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OEE and its place in Industry 4.0

I think we can make the assumption that OEE is a fairly well-established manufacturing best practise in most manufacturing environments.
OEE and its place in Industry 4.0

From highly discrete operations through to continuous processes, OEE has put in an appearance as part of the plant manager’s toolkit to improve production, minimise waste and embed a systematic approach for maintaining plant equipment.

We now have Industry 4.0 and the big push for digitization, but what impact do these new philosophies in operations and data management have on our tried and tested best practises? Do they necessitate a rethink of our approach to OEE?

Industry 4.0 and digitization places a big emphasis on how the business collects, contextualises and integrates data streams, and focuses on the collection of relevant data points (note I did not use the blanket statement of all), and then using the data to generate useful production information and insights.

So, from an OEE perspective, this requires the business to review how and when information is collected within operations to provide the information required to calculate the OEE. It does not change the process however, as the definition and application is clear and well defined. To put it more simply, it provides Operations the opportunity to improve the quality of the OEE calculations, as data points are more readily available at higher sampling rates and the underlying quality of the data coming through is improved.

For businesses that have not yet embarked on formalising and standardising OEE within their operations, the arrival of digitization and Industry 4.0 and the associated technology, provides an easier pathway or lower barrier of entry to get started. The standards in place for defining control systems, access to information via IIOT and smart sensors, and the advent of cloud solutions that can be used in the operations sphere, all provide cost effective options to get any OEE initiative off the ground for both small and large operations.

As a case in point, using solutions such as Aveva’s InTouch Edge for an on-site or OEM based solution, or the cloud solution such as InSight, allows the business to securely connect plant information and easily deploy and share information that already provide OEE templates.

As a general note of caution, when looking at any new software or operational functionality, always take the time to evaluate where it would fit into your overall systems architecture and how it would integrate with other systems. If possible, or available, always ensure that any new systems introduced, adhere to your MES & IT roadmaps, and can be supported via your standard systems and procedures.

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