Upgrade project examples that make digitalization work for you.
The only thing constant is change. Consumer demands change, metrics change, staffing changes… we’ve known for a while now that the companies that adapt will be the companies that survive. This month, we’re featuring project examples and ideas that make facilities more nimble.
In our spotlight is Peter Treible, National Solution Partner Market Manager, Siemens Industry. We have enjoyed working with Peter over the last decade as a Siemens Solution Partner. The program is a mutual partnership and Peter supports Solution Partners like Patti Engineering in deploying innovative technologies.
A More Flexible Facility Through Digitalization
Upgrades that Make a Facility More Nimble
In many ways and for many reasons, facilities are being asked to become nimbler and adapt to change more quickly.
Digitalization has given us much more flexibility in our personal lives. Do you remember when meeting a friend somewhere meant that you had to be at that exact place at that exact time and you had to plan it well in advance? What if the place was too crowded to find them or the hours changed and it was closed? Do you remember how much stress unexpected traffic caused? Remember getting lost? Now, your GPS tells you about traffic so you can plan for it. You can send a text. We all have maps in our pockets with a little blue “you are here” dot. We have the flexibility to change our plans at a moment’s notice and without much hassle.
Similarly, there are many ways in which digital upgrades can give managers the flexibility they are looking for in different areas of a facility.
Flexibility in Improvement Planning
Manufacturing engineers walk around plants and have ideas about improvements all day long. One thing that can box them in is the feasibility of trying those ideas. By creating a digital twin of the equipment or by using Plant Sim, theories can be tested with no disruption to production whatsoever.
What would happen if we moved this station a few feet closer?
If we added another operator at station 2, would that create a bottleneck down the line?
Can we make the programming more efficient to shave off a few seconds of cycle time?
These questions can be answered with a few clicks instead of moving tons of equipment, hassling operators, or taking the system offline.
Flexibility in Project Scheduling
Scheduling in an upgrade with an estimated 6-week commissioning time is nearly impossible. Who has time to shut down for 6 weeks? That was the estimate a recent customer received for a line upgrade. But with virtual commissioning, we were able to get the onsite time down to 7 days. Using a digital twin to complete most debugging offsite, it was much easier for plant managers to find a 7 day window to make desperately needed improvements.
Flexibility in Production
Using RFID tags or barcodes to attach information to objects, we can provide more flexibility in the way items move through a production line.
One way is to scan an item as it moves through the line and send it to the right operator station based on station availability and/or operator skill. This flexibility of item movement could also reduce bottlenecks and improve quality by matching the part to the operator.
On the other hand, you could have the part carry the assembly instructions on an RFID tag and display the instructions on an HMI or other screen. This keeps gives the operator more flexibility in what they are able to work on because they don’t have to remember or find instructions for every customized item.
Maintenance is expected. Surprise maintenance is a hassle.
Our cars have gas lights. Our laptops have low power notifications. Our pharmacies send prescription refill reminders. These warnings monitor our usage or behaviors and allow us a window of time to attend to the task at our convenience.
By collecting data from equipment, we can create algorithms that provide advance warning for maintenance tasks. That way, maintenance supervisors have the flexibility to schedule the maintenance at a time that’s convenient, like between shifts, instead of mid-production.
In one recent project, we created a CNC predictive maintenance app, which collects data on the CNC equipment and sends warnings when maintenance is needed. This gives that facility the flexibility around scheduling maintenance. It also gives them flexibility around staffing, as they are not relying on the one operator, nearing retirement, who senses maintenance by feel or by “that noise.”
There are lots of ways that we can add flexibility into a facility to reduce stress and put you in control of changes. These are just some examples, but we’d love to brainstorm with you about ways that work for your facility.
Peter Treible, National Solution Partner Market Manager, Siemens Industry
Today we are featuring Peter Treible, National Solution Partner Market Manager, Siemens Industry. We have gotten to know Peter well, as Patti Engineering has been a Siemens Solution Partner since 2009.
“Peter has been a pleasure to work with over the last decade as we have grown our relationship with Siemens,” said Sam Hoff, CEO of Patti Engineering.
Peter started out in industrial automation very early- in high school! My father, Jim Treible, got me involved in the industrial automation and drive market by getting me a high school summertime job at Louis Allis in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he was employed. It was there where my appreciation of engineering began. I worked alongside the union workers to manufacture specialty motors ranging from 1 HP to 5000 HP. During college my college years, I worked in the R&D department for the Drives & Systems business.”
This experience informed his choice about his career path after college. “What intrigued me most was the wide variety of applications in which these technologies were deployed. I knew then that I wanted to focus more on developing markets than core engineering design work.”
Peter has been happy with this choice. “Just this week I had a chance to talk with a graduating engineer. He had his sights on landing a job in the aerospace industry, but my advice to him was to explore the System Integration business, as it offers new engineers an opportunity to see how technology is applied in a wide variety of industries.”
At the University of Wisconsin- Madison, Peter earned an Electrical Engineering degree and he remains a big fan of the Badgers. “Each year I go to a Badger football game and visit the campus, either with my family or with my old college friends. Madison has a great vibe to it, that blends the university, business and government into an interesting mix of academia, business and politics that creates a place that is always intriguing to visit.”
His first job after graduation was based in Appleton, Wisconsin as an account manager selling coordinated drive systems into the paper and paper converting markets. He quickly learned that this required wearing many other hats including business management, application engineering, proposal generation, commissioning services and training – similar to system integrators. “It was a great and challenging environment to learn how to build a market, and that set the foundation toward my appreciation of the system integrator business.”
From that first job selling with a territory, Peter’s career expanded to regional and national sales, and now to a role with global impact at Siemens. “What I like most about my job is to help our Solution Partners to grow their business with Siemens and the successful relationships that have been established.”
Working closely with system integrators, Peter is facing the same challenges we all are in this new era of manufacturing. “We are in the midst of Industry 4.0, and with it, system integrators are embracing digital twin and IIOT technologies to reduce start-up time, down-time and training. Others are embracing the PLC Simulation technologies to improve engineering quality and to improve safety. Still others are using MindSphere to enable their clients get a competitive advantage, through predictive maintenance services, or deploying AI solutions to reduce scrap,” he says. “Patti Engineering is one of these Solution Partners that are embracing digitalization, and as our Partners embrace these technologies, Siemens continues to evolve the organization in order to train and support the system integrators that are adopting and deploying these innovative technologies.”
Peter and his wife, Cathy, met in college, have been married 32 years, and have two children. The Treibles live north of Atlanta, Georgia. Cathy is a residential real estate agent that is an expert in finding the perfect home for her clients. Their son Christopher, who was a collegiate soccer player, now resides in Portland, Oregon working for an orthopedic medical device company, and spends much of his day in surgery. Their daughter Julia, who was a collegiate swimmer, now resides in Pacific Beach, CA working as a marketing manager for a company that organizes music, comedy, culinary and art festivals.
“As a family, we love to travel, with our tradition during the holiday seasons to give the present of an experience. Last Christmas (pictured) we went to Lake Tahoe to downhill and cross-county ski. This summer, we will be rafting down the Deschutes River in Oregon to shoot rapids and to camp. Our entire family loves the outdoors, but fly fishing is definitely the sport my son and I enjoy most. While we have caught thousands of trout along the way, we never keep them. We enjoy the sport because it takes you to some of the most beautiful places that few will ever be able to see, by floating rivers or wading saltwater flats, in very remote locations. The biggest fish we caught was a 150-pound tarpon that dragged our kayak out to sea off the coast of Florida. That turned into an “Old Man & the Sea” type experience.” (See picture below!)
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