Sustainability is about meeting the needs of today, without adversely impacting the needs of tomorrow. Sustainability in discrete manufacturing is achieved with new or improved technologies alongside sustainable business philosophies and models.

Sustainability is not just about production efficiencies, minimising waste and maximising resources.

A well-run digital manufacturing floor helps manufacturers become more sustainable by enabling faster access to better quality information for informed decision making.

Aspect Productivity Technology Ltd is an Auckland based SaaS software company. Their product AspectPL is an MES (Manufacturing Execution System) specifically designed for plastics and packaging manufacturers.

AspectPL customers gain the practical benefits of having digital data available on their manufacturing floor. They also use data analysis and insights to achieve their sustainability philosophies.

Bonson Packaging’s Sustainability Philosophy

Sustainability is an important message at Bonson Packaging in Auckland. They support a circular economy and recyclable, bio-degradable and compostable products.

Bonson promotes a reduce, reuse, recycle and recover philosophy and applies these practices to operating their business.

An example of this is Bonson using data from the AspectPL MES software to monitor the power usage of their machines. Machine output might be the same but power usage can fluctuate. Data from AspectPL helps Bonson to reduce their electricity costs and carbon footprint.

Bonson reports that the data supplied by AspectPL has helped achieve a 5% machine power usage reduction.

 Cromford Pipe machine utilisation

 Luke Sutherland from Australian manufacturer Cromford Pipe tells us how they have improved their machine utilisation or Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) by having easy access to manufacturing data.

‘’Previously calculating OEE was a significant task. It took a week and a half to download and analyse a month’s production – now with AspectPL it takes 20 seconds. Because analysing OEE was so difficult, it wasn’t our focus – we operated at about 50% which was very poor. Now it’s easy to calculate, we constantly review it and our OEE is between 70 and 80%. This means we are producing more product, to plan with less resource. AspectPL MES software has been an absolutely huge positive change for our business.’’

Proficiency allows time for efficiency

Cormack Packaging has saved so many man hours since they implemented an MES, they now have time to concentrate on optimising production. Production Manager Shaun Wallace explains.

“Previously our planning information wasn’t totally accurate. We’d count boxes off the machine. The machine makes the product, we pack boxes, we count the number of boxes made. With AspectPL we have full visibility and real time reporting on what’s actually happening. You can easily move jobs from machine to machine and look at ‘what if’ scenarios. The AspectPL scheduler has also saved us 2 days per month planning 250 work orders.

Now I can work with the guys on the factory floor to optimize production. Currently we are working on making our changeovers faster, improving our line start and line clearance downtimes and reducing waste. With AspectPL we can see these stats at the push of a button – and in real time.’’

Hansen loves transparency

Based in Whangarei, Hansen Products makes plastic fittings and valves. Jon Kirby, Hansen’s Manufacturing Manager explains how the visibility of having a digital manufacturing floor has been beneficial.

“The biggest benefit is that AspectPL has increased the transparency of our manufacturing processes. Because of this, we are learning about the constraints of our current manufacturing processes. Once you understand your constraints you can find ways to solve, eliminate or plan around them.

Accessing the data in the factory and the planning office is fantastic. We are now able to plan what we are physically able to do. Before the plan was theoretical.”

Monitoring and measuring manufacturing processes not only reduces waste and improves productivity. It also helps businesses pursue sustainability through better quality information that supports long term business viability.