27.4.22

"The endless cycle of optimizations" - Gradual development of the MES system in Johns Manville

Company
Johns Manville Slovakia a.s.
Project beginning
2001
Implemented system
Manufacturing execution system
Business Area
Industry

Johns Manville Slovakia operates in Slovakia since 2001. It specializes in the production of glass fibers and is one of the key players in the European and global markets. The company is part of the portfolio of the Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate and its revenues in Slovakia in 2019 were almost 130 million €.

The example of cooperation between Johns Manville and IPESOFT shows the positive results of long-term cooperation between experts from different fields. Thanks to the expertise and courage to innovate on both sides, new system modules were continuously implemented, which gradually created a unified MES system.  

The MES focuses on the control layer located between the PLC/DCS and the ERP layer. For many managers, the implementation of an additional system into this layer may seem redundant. The PLC control layer has its SCADA display and many managers just need to see the economic indicators from the ERP system with data granularity at the level of changes, weeks, and months.

The retrospective reports of economic indicators significantly limit the potential for further process optimization. More experienced managers with knowledge of information services are aware of the potential of a single database of real-time data. Just ask yourself:

Is it possible to monitor the quality of a specific product in real-time via ERP economic indicators?

Large manufacturing companies have to deal with a number of complications and problems when planning and managing operations. The wide range of equipment used and the rotation of employees responsible for the input data together contribute to reduced data consistency. Based on the inconsistent data, it is then difficult to effectively plan and optimize production. František Režný, Control System Technician from Johns Manville, describes the situation as follows:

"Imagine that you have about 250 PLC processors in operation, of which there are 65 types from 18 manufacturers. You have approximately 200 production positions, where one production position has an average of 30 parameters. You solve the transition of production on a daily basis in about 20 production positions. You enter all parameters manually, via various terminals, and usually in several PLC systems. Well, don't make a mistake there and maintain the consistency of the entered parameters, all with today's fluctuation of the skilled workforce. It's almost impossible nowadays. "

It was the initial effort to make the most of the possibilities of information technology by unifying the consistency of data, together with the expertise of employees and the courage to innovate, the first impulses for the gradual building of the MES system.

System results

The implementation of various MES modules started a growing cycle of innovation and optimization. Ján Kalinay, Member of the Board of Johns Manville, summarized the benefits of the project as follows:

"There are types of projects for which it is not possible to clearly determine their contribution in advance, but it is certain that there will be ... and will be invaluable. The successful implementation of MES in a manufacturing plant is one of them. "

Developed in partnership with IPESOFT, MES has helped Johns Manville to make more informed decisions and bridge the manufacturing base and ERP system. More real-time information helps managers make better decisions, and an archive of historical data allows for detailed analysis.

"Recognizing the weaknesses of each process can lead to a one-time improvement. However, a full-area MES, with proper management, will ensure a spiraling, endless cycle of optimizations and help increase the company's performance” added Mr. Andrej Kalinay

The most beneficial functions of the MES system include a quality control system and real-time KPI evaluation. Setting up the system makes it possible to aggregate a large amount of acquired data into a relatively narrow number of KPIs monitoring the quality of products. Thanks to the system, employees can find out almost immediately that a problem has arisen and take appropriate steps to eliminate it.

In addition, it is possible to monitor the development of quality over time and identify the causes of change. Clear monitoring and evaluation of KPIs also motivate employees to work more efficiently and pay attention to the quality of production.

The implemented MES system

The gradual implementation of the MES system began with a relatively simple requirement. The company wanted to avoid errors that occurred while entering data. The company also wanted to unify the data and maintain its integrity. In this way, the data can be better used and the results are more beneficial. The implementation of the IPESOFT solution began with the D2000 platform. The platform made it possible to solve all the mentioned challenges that the company encountered and opened the door for building a comprehensive MES system.

František Režný described the D2000 platform from IPESOFT as follows:

"Due to its robustness, the D2000 was directly designated for this task, thanks to a robust real-time archive, with a wide range of communication support, both lower control levels (PLC, DCS) and higher control levels (ERP), connectivity and relational database support, an unrivaled advantage of the online configuration of a dynamic data model. The strongest advantage was the real flexible support of IPESOFT in the creation of applications, as the supplier is also the creator of the software tool. "

The experts from Johns Manville saw the potential and decided to build a unified information data platform that integrated data from PLCs and DCSs connected to the ERP system. This platform was the basis for the subsequent MES system.

A unified data platform with accurate data from various production areas in real-time has opened up a number of new possibilities for Johns Manville Slovakia. It allowed Johns Manville experts to use the data to better understand and analyze their industrial processes and to develop a truly comprehensive MES system. The collected data are aggregated into information and presented in many different forms.

The form of information presentation is defined on the basis of relevance and the degree of authorization of the employee. Presentation of information to authorized personnel supports the emergence of innovations and creativity of employees. Employees come up with their ideas and request additional information. This created a circle of innovation and optimization. A new way has been found to consolidate data into useful information.

Over time, information on the MES system from production, energy, planning, input and output quality control, as well as other departments, was collected. At this point, the humble idea really turned into a comprehensive MES system.

Over time, the company implemented more and more system modules:

  • Manufacturing management – real-time monitoring of the manufacturing process of fiberglass, downtime evidence.
  • Technology visualization – real-time visualization of manufacturing processes, real-time technology data gathering.
  • Manufacturing balance – the state and overview of manufacturing filtered by time and change. The manufacturing efficiency evaluation.  
  • Energy balance – The overview of technology element energy consumption.
  • Workforce balance – employee evidence by the individual technology equipment/failure rate/downtimes by employees/change/equipment.
  • Material balance – material stock monitoring, warehouse assignment, formula creation, material expenditure.
  • Operative maintenance – equipment failure evidence and visualization, sending reports for maintenance.
  • Operation support – the monitoring of equipment unrelated to the technological process.
  • Quality control and KPI evaluation – real time information about the quality of products

About IPESOFT

IPESOFT is a leading supplier of complex real-time software solutions. It specializes in solutions for energy, transport and industry. The company provides a unique combination of expertise form IT, industry and energy, thanks to its qualified personnel. IPESOFT MES system enables industry/manufacturing companies to smoothly connect the PLC/DCS and the ERP layers of IT infrastructure. Thanks to its expertise IPESOFT also adds modules dedicated to energy efficiency and monitoring to its MES systems.

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