Predictive maintenance and production monitoring in the Footwear industry

Motivation of the Experiment

The High Speed Shoe Factory constitutes the most recent generation of production system adopted by a large manufacturer in the Portuguese footwear industry. It is the result of a Portuguese research and innovation project and comprises two major systems: a Stitching Logistic System, supporting the activities of pre-stitching, stitching and pre-assembly, implemented via robotic manipulators and an Assembly Logistic System supporting the final assembly and finishing activities. These logistic systems are automated by PLC devices connected to sensors/actuators distributed on the shop floor and managed at a higher level by a manufacturing execution system.

The following weaknesses and bottlenecks were identified so far: 1) Physical problems at the physical level (shop floor) requiring a constant attention to avoid the stopping of the production system in order to realize maintenance interventions; 2) Lack of managing applications at the factory and enterprise levels, contributing to lower levels of visibility of production and productivity in the domains of advanced planning and scheduling, production monitoring, maintenance management, performance management and real time simulation.

Description and objectives of the Experiment

The experiment conducted at a large footwear manufacturer aims 1) to get access to all data streams generated at field level (PLC, sensors and actuators) and have them published at factory level, 2) to support maintenance activities of the logistic systems by analytically processing in real time the above data streams, and generating alarms about actual or probability of future physical anomalies and 3) to increase the level of visibility of production by providing real time view on the current status of the manufacturing system.

Main results expected to achieve in the Experiment

The experiment is expected to decrease the down time of the High Speed Shoe Factory, in terms of their working posts, robotic manipulators and integration conveyors, and thus to decrease production lead time, and to increase production flexibility, in terms of adjustments in the allocation of work to working posts.

The main sector of application is the Footwear industry.