From Shop Floor to Top Floor – Success is within reach

Imagine connecting real-time information about any machine on your shop floor to your management team so that you can improve your manufacturing capacity by 10% to 50%.  Truth is, you can do this now.  Many manufacturing companies today think that their businesses are doing just fine and that they have no worries.  However, in reality, they have little or no data about how the inner workings of their machines are truly functioning.  Once an objective, automated, evidence-based data collection system is used to assess the nuts and bolts of the manufacturing process, it is often found that efficiency in many areas can be greatly improved.

Memex Automation’s MERLIN OEE system is an automated MES solution with the mantra “Shop Floor to Top Floor”, and delivers exactly that.  Its combination of hardware and software integrates everything from any machine (including work centers) on the manufacturing floor all the way up to the head office, both vertically and horizontally.  Horizontal integration means that shop floor operations are linked and communicate with each other, optimizing production.  Vertical integration means that shop floor information is effortlessly transferred to head office and vice versa.  The transfer of production orders from the ERP system to the machine is streamlined and automated via an “electronic traveler” that sends results, including part counts, run times, down times with reason codes, and quality information, back to the ERP system.  Everyone from the machine operator to the company president has totally accurate data at their fingertips.

A key feature of MERLIN is that it allows companies to monitor their productivity in real-time.  Dashboard metrics provide instant visibility and machine alerts for the entire shop floor to see, so that problems such as machine breakdown or parts rejection can be dealt with immediately.  By accelerating response time, MERLIN increases a manufacturing plant’s productivity and thus profitability.  For example, implementation of MERLIN on 30 machines at Rose Integration, a precision machining company, increased OEE across the shop floor from 40% to 82% in 18 months.  Similarly, aerospace company Magellan increased their machining time by 100 hours per month per machine once MERLIN was implemented.

MERLIN contains an integrated Microsoft Dynamics AX Connector module and advanced functionality that allows production order information to flow seamlessly from Microsoft Dynamics AX through to the machine on the shop floor, and then sends results back to Dynamics AX in real-time.  The system automatically prioritizes transactions by date and time stamp, minimizing errors associated with manual input.  Accuracy of inventory, parts counts, and job costing data are all improved.

Success in a manufacturing plant is all about effective communications between the shop floor and the top floor, and this is where MERLIN outclasses any other manufacturing solution currently available.  By monitoring all of a plant’s machines, no matter what age or make, MERLIN boosts productivity and profitability.  Even better, MERLIN is affordable, so that a payback to the bottom line is achieved in just a few months.  In short, MERLIN is a time-saving, money-saving solution that starts with an understanding of what is happening at the machine level, and ends with efficient transfer of that information to Microsoft Dynamics AX.

John Rattray, V.P., Memex Automation Inc., jrattray@memex.ca

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