What is OEE?
Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) is, in simple terms, a way to determine the efficiency of equipment in a manufacturing environment. A few key metrics are used to calculate OEE and inform manufacturers as to how the different pieces of equipment are performing.
Availability = Operating Time / Planned Production Time
Performance = Ideal Cycle Time / (Operating Time / Total Pieces)
Quality = Good Pieces / Total Pieces
OEE = Availability x Performance x Quality
This allows managers to make key decisions in order to increase or maintain efficiency, thus saving time and money. For this reason, it is obviously beneficial to monitor and increase OEE.
How to improve OEE?
To improve your OEE, some relatively simple changes can be made to the manufacturing process. Some of the main changes that can be made are listed below.
Use Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs)
One way to improve OEE is to use variable frequency drives (VFDs) instead of normal motor starters. These are two different ways to start a motor. Typical motor starters do not gradually increase motor speeds. Instead, it is abrupt and inefficient. Conversely, VFDs do gradually escalate the speed of the motor. This is more efficient and allows the motors to have a longer lifespan than starter-powered motors because of the lack of wear and tear. VFDs also limit the strain on the bearings and motor itself which increases the life expectancy of these parts as well. This improved efficiency and increased savings will boost the OEE by keeping maintenance frequency and costs lower.
Use Electric Actuators
Another way OEE can be improved is to use electric actuators rather than hydraulic or pneumatic actuators. Actuators are types of motors that convert energy into motion. When using hydraulic or pneumatic actuators, hoses and pumps require frequent and routine checkups to ensure their maintenance. This requires money and time. On the other hand, electric actuators have no pumps or hoses and therefore do not require nearly as much maintenance. In addition to this cost and time benefit, electric actuators allow for more control over the acceleration and velocity of the motor which, over time, will extend the life of the motor.
Spot Problems with Machine Vision
Using machine vision to spot any potential problems with manufacturing is an effective way to improve OEE. Machine vision is a mechanical, image-based way to examine parts of a manufacturing process in order to ensure that everything is working properly. This process uses vision sensors that are able to verify that proper processes are taking place and alert of any defects. In using machine vision, you will limit waste and produce higher quality product.
Maintain Preventative Measures
A very simple and more general approach to improving OEE is to maintain preventative measures to limit defects with the equipment and fix these problems before they are more costly. One way of doing this is to request service life information from the companies that supply your components and then get inspections for the equipment based on this knowledge.
Perform Regular Maintenance
Another general and simple, but just as effective way of improving OEE is to encourage machine operators to do regular or routine maintenance. Equipment should be taken care of while it is in good, working condition. This means, for example, spare parts should always be available so that machine operators can easily stay on top of maintenance work.
For obvious reasons, such as being more time efficient and saving money, it is a good idea to keep track of and improve OEE. This can be achieved in various ways, as seen by the five main ways listed above. In order to analyze and improve OEE, real-time data must be acquired and, based on this data, changes must be made.
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