Case study: IIoT effectiveness on the plant floor

Create and collect machine and sensor data to augment overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) and determine machine efficiency.
By Lindsey Kielmeyer, MartinCSI June 8, 2018

Figure 1: This illustrates the system architecture that was used for HFI’s IIoT solution. Courtesy: MartinCSIAutomotive supplier HFI approached system integrator MartinCSI to implement Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) technologies to capture what was happening on the plant floor and relay that information to management for analysis. Weeks later, HFI had access to machine data, overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) metrics, and remote access to reporting. 

The IIoT challenge

HFI, headquartered in Canal Winchester, Ohio, is a tier 2 supplier of interior automotive products specializing in cut and sew, foam-in-place, small parts foam, and assembly operations with 10 North American locations. Like many manufacturers, HFI was ready to explore the advantages of implementing IIoT capabilities and data analysis.

IIoT implementations tout the ability to identify trends, analyze Big Data, provide actionable insights, and increase productivity. HFI had another systems integrator implement an application that captured data from one machine. A significant amount of machine data had been collected with information on every sensor, input, and output.

According to all the promises, this is when all the insights would come pouring in and production would increase, but it wasn’t that easy. A lot of data was available, and no one knew exactly what was important, who to get it to, or how to benefit from it. It just sat there.

"All the vendors in the world can use all the buzzwords they want but if they don’t understand the data being collected and what to do with it, there’s no value provided," said Karen Hartley, HFI director of IT. Hartley knew if she could find someone to help capture machine data and determine what was important and deliver that data to the business side for analysis and reporting, value could be created across the organization. 

IIoT data relevancy

MartinCSI designed a system to collect machine data, store it on a cloud server, and provide HFI with direct access to the database. The implementation did not require purchasing expensive hardware, smart sensors, or equipment with embedded intelligence. HFI’s existing supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) and network architecture remained unchanged.

The system integrator and client worked with HFI to create OEE metrics and reports that were used to determine machine efficiency. MartinCSI facilitated the collaboration of multiple departments in HFI to establish the most relevant machine data points to collect and feed into the data visualization application used for custom reporting.

"This was the first-time business, IT, and OT [operations technology] worked together on one project. Having a partner who listened and understood what we needed made all the difference," explained Hartley.

MartinCSI delivered useful information to individuals at HFI enabling them to make meaningful decisions to promote increased productivity, quality, and profitability. 

IIoT results

After analyzing the collected OEE metrics and reports, HFI was surprised to find the machine was operating at 50% capacity. Tools were also provided to make well-informed, intelligent decisions. HFI was able to investigate the cause and work with engineering and production to develop a path toward increased machine uptime.

Real-time reporting shows what impact the changes are having on production. Once they have established best practices for efficient machine operation they can roll out a systematized process across all locations. The out-of-the-box features and easy installation allowed deployment as needed with "standard metrics and KPIs [key performance indicators] with an integrated view of multiple facilities," not provided in other technologies Hartley had seen.

Lindsey Kielmeyer is marketing coordinator, MartinCSI. Edited by Emily Guenther, associate content manager, Control Engineering, CFE Media,


KEYWORD: Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)

  • How MartinCSI came up with an effective IIoT strategy for HFI
  • Real-time reporting shows the impact changes are having on production.

Consider this

What kind of data needs to be collected and analyzed to improve machine efficiency?