Problem

The company is a wood product manufacturer creating OSB boards with a very large press.

OSB presses create a high amount of strain during normal operations. When the press regularly exceeds its endurance limit, the components break down more quickly causing unplanned downtime and maintenance costs.

The downtime was very expensive, into 7-figures.

Solution

An assessment of the situation and the equipment was performed. Recommendations on a solution were provided.

PTC ThingWorx IoT software platform and Kepware industrial connectivity were selected for implementing the solution, along with installing strain gauges, an Allen Bradley PLC. The PLC was connected via secure cellular modem to ThingWorx in the cloud, avoiding security issues with the manufacturer’s OT and IT networks.

A working solution was implemented within under 4 weeks.

Result

The very expensive downtime has been reduced, saving the manufacturer significant money. Payback timing was estimated to be within 2-3 months of implementation.

The solution is now extendible, where new sets of data and additional valuable information for operators and management can be added. The solution can also be added to additional presses and plants with the same setup of strain gauges and PLC.

An additional benefit has been the reduced time and expense of manual maintenance inspections previous performed because the metal components in question were difficult to access for visual inspection.