Buhler has developed a comprehensive system to help manufacturers manage the life cycle of their plant. The company argues that in the long term, good planning and predictive maintenance is much less expensive than poorly thought-out acquisitions and unplanned maintenance.
Buhler's Global programme helps customers decide which production system to invest in, how implement it and how to maintain and enhance its value. Buhler says that once a customer has decided to spendmoney on a new machine or production system, the programme can help them to develop different plant concepts to show the advantages and disadvantages of the various machines.
This will allow the manufacturer to select the system best suited to their specific purposes.
Likewise, if a process is to be changed, Buhler can establishfeasibility studies that show the benefits and drawbacks of the different casting processes, supplying a valuable basis for evaluation of the most economic process. Each stage in the process is analysed.
Once the decision to acquire equipment has been made, Buhler can continue to support the manufacturer through the implementation phase. The company says that it is capable of developing and designing hardware using state-of-the-art technology at two design centres in Uzwil, Switzerland, and Laichingen, Germany.
The Global programme also contains a training component. Machine maintenance and set-up crews can receive instruction onhydraulics, electrical engineering, and set-up, and operation and maintenance of the peripheral equipment can be undertaken.
Experienced Buhler service engineers will install and start up the new manufacturing systems. Every start-up is completed by CE certification by Buhler.
The next stage of the programme is ensuring that the newly installed plant is maintained. Cost pressures often force manufacturers to decide whether to invest in new systems or to update existingones, and here Buhler can offer assistance. Experienced specialists can evaluate the current level of automation of a system and then develop suggestions on how to raise the efficiency of the existing machines and systems.
Production process and workflows of the existing system are examined to see where there is potential for improvement. In the event of a production bottleneck, Buhler can even offer to cast production lots in its technology centers on behalf of its customers.
Plant efficiency is more important than ever. Manufacturers are beginning to feel the squeeze from retailers, and as a result, there are a number of lifecycle management programmes currently on the market. Another recently launched programme designed to help plant managers get the most from their equipment comes from Endress+Hauser.
This programme comes in three different components, which support the complete life cycle management of measuring equipment from the planning stage, throughout commissioning, right through to periodic and predictive maintenance. The three components are a selection and sizing tool, a complete software package for verification, configuration and diagnostics and a checking and simulation tool.
The selection and sizing tool, called Applicator, provides an easy to operate selection aid that enables the user to find the best suitable measuring instrument for any type of application, simply by providing rough process details. From this information, the correct instrument is selected and the appropriate technical information is supplied.
The verification software, FieldTool, considers the configuration structure of the measuring instrument and works with known navigation aids such as MS Explorer. Working with FieldTool requires a service interface (FXA193), with which a PC is connected to the service port in the terminal chamber of the measuring instrument.
And finally, the checking and simulation tool, FieldCheck, is a validation tool for the checking of the entire measuring point. With the support of intelligent check routines in the transmitter, it is also possible to perform a verification of the sensor.
Endress+Hauser claims that of the maintenance work carried out today, 30 per cent is unnecessary preventative maintenance. In addition to this, more than 60 per cent is corrective maintenance work, i.e. after the problem occurs and therefore not planned.