With enthusiasm Pieter Vermeulen of Scholle Packaging in Breda demonstrates the recently upgraded Automatic Bagmaking Machine (ABM). All the control hardware and – software of this machine has been completely renewed in a combined effort of Scholle Engineering staff and Eltra Engineering. The machines are installed in a clean and tidy plant, where the company’s commitment to Japanese style productivity improvement can be recognized everywhere. The machines Overall Equipment Efficiency (OEE) is displayed on LCD screens on various walls and following the rules of Total Productive Maintenance (TPM), production and maintenance staff are continuously striving to improve this. Much attention is given to personnel motivation, not in the least visible in the new, spacious canteen facility where a glass cabinet illustrates the topics of various initiatives undertaken by the employees.
Increase of Productivity
In its pursuit for further increasing the ABM’s productivity, Vermeulen and his team identified the remote I/O based machine control as a main source of trouble. Caused by inherent machine vibrations, frequently machine disturbances happened due to loose wire contacts, resulting in low equipment reliability. It was decided to renew all electrical – and control hardware and change the design to a centralised control.
Where Scholle wanted to keep programming of the machine software on their standardised Alan Bradley PLC’s in-house, all hardware related matters were realised by Eltra. This included designing and building the main control panel, 2 HMI panels at the operator position and all other local panels on the machine. Eltra also took care of the wiring and connection of all instrumentation, drives and actuators.
The Eltra scope package was not selected in this way from start of the project. For the first 2 of the in total 4 identical ABM’s, only the main control panel and both HMI panels were designed and delivered by Eltra. Vermeulen organised the cabling and modification works on the machines making use of temporary staff under the direct supervision of his own maintenance staff. The quality of cabling installation was however not satisfactory and the necessary time to complete all the works was much longer than planned. Having gained this experience a different approach was decided for the remaining last two ABM’s. The Eltra scope was extended to include all other installation work including full functional testing of all I/O. According to Vermeulen this gave several important advantages: first of all the modifications were finished within the planned time. The quality of the works improved considerably and after completion, a fully as-built drawing package was supplied with the machine. During the work the Eltra engineers worked independently with minimal or no support necessary from his own staff. All parts needed for the modifications were easily and quickly supplied. This allowed the Scholle engineers to focus on the commissioning and putting into operation of the machines.
Project delivery on time with excellent quality
When asked about his evaluation after this project experience with Eltra, Vermeulen shows himself a satisfied customer. Works are every time delivered quicker than planned and with high quality. Additional requests are swiftly translated into design modifications and installed. All during the project the way of communication is pleasant, smooth and cooperative. This leads to his final conclusion: “An ‘A’ with a big plus”!