For This Molder, Less Paper + More Data=Higher Productivity
At the Lynchburg, Va., operation of Tessy Plastics, less paper has actually resulted in more data that’s more readily available, thanks to implementation of a fully integrated ERP and real-time process-monitoring system from IQMS, Paso Robles, Calif.
Tessy’s southern plant has changed since it was established in 1996 by Ken Beck, son of company founder Henry Beck. It rode out the abrupt exodus of telecom manufacturing—which early on represented 90% of its business—and reinvented itself as a diversified custom molder serving clients in medical, automotive, aerospace, consumer, and military/industrial markets. After several expansions, the Lynchburg plant now covers about 80,000 ft² and is equipped with 42 injection molding machines from 40 to 270 tons, as well as a three-station injection-blow molding machine.
Tessy invested in IQMS ERP software 10 years ago, and according to Doug Jobe, Tessy’s dir. of operations, at first it was only using about 40% of the platform’s capabilities. Today, Jobe estimates Tessy does around 85% of its business through the IQMS system, expanding its utilization in areas like shipping, quality, and vendor management, as well as the addition of process monitoring.
“We were very interested in real-time process monitoring because it gives us instant information,” Jobe says. “We’ve been using real-time production monitoring for years and years, so this was the next step for us to be able to give our process engineers instant information that was accurate and allowed us to do something instantly to fix processes.”
On the wall adjacent to the door to the main molding hall, Tessy mounted a large display broadcasting live color-coded production results from the IQMS system that can be instantly interpreted. The same data is beamed to monitors throughout Tessy, as well as to employee cellphones and tablets via an app and special press-side tablets that reside on custom-made podiums. Says Jobe, “Everybody has access to data electronically now, so we all know we have the most up-to-date information with no paper involved.”
IQMS also generated loads of real-time data that when properly arranged create a mosaic of production at that moment. “But somebody has to see the data, and as soon as you can see the data, then you can make a decision,” Jobe says. Tessy captures real-time process data with the help of eDart systems from RJG, Traverse City, Mich. Metrics gathered include end-of-fill pressure, fill time, backpressure, cycle time, and injection pressure.
To get that data to everyone in the best possible way, Tessy traded binders filled with papers for the press-side tablets. “Instead of having a paper production folder that never changes, we were able to create an electronic podium that does change,” Jobe says. “So we have information centers throughout the plant that anyone can look at and see how well we’re performing for that day.”
Tessy President Ken Beck says his customers can see how the molder is doing, as well, thanks to IQMS technology. “When we give tours and show them on the board exactly how much time is left on the molding machine that we’re running for them, it’s very impressive, and it helps us every single day,” he says.
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