Dedication to efficiency is at the heart of any successful manufacturing operation. But for most manufacturers, it’s more than just a mission: In the competitive Factory 4.0 landscape, optimizing the performance of your production robots is a necessity.
So how can you be certain that your factory running at maximum efficiency? You probably already know the key numbers to watch: Downtime, personnel costs, and scrap are some of the signs that your production robots aren’t working the way they should be.
These critical statistics can be compiled together into a number called OEE. As the robotic revolution continues to transform factories into highly precise automated operations, understanding OEE and knowing how to improve it is more important than ever.
WHAT IS OEE?
OEE stands for overall equipment effectiveness, and it’s a vital metric used extensively in manufacturing. Expressed as a percentage of current performance out of best possible performance, the number gauges how efficiently machinery and equipment like production robots are operating by considering three essential factors: Availability, Performance, and Quality.
Availability measures the machine’s uptime, including planned—and unplanned—downtime. Performance assesses how well the machine actually performs compared to its designed programming. And Quality looks at the percentage of defect-free products produced. To calculate OEE, you multiply these three components, yielding a percentage that represents how well your machinery is operating.
Many different factors can lead to subpar OEE. Faulty programming can lead to defective parts that need to be scrapped or reworked, decreasing performance and quality. If you’re faced with a lot of unplanned downtime and have trouble getting production back online quickly, your availability will suffer.
On the factory floor, where time is money, inefficient operations need to be avoided. And in worst case scenarios, compounding issues can lead to recall or accidents—situations with a negative impact that can be impossible to quantify.
While understanding OEE is fairly simple, improving your factory’s productivity metrics is much harder than it sounds. Some problems, like changes that arise during shift changes, can seem unavoidable in a plant with hundreds or even thousands of robots and engineers working at once. Communication poses another challenge: Obscure robotics issues may leave the factory dependent on a single expert, and third party engineers can generate untraceable quality problems. And as more and more production relies on automation, increasing the amount of data and increasing complexity can make finding critical information into a difficult task.
ROBOLIVE®'S IMPACT ON OEE
Our mission is to help manufacturers like you meet the challenges posed by Factory 4.0. As a team engineers and systems integrators with decades of experience, we know exactly what problems modern engineers are facing—and we created our software solution RoboLive® to help.
RoboLive® is a toolset made of multiple elements that work together to help you make the most of your industrial robots. The elements, like Robot Documentation and Path Calibration, provide solutions to common production challenges through robust visualization, documentation, and analysis. Some of RoboLive’s features even offer never before seen ways to address common challenges. Vehicle-0 Determination, for example, provides a fast an easy alternative to laser measurement or complete reteaching when relocating production robots.
RoboLive® is integrated into the local network, and automatically retrieves actual process data from your robots as often as every shift. The actual process data alongside nominal (planned) programming on models of your products, letting you find and fix problems before they happen.
Visualization is an increasingly important way to keep track of your factory, and RoboLive® offers a powerful alternative to clunky, outdated existing toolboxes or makeshift inhouse solutions. In RoboLive®, critical information—even complex data like weld and glue parameters—can be easily visualized at a glance by all plant staff. A dynamic timeline tracks the status of the plant, so you can ensure that all changes are documented.
Whether you’re planning to use every element, just a few, or need a bespoke solution, RoboLive® provides the tools you need to combat inefficiency on the factory floor. You’ll make better quality products, and spend less time and money doing it.
The numbers add up. By reducing downtime, decreasing personnel costs, and preventing scrap, your plant can expect to see OEE increased by several percentage points with almost no additional effort. Personnel costs for handling process data, for example, can be reduced by 60% with RoboLive®’s time and effort saving tools. Downtime due to material joining issues can be reduced by 15%, and you can expect a 75% reduction in scrap and rework due to programming errors. Major automotive or components manufacturers like our clients can leverage RoboLive® into seven figure savings potential annually.
It’s a measurable return on a minimal initial digitalization investment. RoboLive® customers can see a return on investment in a few months, and the benefits multiply over time. Whether you’re looking to start big with a plantwide adaptation or want to trial RoboLive® on a single line, our team is ready to meet your needs today and help you scale to a future of success.
At Dressler Automation, we have a passion for helping manufacturers maintain quality automated production lines. Visit our LinkedIn or read on for more stories about how RoboLive® is changing the game at plants all around the world.
When you’re ready, get in touch with our team and find out what we can do for you. Reach out today for a custom quote or consultation, or look for the RoboLive® team at a trade event near you for a live demonstration.