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Boosting Efficiency with IoT: Acatec's Journey with MERLIN

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 Boosting Efficiency with IoT: Acatec's Journey with MERLIN - IoT ONE Case Study
Technology Category
  • Application Infrastructure & Middleware - Middleware, SDKs & Libraries
  • Functional Applications - Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES)
Applicable Industries
  • Aerospace
  • Equipment & Machinery
Applicable Functions
  • Human Resources
  • Quality Assurance
Use Cases
  • Additive Manufacturing
  • Manufacturing Process Simulation
Services
  • System Integration
The Challenge
Acatec S.L., a leading manufacturer of precision aeronautical components based in Spain, was striving to reduce costs and exceed client expectations by embracing new technologies. The company decided to overhaul its entire process, from the purchase of raw materials to the final delivery of the product. However, Acatec had historically outsourced all macro engineering and IT/Technology projects to external professional service companies. This resulted in a lack of in-house engineering and technology personnel to drive productivity improvement initiatives. To improve productivity, Acatec decided to implement time-saving, resource-light systems aimed at assisting forward planning of work, gauging capacities, and managing demanding delivery schedules. This included the implementation of management systems for warehouses and computerized control productions. However, the company soon realized that the first step towards increased productivity and efficiency was measuring the actual events.
The Customer
About The Customer
Acatec S.L. is a leading manufacturer of precision aeronautical components based in Spain. The company is known for its innovative production process, which has propelled it into the vanguard of the European aeronautical manufacturing industry. As a quality-focused enterprise, Acatec is a high-demand, low-cost provider to renowned aerospace companies such as Airbus, EADS Casa, and Composite International SA. The company is committed to reducing costs and outperforming client expectations by embracing new technologies. This commitment led them to overhaul their entire process, from the purchase of raw materials to the final delivery of the product.
The Solution
The lean team at Acatec understood the value of consistent, reliable data in the form of metrics, such as Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE). They assessed that Acatec needed a technology vendor that would provide a turnkey system and installation of the equipment, along with interpretation of the data, making adoption relatively simple in regards to Continuous Improvement. After a thorough needs assessment and selection process, Acatec decided on deploying the MERLIN communications platform utilizing the MERLIN Ax9150 Universal Machine Interface MTConnect adapter for automated data collection and Handheld HMI for downtime recording. The company started a pilot project at its Madrid plant with two machines in May of 2011. The results were so compelling that management deemed it a success within four weeks and proceeded to roll out a full plant-wide installation throughout the Madrid facility. Acatec installed the MERLIN software and hardware adapters in August 2011 and then gathered benchmark data in September 2011. The manufacturing team then made procedural changes to their processes through October to December 2011.
Operational Impact
  • The deployment of the MERLIN system within 90 days of selection led to significant operational improvements. The real-time data provided by MERLIN was integrated with ERP connectivity, providing automated loading of schedules critical to job prioritization. It also enabled the loading of work orders, operator lists, and product standards, streamlining job validation. Acatec began creating a value stream process to enhance efficiency and ensure timely movement of inventory through the plant, preventing a lack of material for machines. The visibility of production metrics increased general awareness, reaction, and efficiency from all staff. Advanced reporting with text and email alerts to key management also became possible. The company was able to identify bottlenecks in the production process, making planning easier with graphical tools and real-time visibility of production. Alerts for machine-related events both automatically from the machine and operator gave faster response. The company also achieved full traceability of all machine events for aerospace industry compliance, giving Acatec a competitive edge in line with their mission statement.
Quantitative Benefit
  • Increase in OEE of over 11% in just 3 months
  • Eliminated the requirement for overtime associated with critical machines
  • Increased gross revenue and bottom line profit, beyond their initial projections

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