A manufacturer of 100% recycled paperboard was operating eight paper manufacturing machines across six plants—and no two machines were the same. In addition, the company had numerous, disparate data systems including
- an Oracle management information system (MIS);
- multiple distributed controllers from different suppliers;
- several paper gauging systems; and
- paper-based inspection routes and checklists.
To make matters more complicated, data was siloed in each system. The plants were capturing raw quality data—basis weight, moisture, caliper, strength tests, and so on—in the Oracle MIS, but there was no charting and no way to compare historical data.
In short, the company had a lot of data coming in from many disparate systems and no real way to use it.
The company’s primary goal was to eliminate variance in finished products among the plants. They had existing customers who were demanding less variability in the final product, and new target customers whose variability demands could not be met with the existing quality processes.
After meeting with company management, InfinityQS recommended that the company implement InfinityQS® ProFicient™ with Data Management System (DMS), Data Collection Service (DCS), and Remote Alarm Monitoring Service (RAMS) to standardize raw quality data from numerous, diverse sources so that the company could correlate data and improve consistency across plants.
We installed ProFicient with DMS, DCS, and RAMS in a single plant as a pilot. In addition, we rolled out ProFicient in four phases to make the pilot more manageable and allow the company to see improvements and successes at each stage:
- Phase I: Integrate ProFicient with the Oracle MIS, continuing to collect data in the MIS but gaining real-time control through ProFicient.
- Phase II: Capture pressure, flow, and temperature data from the many control systems directly into ProFicient. Historically, the plant had not captured that data; now quality personnel could correlate the data with quality metrics.
- Phase III: Move the quality test data collection directly into ProFicient.
- Phase IV: Create data-entry configurations for the data that operators had previously collected manually on paper.
ProFicient is now vital to everyday operations at most of the manufacturer’s plants. The ability to organize and display control charts by product is a significant benefit becasue it allows quality managers to not just collect quality metrics for each line, but compare those metrics across lines so they can implement best practices in every process.
The solution’s ability to reduce variance in the finished product has allowed the manufacturer to retain customers and business that it would not otherwise have been able to keep and win new business that it may not have won.
That’s a sustainable improvement!