Downtime tracking and production efficiency monitoring has been added by Wonderware to its FactorySuite 2000 packaged monitoring and control software. The module, dubbed DT Analyst and available in the UK in September this year, follows the launch late last year of similar software from rival Intellution as part of its SCADA suite.
The idea is that by using the software, plant managers will be able to automatically locate production equipment that’s not functioning optimally and to take corrective action.
The module consists of a series of tools that acquire and decode information from plant machinery and equipment to determine whether or not anything is in a down condition – and why, helping troubleshooters find root causes and evaluate long-term productivity weaknesses.
“Many times the most painful downtimes are those that are of short duration but which occur frequently,” says Kevin Tock, Wonderware general manager. “Often, operators become used to clearing a system fault quickly, and no longer consider the downtime associated with 10 or 20 quick two-minute fixes to be more than one incident during a shift.
“They may also fail to notice other problems that occur upstream or downstream as a result of starting or stopping a production line, which can lead to downtime that is erroneously attributed to a given piece of equipment.”
Tock says that by using DT Analyst, manufacturers can identify all this – and effectively “tap into a plant’s ‘hidden capacity’ simply by reducing overall downtimes, changeover time, maintenance problems and product flow or bottleneck problems.”
And he adds: “Since adding new equipment or additional shifts is expensive, and often unnecessary, DT Analyst provides the plant manager with more detailed and graphical information that enables identification, quantification and cost-justification for an equipment upgrade or replacement that can improve total productivity.”
DT Analyst supports several database types, although it is intended for use with FactorySuite’s Industrial SQL Server or Microsoft SQL Server 7.0.
Author: Brian Tinham