Surface Finishing Production Monitoring

RCRoss & Catherall Ltd, part of Doncasters group of companies, is a world leader in the manufacture and supply of vacuum and air melted ferrous, nickel and cobalt base alloy and superalloy barstock. The company’s superalloys are used in performance critical applications for aero engines and gas turbines (blades, nozzle guide vanes etc.) as well as turbocharger parts, medical implants, and other components requiring high metallurgical integrity.

To maximise production capacity to meet high customer order demand the business invested in a PlantRun system to monitor assets at their manufacturing site near Sheffield, UK.

Critical assets include Cutmaster, Reichmann, Rema, and Centro cutting and grinding machines used for surface finishing of the superalloy products. Typically this is a two man process where one person grinds the surface while a second operator checks the finish for inclusions or defects. An in feed and out feed is continuously monitored to track products through the asset. Signals determine operational status including Bar loaded, Grinding under load, Number of passes of the bar and Bar discharge.

As well as replacing wasteful manual data collection and providing accurate live operational information other PlantRun facilities improve performance. An SMS facility enables faster response to breakdowns by automatically sending a text message to a maintenance engineer. Email facility allows reports to be generated at set intervals and emailed to users for progress meetings as well as alert management to critical issues that occur. Display Node hardware allows live production KPI’s to be displayed on large screen TV’s in the production area to inform and motivate staff.

Doncasters has 5,000 employees operating through 30 manufacturing sites across the UK, continental Europe, the USA, Mexico and China.