Food & Beverage, CPG
Predix Manufacturing Execution Systems
Toray Industries, headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, manufactures high-performance films, synthetic fibers and textiles, carbon fibers, plastics, chemicals, and pharmaceuticals. The organization operates 254 facilities in 26 countries with more than 45,000 employees—with annual sales exceeding $19 billion.
Keeping it fresh
The diversification of today’s “food-on-demand” culture has led to an increasing need for keeping food products safe and fresh for extended periods of time—all while preserving its original flavor. Consumers expect their food products to maintain a relatively long shelf life without compromising quality. And as a result of this growing demand, Toray Plastics was faced with producing better food packaging film than ever before.
Food packaging film is composed of very unique components for protecting against oxygen and water, and producing these films is no easy task. It requires very tight production processes that are examined with the utmost scrutiny to ensure the highest quality. So, in order for Toray Plastics to meet its vision to remove waste across the organization and remain competitive, the company implemented a new integrated system that allowed it to monitor its film manufacturing much more closely to ensure exact quality standards in every unit.
Maximizing operational performance
Don M. Cormier, Vice President of U.S. Information Systems and Quality Assurance for Toray Plastics, knew that the company needed to change its processes in order to remain an industry leader. By embracing its bi-modal approach—a combination of standard operations mixed with agile and cutting-edge techniques—Cormier geared up to accelerate innovative “mode two” through digitization. He sat down with his fellow executives sat down to establish a holistic vision for Toray Plastics. The answer was simple—to drive extreme efficiencies out of its assets by becoming standardized, simplified, integrated, and secure. In order to make this vision possible, Cormier teamed up with various business groups within the company to conduct a robust discovery. This discovery phase was intended to reveal current hurdles each business group was facing, and to identify the gaps in information or operational siloes that caused these problems to exist.
Once these problems were identified, the hunt for the right data-driven solution began. Cormier and his team developed a criteria list to evaluate various commercial off-the-shelf MES solutions. And after performing various in-depth assessments amongst 20 vendors, GE Digital and AutomaTech, a GE Digital partner, were chosen as the right organizations to meet Toray Plastics’ needs—with Manveco providing support and implementation services during this transition.
Enabling Data-Driven Manufacturing
Keeping high-quality film production at the heart of its operations, Toray Plastics started leveraging Plant Applications from GE Digital, part of the Brilliant Manufacturing suite. As an on-premises solution, Plant Applications from GE Digital allowed Toray Plastics to collect real-time data directly from edge devices and assets for critical key performance indicators, as well as perform batch analyses to optimize operations. Plant Applications enabled operators to oversee manufacturing on a more granular level and reduce the production of defective film (first pass quality), which improved overall equipment effectiveness, quality, and reduced material waste, thus helping to increase efficiencies and decrease costs.
Toray Plastics also tightly integrated Plant Applications with its SAP software, which made it extremely cost effective and scalable globally. The two systems continuously pass about 30,000 pieces of information a day between one another—covering everything from inventory status to bill of materials, customer specifications, and production order status. This alignment between GE Digital and SAP allowed both systems to utilize the same number of assets and labor while significantly increasing productivity.
In addition, Toray Plastics began managing production with a “by-the-numbers” philosophy. This philosophy focuses on having accurate and visible measurements across operations to mitigate issues and allow better decision-making
By implementing other edge solutions—such as iFIX from GE Digital and Workflow from GE Digital, part of the HMI/SCADA suite—Toray Plastics utilized data-driven information to gain visibility into potential production interruptions and downtime. Toray Plastics also leveraged Historian from GE Digital to optimize asset performance through its data archive and reporting capabilities. The company further developed its by-the-numbers approach by creating a downtime dashboard—which tracked each line by shift, downtime percentage, and cost of downtime—to better align plant floor metrics to executive level goals.
And it paid off. Toray Plastics yielded some big results, such as significant savings in film recovery, increase in film productivity, and improving uptime. Toray Plastics also drove significant quality improvements by decreasing the amount of time for product traceability as well as lowering film defective rate.
By utilizing an edge-to-cloud solution with GE’s Predix Platform, Toray Plastics will be able to collect condition, material, quality, and machine processing data in real-time. Capturing this data will create a high probability for correlating asset, process, and product information through machine learning and algorithms—and successful execution could reap hundreds of thousands of dollars more per year to the Torayfan division’s bottom line.