Sticky problems: ASP can solve them
Located in Middletown, NY, tesa tape is a global leader in the manufacture and supply of pressure-sensitive adhesive tapes for industrial and commercial applications. The company was challenged to keep costs down while maintaining a high level of service delivery to customers.
The reliability of tesa’s process line equipment needed to improve, which made its objectives difficult to achieve. Some of the challenges were:
It could not detect process line problems in real-time
It was difficult to track and maintain up-to-date process line settings and machine performance history
It was unable to spot waning functionality in advance of equipment failure
It needed a safe, centralized and universally accessible place to store its most recent process line settings.
“When manufacturing cost-competitive products like masking tape, eliminating pennies-per-roll in production costs can make all the difference in terms of profitability,” said Michael Marvin, tesa tape’s plant manager.
Working with ei3Corp., a provider of hosted applications that specialize in maximizing manufacturing productivity, tesa tape upgraded its process line equipment, and deployed a system to monitor, report, alert, and store data from key process line metrics. The upgrades also included ei3’s 24-hr, 365-day online engineering expertise.
The first step in the optimization process was to modernize tesa’s process lines with Allen-Bradley PLC-5 controls and digital drives. After the equipment was installed, ei3established an automated connection to monitor more than 100 process line metrics, giving tesa maximum visibility into its machinery components and process controls. Viewed from a PC or wireless device, ei3’s SiteWatch productivity tool displays real-time parameters such as tension point, line speed, waste, and temperature. These parameters can be viewed from anywhere in the world. Since ei3is an application service provider (ASP), its SiteWatch service monitors key process parameters from the moment raw products are introduced to the line. As the raw paper substrate moves down the line to be coated and later dried, SiteWatch monitors tension points, line speed, temperature, and thickness to ensure that product is meeting tesa’s stringent quality specifications.
ei3’s services also include SiteTeam, which provides process-and-controls-specific engineering expertise. Since its implementation at tesa tape, SiteTeam has eliminated 2 hr of downtime per day.
By using ei3’s SiteSave service to store its system software and machine settings, tesa engineers are able to make and save setting adjustments to a single data location in real-time to ensure that the process line is running the most current settings.
As a result of these optimizations, championed by Marvin, tesa not only increased its manufacturing productivity, reliability, profitability, and efficiency, but also reduced downtime and improved environmental compliance.
“SiteSave not only introduces an efficient means of keeping software and machine settings up to date, but it also ensures that these data are backed up offsite to protect against electrical failure, disaster, or system lockup,” said Marvin.
Because tesa is required to recover 80% of the toluene it produces, ei3’s monitoring and recording services accurately document reuse of this key masking tape ingredient in a central data location. Its services have significantly shortened what was previously a very labor-intensive process.
“Modernization of our process line equipment and deployment of these productivity tools have enabled us to dramatically improve every aspect of our masking tape manufacturing process,” said Marvin. “We have reduced scrap materials and downtime, improved safety and compliance monitoring, and established just-in-time service delivery.
“ei3provides real-time monitoring, data analysis and problem-resolution of virtually every process parameter, from the application of our sophisticated coating technology to the precise climate created in the process line’s inert ovens. Close monitoring of setpoints not only allows our engineers to perform preventive maintenance to avoid failure, but it also allows them to keep the line running at optimum capacity.”
These benefits enabled tesa to achieve 97% service delivery, while reaping $1 million/yr in cost savings from reduced downtime alone.