January 27, 2021

User Story – Autins turned their challenge into success by quickly adopting an IoT solution

Autins is a leading industrial designer, manufacturer, and supplier of acoustic and thermal insulation solutions for the automotive industry and other sectors. The company has a strong global presence, having manufacturing sites in Germany, Sweden and UK as well as having technical partners in Asia and America.

Miguel, Operation Manager for Autins in Germany, having progressive experience in LEAN operations, has been managing optimization tasks in the factory. The factory needs to meet the demand from the customers with the constant pressure on quality and price, and at the same time making the production processes more digitized in the scope of industry 4.0.

In March 2020, as we all remember, Covid-19 affected everyone in the world, also Autins’ production. The company saw a sudden decrease in demand during the first two weeks, and the company needed to take actions to survive, it had to be done urgently due to the high rate of the labor cost.

At the time, Miguel did not have a clear picture of the current production efficiency, as there was no reliable information about the machine’s performance. Miguel looked for a solution and found the Blackbird system. He immediately contacted the Blackbird team and started to try the solution on two high runner production machines.   

Blackbird showing OEE on the shop floor 

At the start of the project, Miguel listed the objectives to be achieved;

1. to obtain a clear picture and understanding of the efficiency of the current production

2. to increase the two high runner machines’ productivity by 10%+ and 20%+

3. to gain real time visual management to see how a shift is performing

4. to know why the machines had stopped during shifts 

Miguel received the package from Blackbird and he installed the system right away without any trouble. It was very convenient because the Covid-19 situation did not allow any physical interaction from any supplier at the time. As soon as the Factbirds got installed on the two machines, he could see the information coming from the machines – live and visual

"Previously, every time we finished the work orders from operations, we noticed the trend was not stable, having many peaks. Some shifts had higher output than others. We could not figure out the real medium of the production. With Blackbird, we started to get a clear picture of the production - What is the exact output and why are the machines stopping - It was an eye opener." - Miguel

After a while, Miguel also noticed change in the shopfloor culture. Miguel told the operators that it is important to know why the machines had stopped and that the goal is not to produce more, but to have a stable production. Being able to see how the shifts are performing on the Blackbird dashboard has motivated the operators and they started to work as a team and work together to achieve better results. As Blackbird visualizes how the shift is doing, the operators started to communicate more and cooperate with each other to do an even better job. Furthermore, the operators started to proactively make parallel improvement activity such as changeover of the material, which had never been done by themselves before.

We now have a common attitude in our shopfloor - Let the machines run as stable as possible. If there is any issue, we just want to know why. - Miguel

Before Covid-19, the production was running in 3 shifts to meet the demand from the market. Today, the machines are more stable, and the output has improved, it is running only 2 shifts even after the demand returned to the normal level - no night shift needed – which was a big benefit for the company.

The improvement journey continues on the shop floor and Miguel now has the right tool. The company can use many built-in analytics on the Blackbird Application and plan further improvement activity and check whether it has an effect or not. Other departments in the company also started to benefit from the reliable data, e.g., reliable data of manufacturing cost for the sales department. 

When we started to use the Blackbird, we in July had OEE of 54 %. In October we had improved the OEE to 81%. We report exactly how the production is running every month, which gives us more confidence to make decisions. On top of that, the operators enjoy the fact that they can see how their shifts are performing on Blackbird, which also gives more confidence to all the operators and to the whole shopfloor. If anything happens on the machines, we know why. We know where to improve. - Miguel

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