About Erwin Quarder Group
The Erwin Quarder Group is a leading manufacturer of technical plastic parts with production sites in Germany, the Czech Republic, the USA, Mexico, and China. The group mainly develops and manufactures products combining plastics and electrotechnical components, such as plastic hybrid components with sensor integration, individual cooling systems for batteries, and high-voltage mechatronics used in the automotive industry.
Challenges and decision making
Robert Bosch AG, a customer of the Quarder Group introduced them to Blackbird in 2020. At the time, the Quarder Group were tracking and analyzing production data using a solution they had developed in-house.
As the automotive industry’s constant pressure on cost and quality was experienced throughout the whole supply chain, including Quarder, it was necessary to get a tool that could help the company increase productivity as quickly and seamlessly as possible.
Bosch, a long-time business partner of Blackbird's with firsthand experience using the solution, started a pilot program with Quarder on two of their critical machines where they have been struggling to improve the OEE and meet their targets.
Roll out of the pilot on two of the machines.
Quarder started the pilot on their two most important lines, neither of which were meeting output expectations.
Department heads across different teams worked together to ensure implementation was smooth and their goals were achieved as quickly as possible.
The results spoke for themselves and based on the improvements made to the first two lines as a result of the pilot, management decided to expand the solution to the entire plant. And then to every plant, consistently replicating their results.
Deployment on more lines and change to Factbird NX1 for better data collection on scrap reasons.
Quarder started their pilot program by implementing two of Blackbird's single input Factbird Digital devices on two separate lines. When they expanded, Blackbird's multi-input, fully integrated NX1 device provided added value.
’’At that time, the focus was more or less on the reasons for disruption and on the OEE figures, which was also sufficient at first. Later, with Factbird NX1, we started to look specifically at the scrap figures in detail. We have different reasons for component failure and the scrap rates vary greatly. The NX1 helps us to get more data specifically in this area.’’ Johann Wolf, Industrial Engineering specialist
Quarder measures scrap during different points of production, increasing their visibility into each individual step. Blackbird NX1's full system integration allows it to catalog scrap reasons directly from the PLC.
Simplicity to drive engagement
Machine operators are an integral part of the continuous improvement process. Blackbird is designed with that in mind, providing a platform so intuitive it promotes engagement.
‘’Blackbird is a very simple system, very intuitive, so it's also easy for employees to use. Therefore, is very well accepted by the employees, and well maintained.’’ Johann Wolf, Industrial Engineering at Erwin Quarder Group
Never lose sight of the details
‘’What brings me the most added value is that I can store certain reasons for disruptions in great detail. Especially because communication among three different shifts is sometimes complicated and somehow smaller details get lost, it is quite good to be able to add comments, and that this information cannot get lost.’’ Sebastian Pongrac, Automation Expert at Erwin Quarder Group
A tool for finding the optimization areas but also for spotting unforeseen situations.
Quarder uses Blackbird's analysis dashboard to identify their biggest issues on a weekly and monthly basis, uncovering areas for improvement based on historical data. But Blackbird's biggest value add may be the visibility it gives you into the impact gained or lost from small adjustments.
Operators might not notice the difference lowering the speed of a machine by half a second would make, however, the production loss would be clearly visible in Blackbird's data flow tracking dashboard. Tracking and measuring the impact of changes too small to be observed by the naked eye gives Quarder the insight needed to maximize the output of every one of their machines.
Quality and traceability
Blackbird catalogs and archives historical data, giving you the ability to trace individual errors back to minor adjustments made to production. This makes it easy to correlate complaints and returned parts with the production data at the time the parts were produced.
An impressive 20% increase in OEE and scrap rates reduced below 1% in a matter of weeks.
‘’Especially, before we started with Blackbird, we had an OEE of around 60%, in some cases even worse. With Blackbird, we managed to achieve an OEE well above 80 in a very short time. Our internal requirements are 85% OEE. Also, we had scrap figures of 5 to 6% in some plants and we have managed to get them down to less than 1% after installing Factbird NX1.’’ Johann Wolf, Industrial Engineering at Erwin Quarder Group.
Reliable data, accessible anywhere
‘’No one has to manually enter any data anywhere. It is so much easier now. I only need to select a time window once, and then it is updated, and I have all the information I need.’’ Sebastian Pongrac, Automation Expert at Erwin Quarder Group