Welcome to Data Driven Manufacturing!
Note: At the beginning of 2015, Eric Allen joined Ernst & Young LLP.
Data Driven Manufacturing is in the business of delivering breakthrough improvements to manufacturing sites through a variety of tools and approaches. With expertise in equipment installation and start-ups, data collection and analysis, control system programming and infrastructure, and world-class manufacturing system management, we have what it takes to solve difficult situations.
Led by Eric Allen, a 25 year veteran of Fortune 500 manufacturing operations, Data Driven Manufacturing has the experience required to get to the bottom of the tough issues that can plague a manufacturing plant.
Specialties and Capabilities
Data Collection and Analysis
There is a reason our company is named Data Driven Manufacturing. We specialize in finding the best ways to collect, store, report, analyze, and manage data regarding your operation. Whether you are just starting out, or already have an established data system that just isn’t doing what you want, we can help you take the right next steps.
Often, collecting the right data can be a real challenge. For many operations, managing and reducing production stops is the biggest opportunity for improvement. We can implement systems to count stops, time stops, assign faults to stops, and allow operators to add reasons for stops. We can help you count production and track the various streams of materials used throughout your process. We can time critical parts of your process or just capture how long different operations take. We can monitor process variables and setpoints for things like temperatures and pressures, to document how your process is being controlled. We’ll help you prioritize what data is needed for your factory.
We can help you determine what data is most important for your situation and in what form it should be captured. Then we’ll determine the best sensing, programming, communication, and capture technologies for your unique situation. For older, less automated factories, installing and communicating with a handful of sensors may be what is required. For factories with some automation, controls networking may be the biggest issue. For highly networked factories, organization, optimization and accuracy of data from a variety of sources may be the challenge. Whatever your state of affairs, we have the experience to move you to the next level.
We’ll help you store your manufacturing data in the system that is best for you. If it’s a packaged software system from GE, Rockwell, Wonderware, or another major vendor, we can configure it to work for you. We have extensive experience with the unique GE Proficy Historian and Plant Applications (Plant Apps) platform. Or if you are just starting and only want a small amount of data in a spreadsheet, we’ll show you the best way to do that. In any case, we’ll help you organize data for storage in ways that will make it understandable and useful both today and in the future.
You can collect and store lots of data, but without the right reports, the data isn’t much use. We’ll develop reports that give you the proper insight as to what is happening in your operation, so you can react and make things better. We’ll determine the right reports for the various levels of your organization, from the line operators to the maintenance and production managers, all the way to the plant manager and beyond.
Finally, without the right management strategies, all of the data in the world will not give you the benefits you need. We’ll train your organization on data, what it means, and how it can be helpful. We’ll show you the daily and longer term activities required to make data become the most powerful tool for maintaining and improving your factory’s results.
Equipment Installation and Start-ups
You may have the right staffing and skills to manage your day to day needs. But what do you do when that new project comes along that is bigger than your staff can handle? We can help at every stage of your project.
We can help at the front end of your project, helping you select the right equipment and the right layout, incorporating the best design for optimizing Overall Equipment Effectiveness, while balancing short-term capital and long-term expense for the lowest Life Cycle Cost. Should you install high speed equipment or several slower machines? Should you automate or use manual systems? We’ll help you work through the pros and cons of the different options.
We can help you prepare. If you have equipment on order, we can help you be ready for it to arrive. We’ll work through power requirements and how your equipment fits into your communication infrastructure. We can make sure the design of equipment meets your plant standards. We can help you develop appropriate vendor acceptance tests, and plan for the installation at your site. We can help your staff with training on the coming equipment.
During installation, we can work with your construction personnel to make sure the equipment is installed correctly, as well as resolve last minute problems. We can check your equipment and get it set up to communicate and collect data on production from day one of operation. If a start-up doesn’t perform the way you planned, we can help you analyze where the issues are and develop a plan for improvement, whether it requires a technical intervention, training intervention, or even a culture change.
After start-ups, sometimes you may need help to get a new operation transitioned to normal day to day production. We can help develop maintenance plans and troubleshooting techniques for your staff to manage. We can develop automated reports to help your organization react before problems get out of hand.
Problem Solving and Performance Improvement
Let’s face it. Sometimes you have issues you can’t resolve. Maybe you don’t have the time to penetrate problems to fully understand them, maybe you don’t have resources with the right skills, or maybe you need an organized process to sort through the noise and get down to the root cause. We have experience with numerous problem solving methodologies, combined with the technical expertise to deeply penetrate your most complex systems, and it goes without saying that we are all about getting the right data to prove what the problem is.
While most situations are easily corrected once the root cause of the problem is known, sometimes it takes a creative technical solution to make the breakthrough improvement desired. When problems are identified, we have the skills to implement the solutions.
Control System Programming and Infrastructure
We have the skills and experience to troubleshoot, improve, or replace your control systems. From basic relay logic and Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) to fault tolerant virtualized servers running multiple data collection systems and Human Machine Interfaces (HMIs), we make it work.
With extensive programming experience, particularly on the various Rockwell/Allen-Bradley PLC line-up and Siemens S7 line, we can get your production running the way it was intended. Our experience in packaged HMIs, as well as PC-based HMIs, including Wonderware and Allen-Bradley, allows you to visualize what your equipment is doing and easily troubleshoot problems. Expertise in networking legacy systems, as well as modern Ethernet networks, allows us to get communications flowing. And finally, server room expertise with databases, terminal servers, and virtualization allows us to get the most of the hardware and software you have available.
World Class Manufacturing System Management
To compete in today’s marketplace, a factory has to have a workforce that can make the best of the equipment and facilities available to them. We can help train and lead your organization to implement the current state of the art management systems. We can set up base systems with Statistical Process Control, or Total Productive Maintenance. We can help you streamline further with Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma programs. However, we don’t just make checklists of things for you to do with these programs, we help your organization internalize why they are needed so that the changes required will actually make sense and take hold.
Let Data Driven Manufacturing be the driver of change to your factory. Contact us to learn more about how we can help your particular situation.
Take a look at the Info page to learn about the concept of “Data Driven Manufacturing.” View Eric’s resume on the Resume tab. Look through the posts to find out some of the approaches that have been used to expose hidden data in factories.
To reach Data Driven Manufacturing, send an email to Eric@DataDrivenManufacturing.com -or- call 913-558-0004.