Datawright have won Software Innovation Solution of the Year for an IoT project implemented at car parts manufacturer, Arlington Automotive.
Car parts manufacturer Arlington Automotive is a division of global supply chain specialist, Arlington Industries Group Limited. Arlington Automotive’s continued growth meant that real-time performance data was a crucial requirement.
Datawright, a market-leading provider of software solutions for the manufacturing and field service industries, implemented an IoT solution to provide up-to-the-minute performance data of their machine presses, resulting in a 16% productivity gain.
Arlington Automotive first implemented Datawright’s manufacturing focused ERP software, K8 Manufacturing, in 1999. Since then, the company has grown considerably. With sales of around 38 million parts, pressure from automotive customers requiring year-on-year cost reductions and inflationary wage challenges, Arlington Automotive face on-going pressure to improve efficiency.
Arlington lacked up-to-the-minute, real-time performance of their machine presses. The company had a target press stroke per minute for each machine; however, press machine data was delayed until the following day. This was often too late to have a direct effect on production rates.
As an agile company, the management team wanted to be able to react to real-time data regarding the performance of their machine presses during each shift. Garry Luke, Systems Engineer at Arlington Automotive, explained that they wanted real-time data on display, which would drive the performance of operatives, both against their own targets and against the achievements of colleagues on other presses.
An IoT connected solution
Datawright implemented an IoT solution to link Arlington’s K8 Manufacturing ERP system to two of their presses. Wi-Fi automation devices connected to a micro-switch in each press enabled the presses to become ‘Internet-connected things’. This allowed K8 Manufacturing dashboards to display real-time performance data, updated every minute.
A range of dashboard views were developed for both shop floor and back office monitoring, with shop floor dashboards visible on a large format screen located next to the presses.
Luke explained: “Before the IoT project, we had ‘gut-feelings’ about teams of operatives being more efficient at certain types of operations than others on certain presses, however there was no reliable performance data to substantiate this.
“The data provided has enabled us to optimise shifts. Following the initial project on just two presses, parts per machine have increased substantially and we have been able to see a 16% gain in productivity”.
IoT technology at work
The solution, designed to fit the specific purpose at Arlington, bridges the hardware/ infrastructure and software elements of collecting big data using the Internet of Things.
All data is securely stored within Arlington’s K8 Manufacturing ERP database, and updated every minute. The dashboard views, analysing and collating the data, are now successfully driving the operatives on the shop floor, in addition to providing the management team with real-time performance data.
The real-time data provided Arlington with efficiency savings within three weeks of the project going live. Luke said: “Since the real-time data has been on display via a dashboard on the shop floor, the time it has taken for presses to be in action at the beginning of every shift has halved. This demonstrated an immediate ROI for us. Similar time savings have been achieved at the end of each shift. These efficiency savings have been achieved by positive peer pressure.
Each team working on the press can see in real time how they are achieving against target and also against other teams”. Based on this initial project, Arlington are now planning to replicate the IoT technology across their entire facility including further presses, robots, spot welders and paint shop.
Luke added: “Datawright have been really excellent software service providers, explaining requirements that we were unaware of, steering us expertly and offering to undertake extra tasks when we were pressed for time. We could scarcely have asked for a better service in any way. I am particularly indebted to the Datawright team who successfully executed the challenge of implementing the task in under 4 weeks from appointment; a tremendous achievement”.
Award winning project
The IoT project with Arlington has received recognition from the 2017 European IT & Software Excellence Awards. As a direct result of the project, Datawright was the proud winner of the Software Innovation Solution of the Year Award.
The 2017 European IT & Software Excellence Awards attracted more than 500 entries. Award winners were selected for IT solutions that get to the heart of customer issues, deliver business opportunities, a clearer understanding of data, and more efficient and profitable outcomes.
Datawright provide advanced, fully integrated ERP software for the manufacturing and field service industries.