A large casino gaming machine manufacturer had an aging conveyor control system and was experiencing an increasing amount of downtime. Productivity losses due to in-process machines being sent to incorrect locations, a holding and re-work area not functioning correctly were increasing. Our staff was brought in to bring the system up to industry standards, provide downtime tracking, production scheduling, real-time inventory consolidation and bring productivity to desired levels.
SCADA, MES, Downtime Tracking, Scheduling, Track and Trace, Database Management, Process Analytics, Process Optimization
- FactoryTalk View SE
- FactoryTalk Transaction Manager
- Allen Bradley CompactLogix PLCs
- Allen Bradley PanelView Plus
- SQL Server
- SAP ERP
- RFID tags and scanners
- Bring system to modern standards including MES functionality
- Increase productivity and reduce inventory errors
- Reduce process upsets and re-work
- Develop system using cutting-edge hardware and software
- Implement system and train personnel on its operation
- Improve process efficiency
- Modern system, with full ERP integration
- Process upsets reduced to near zero
- Increased productivity
Our staff worked with the maintenance department to understand the systems’ design methodology, current issues with the system and needs. We familiarized ourselves with the existing code base and met with the system’s stakeholders to formulate a project plan.
The plan included resolving existing hardware issues, re-writing logic to ensure the system operated as required, integrating production requests from the ERP system to generate a production schedule. We were also able to pull real-time inventory information to ensure machines coming down the line could be completed before being sent to technician workstations.
Over the course of a few evenings when the line was down we began resolving issues with the FactoryTalk Transaction Manager configuration passing incorrect data from the PLC to SQL Server. This exposed several race conditions in the logic preventing some machines from being sent to technician workstations and instead being sent to the end of the line as if they were complete machines. We resolved the race conditions and implemented similar changes to a machine holding/re-work re-entry area at the end of the line. During continued operation of the system, we noticed some pallets consistently being sent to incorrect locations on the line and further research indicated the RFID tags on the pallets were incorrectly installed. Resolving this issue along with the logic changes reduced runaway machines from 50+ per shift to less than one a day on average.
Once all of the logic issues on the line were resolved we completed integration with the company’s SAP ERP system to integrate scheduling and inventory data into the control system to better utilize the technicians on the line. This ensured raw cabinets from the warehouse could be completed before being sent to machine technicians and updated the ERP system as machines were assembled.
Finally, we developed a real-time dashboard for display on the tracking OEE, actual vs. target production counts, and added costs to time and resources due to re-work now that it could be accurately tracked in real-time.
After upgrades the system met industry standards for logic and safety.
The control system was fully integrated into the company’s ERP system enabling real-time scheduling and inventory management.
Track and trace data was made available for machines as they were assembled and tested.
The number of machines being sent to incorrect locations was reduced from 50+ per shift to less than one per day on average.
The amount of time spent moving machines back to the front of the line and manually directing them went from full-time to essentially zero.
System upgrades found 1/3 of the pallets used on the line had incorrectly installed RFID tags.