Improving a company’s production and productivity

OTECI Auvergne Rhône-Alpes, a company driven commitment 

Analysing the production and implementation of improvement tools in the field of production and productivity.

Identifying  productivity issues in an SME

Creation of a production unit

A major foreign company in the pharmaceuticals and cosmetics sectors intended to set up a new production unit abroad to export its productions to Europe and the United States.

Required skills: General management, project management and knowledge of the local environment, Industrial Engineering and
expertise in the approval procedure requirements of chemical and pharmaceutical products in Europe and the United states.

Oteci had experts in these fields of competence.  So we were glad to provide them with our experts in order to monitor the on-site or remote  project follow-up.

Our experts:

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Aide à l’analyse sécurité d’une machine en vue de la norme CE

A  17 employees  SME specialised in automated machinery production needed to make preparations regarding the European Conformity standard (E.C.) which is mandatory for any piece of equipment regardless of its size and function. The mission was carried out by our expert over 3 days. The first day was dedicated to studying the machinery safety  in order to set up preventive actions (alarms, stops on crossing the safety light curtains, on defects, etc…) in order to protect the piece of equipment and more importantly the staff working on it.

Multiple tasks were carried out on the next couple days to prepare the delivery to the customer :
– conducting test runs of the machinery
– setting-up the loading and unloading of the 8 semi-trailers needed for the delivery
– designing both the mechanical reassembly plan and the sensors and the engine wiring
– planning the necessary tests before the beginning of production scheduled for early 2016.

Once the piece of equipment is assembled on the customer’s premises, the Association Alsacienne des Propriétaires d’Appareils à Vapeur (A.P.A.V.E.) will be able to perform a review to confirm its compliance with the E.C. standard before the commissioning.

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Reliability analysis

A leading chemicals company suggested and conducted a reliability analysis.
Our member of OTECI Rhône-Alpes has been contacted by the process supervisor.
An analysis group was set up to implement the Failure Mode, Effects and Criticality Analysis methodological tool (F.M.E.C.A. ) with an economic, non-academic and deliberately macroscopic  vision.
It meant, in the shortest analysing time, identifying, quantifying and ranking in order of priority the 20% of dysfunctions (technical, organisational, human …) likely to generate 80% of the production shortfalls.
Quantification results are directly correlated with production losses expressed in physical quantities (hours of halted production, unproduced   tons, number of lost batches, Euros …) and not in Risk Priority Number (R.P.N.) replacing “Criticality” in the last standard on the subject which is an abstract number, correlated with nothing, like in academic F.M.E.C.A.
Altogether, the group has worked quite successfully. After adapting the FMECA methodological tool to the situation, the OTECI member could bring forward technical or methodological recommendations based on his own experience.
He was actually perceived as a field expert and not as a consultant who applies an abstract method. This has greatly facilitated the team cohesion and  his recommendations were easily accepted.

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Tightness loss of a reactor in a chemical plant

An OTECI member was contacted to help solve a tightness problem in the agitation system of a chemical plant reactor.
Indeed, the service life of the tightness has gone down from 6 months to 1 month with heavy production losses and risks for staff safety.
The analysis made by our OTECI  volunteer expert  showed that the problem  came from the mechanical design of the agitation assembling which generated cyclic stresses in the whole mechanical unit, with the observed disorders: Wear of bearing, fatigue failure of fasteners, loose parts in assemblies.
The suggested solution consisted in eliminating cyclic stresses by a different assembling method which will tolerate a certain amount of mechanical defects in the system.
The objective of this change is to exceed a one-year average Mean Time Between Failures (M.T.B.F.).

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Following production problems, and to identify productivity issues in its organic production plant: vegetables, fruits, ready-cooked dishes, packed in jars, the General Management asked  the assistance of an OTECI member.
The company had invested several million Euros to modernise buildings, equipment and processes, and had failed to meet the expected competitiveness objectives.

The action of our expert member in food production focused on the following points :

1. He made a diagnosis on the issues concerning each item determining cost prices: direct costs, materials, manpower, energy and fixed costs.

2. He analysed the organisation, the management method and suggested  how to make it more motivating and open to the staff participation.

3. He made recommendations to build up into action plans with the factory management

4. He recommended to strengthen the team through the recruitment of both a production and a supply chain manager.

The results are likely to have a medium term  confirmation, but the state of mind has already shifted. Multi disciplinary working groups have set to work, and productivity  improvements  will, no doubt, be the crowning point of this action.

National Association of Food Industries

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18 months later the assistance provided by OTECI to an SME is confirmed by the results

In May 2013, in order to improve the performance of a pharmaceutical production workshop at the Péage de Roussillon site, a multidisciplinary work group was set up with the support of an OTECI member.
Quick recommendations were expected, so we had to go down to the essential points.
In other words, we had to identify the 20% of malfunctions or failures that could generate 80% of losses. The analysis were conducted according to the Failure Mode, Effects and Criticality Analysis standard methodology (F.M.E.C.A.), (see document: Macro-FMECA_Extracts_2013-10v3) with a deliberately “macro” approach and a rating system directly expressing the criticality of failures in standard hours of production lost.
The whole work consisted  in 6 meetings of about 3 hours. The recommendations focused on the preventive maintenance plan and  spare parts,  in addition some relatively inexpensive design changes.
How do things stand 18 months later , after implementing 60% of the recommendations?
increase of the standard production volume, equivalent to one month of production with the former system.
– several months of unreached  production operation at the end of 2014,
Savings of 30,000 Euros per year on maintenance expenses
– Incidentally some identified failures occurred before the recommendations could be implemented, including a level measurement which caused a one week halt in the production.
Following these results, the next year, the workshop decided to continue the implementation of the recommendations of the working group.
In the same spirit, an analysis has just started in another workshop. But this time,  the main point consists in training a technician of the company , so as to be able to use  the “Macro-F.M.E.C.A.” tool , in a process of continuous improvement

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OTECI helps an SME specialised in electromagnetic fields measurements

This Start-up enquired about miniaturised sensors that had manufacturing issues and a risk of premature aging. Indeed they required a gluing product adapted to its components and to the environmental constraints of use (atmosphere, temperature, humidity) which were often harsh.
After analysing the issue  and establishing precise specifications, the OTECI representative suggested a targeted selection of coating-bonding products to suit this specific purpose, its manufacturing and its environmental constraints ; he also gave the corresponding orientations to the implementation process. Among the tested products, one of them matches perfectly the defined target.
It is currently in use; this product being considered as a reliable one, the first sales have started quickly.
The project was successfully completed in 6 months with 3 work meetings and email exchanges, following the search for products based on the SME,s specifications available via the net and the speaker’s network.
Quite an example of help brought by OTECI to an SMBE!

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Purchase of Art and Photos: OTECI AURA – Copyright photo (s): OTECI AURA