existing production line to deal with forecasted increased demand. They also wanted to design in features to accommodate future planned SKUs as per the client’s product roadmap to minimise disruption and cost in future years.

They also wanted the solution to have cost avoidance features so that when the time came to scale up production, they could do so with no additional costs.

In addition, the customer wanted us to design, test, and implement the solution with minimal downtime and minimal impact on current production output.

What We Did

The solution our team at SL Controls developed focused on bottleneck modules. We seamlessly integrated these modules into the customer’s existing high-volume manufacturing line.

We also relocated the pack zone to allow for the integration of new equipment. This new equipment featured advanced process controls and compact tooling.

We installed a complex conveyance system too, as well as controls for the additional equipment. We then integrated the newly installed equipment at multiple points on the line whenever windows of opportunity allowed so as not to impact output.

Furthermore, the new equipment and technology we installed replaced three existing machines with one while reducing the overall physical footprint of the line. This was achieved while also meeting production as well as individual processing requirements such as output and quality.

We also implemented all quality control and system verification systems throughout, including successfully completing FATs and SATs.

Advanced process automation was also a key feature of our solution. We implemented this on the new tooling ensuring maximum automation while also giving the customer improved access to data.

Throughout the entire process, we collaborated closely with the customer as well as with vendors to ensure the best possible solution.

Results

We delivered on the customer’s main objective as our solution increased the manufacturing capacity of the line by 25 percent. In addition, zero incremental staff are required when the line is scaled up to maximum capacity.

We also delivered improvements in uptime and quality, again without additional human intervention.

As a result of the above, the technology future-proofing goals of the customer were also met.

Finally, the additional data available to the customer improved their understanding of the line’s processes and OEE – Overall Equipment Effectiveness.

To find out more about our Smart Factory capabilities, and to discuss a project you are planning, please get in touch with a member of our team.

Charlie Murphy

Charlie is SL Control’s Factory Automation Manager. He has over 24 years' industrial experience including in the Consumer (Electronics) and Medical Device industries. He has extensive experience partnering with R&D organisations in the design, development and procurement of high-volume automation requirements to support manufacturing capacity and NPIs. Charlie’s team specialises in Industry 4.0 Digital Maturity Assessments and developing technical roadmaps and value propositions.

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