By Deborah Bacal, Proactive Investors, Sept 4, 2014.
Memex Automation’s (CVE:OEE) MERLIN system designed to improve manufacturing productivity has again proven its effectiveness, according to an article published earlier this week in Michigan’s Assembly Magazine.
The article, which profiles agricultural machine maker Vermeer Corp, discussed the company’s efforts to accurately measure worker productivity, machine utilization and throughput.
“Vermeer needed a measuring system that groups operations into more logical cells to reduce redundancy and improve work flow. The company also wanted a system that is built on a scalable database-driven platform,” the article read.
In late 2012, Vermeer decided its best option was Memex’s Merlin system, which allows manufacturing companies to measure overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) in real-time, enterprise-wide. It monitors production and capacity utilization on the shop floor, improving profitability, reducing waste and ensuring compliance with regulations.
The tool enables customers to address production bottlenecks as they happen, converting idle time back into production and ultimately improving throughput and increasing income from plant operations.
Over the past 18 months, Vermeer said the Memex system has increased machine utilization by 50 percent and reduced setup time by 60 minutes per shift. Equally important, the company has verifiable data that eliminate the guesswork from managers’ decisions regarding utilization and capital expenditure, Assembly Magazine wrote.
“Machine operators’ initial resistance to Merlin was soon replaced by the realization that the system is easy to operate and makes their job easier by collecting data automatically,” the article read.
“Each monitored machine also features an audible alert that prompts the operator to action. Operators especially like that they can send an automated email, via the HMI, to immediately contact the local administrator whenever any problem arises with Merlin.”
Before Merlin, Vermeer’s facilities relied solely on kanban boards to track parts machining and product assembly. No facility had a system in place to quantitatively track worker or equipment efficiency.
The Merlin system is made up of a software program and a machine interface that provides automated data collection and also includes a handheld HMI for downtime recording and a real time key performance indicator screen.
The company’s product was also recently described in a case study by Mazak, which said that Merlin-related efforts to reduce downtime so far yielded a 42 percent improvement in utilization for the monitored machines. In addition, Mazak also reduced operator downtime by 100 hours per month, while 400 hours per month of previously outsourced work was returned to the company.
In addition, Rose Integration, based in Carlton Place, Ontario, was able to generate an increase in OEE of 105 percent in one year using Merlin, while Kitchener, Ontario-based Magellan Aerospace went from a 36.9 percent OEE rating to an 85 percent rating, saving the company from costs of expanding to a fourth machine.
Last month, Memex closed the second and last tranche of its private placement announced in June, raising a total of $2 million from the oversubscribed offering.
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