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When a major pharmaceutical manufacturer wanted to bring their OEE up to world class standards they soon realised that manually collecting and processing data does not provide the accuracy or availability of information needed to achieve their targets.

A site review highlighted that a system that automated data collection was needed to provide accurate information when and where it was required. A PlantRun system was chosen to monitor the packaging lines where frequent product changeovers limited throughput.

pharma oee terminalEight packaging lines are within a clean room environment. Each line includes a blister machine, carton machine, overwrapper and case sealer - a total of thirty two machines.

Compact keypad terminals at each machine area allow operators to interact with the system to input and view information, start and stop production and select downtime reasons and add comments etc.

The keypad terminals, housed in stainless steel enclosures,  provide an interface between each machine and the system PC with data communication over the existing Ethernet LAN

The system features multiple displays with varying levels of detail including an overview display with colour coding to indicate the status of every machine at a glance. KPI information including the packaging line OEE is displayed on screen and continuously updated in real time.

Switching between the overview display to individual line or machine displays for more detailed information is done by mouse click or touch screen button.  System displays can be accessed from any enabled desktop or securely at any location over the internet.

All machines are monitored continuously by the system PC which records all machine downtime to one second accuracy. When any machine stops for a long period, (the duration of which can be set per machine) the machine operator uses the keypad terminal to select one of any number of reasons for the stoppage from a multi-level drop down list or they can enter a numeric short code.

Short duration stoppages do not require a reason to be entered but are still recorded and the time accumulated as ‘short stoppage time’.  Comments can be entered against any stoppage to aid later analysis or diagnosis.

To ensure downtime reasons are recorded machine interlocking is used to prevent any machine being re-started before a valid reason has been selected.  To reduce the delays sometimes caused by interlocking after every major stoppage the machines were interlocked after every second long stoppage.

Customised reports for downtime, OEE, production and scrap counts are generated at the end of each shift. The built in range of analysis tools within PlantRun make it easy to identify the major reasons for machine downtime, drill down for root cause analysis or compare and analyse data across different machines, packing lines, operators,products etc.

The benefits of systems implementation include;

  • Accurate information identifies inefficiencies allowing the company to achieve packaging line OEE targets.
  • Event alarms ensure fast response to problems when they occur saving time and money.
  • Eliminating manual data collection and processing leaves staff free to do more value added work.

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OEE Data Collection

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