How Powerserve Helped Purification Cellutions Reach Record Production Using a Custom MES Solution to Track Production Trends and Inject Continuous Improvement
Purification Cellutions, LLC of Waynesboro, Ga., is a leading manufacturer of activated carbon honeycombs used in the air purification and automotive industries. Prompted by the growing regulations and standards in automotive evaporative emissions control, and elaborating on previous work in bleed emissions, Ingevity and Applied Ceramics, Inc. of Doraville, Ga., combined their knowledge and prior experience to establish Purification Cellutions and developed a new type of carbon honeycomb filter. These innovative activated carbon honeycombs, in conjunction with Ingevity's other automotive carbon products, trap hydrocarbon emissions from gasoline fuel handling systems on ultralow level emission vehicles collectively recovering more than 10,000 metric tons of fuel each day from escaping into the atmosphere.
Purification Cellutions used customized forms to track their production process, quality assurance, and inventory. As operations grew, this process brought several new challenges for the team: numerous operators on the floor manually entering data introduced risk for error, the facility was moving to a 24/7 production schedule to meet increased demand, and incremental disconnected systems had been added without a cohesive workflow. Security was also a concern since all the data was accessible by any user regardless of permissions or areas of responsibility. They quickly realized they'd reached the limits of what their current application could provide.
Powerserve designed a custom web-based MES solution to integrate Purification Cellutions' systems and create a central data repository. Barcoding was established throughout the process to aid in minimizing data entry errors, addressing many of the issues the plant was facing and allowing for future expansion.
"Reducing the amount of repetitive data entry by our operators was one of the original drivers for this database project," shared Daniel Pittman, Improvement Engineer, Ingevity. "The new inspector interface is user-friendly and allows for easily entered data that is automatically recorded."
Building a web-based solution requires minimal software installation and creates a solution that is platform independent and mobile compatible. The centralized database is more robust and the data can be secured with an individualized user access scheme.
For example, Purification Cellutions used numerous smart machinery for their day-to-day operations. Some of these systems were throughout the plant while others were standalone systems. Powerserve successfully integrated these systems with the new custom MES solution and consolidated the data, allowing users the opportunity to see information in real time to make quick adjustments and improve overall quality. Having a more reliable connection between input points considerably reduced the effort of tracking product genealogy throughout the process. Linking products to a barcode also became the first step in moving towards a paperless shop floor.
Two months after installation of the new system, preparation began for the integration of Ingevity's SAP system for sales, planning, and logistics visibility. Working hand in hand with Ingevity's SAP partners, Powerserve built interfaces that allowed for the intake and execution of production orders. This was all done seamlessly, in the background, by the MES system and allowed for more accurate planning decisions at both the corporate and plant levels.
Steve Gnegy, Business Systems Analyst, Ingevity, stated, "The two systems work great together. The Powerserve team is very talented and were always thinking ahead to create solutions that fit well with our overall design needs."
Pittman shared, "The new MES has helped to improve our overall production. The application's instinctive user interface has helped new employees get up to speed while aiding us in moving towards a paperless shop floor."
Gnegy added, "Having a good partner is important to our corporate IT structure. Being able to trust a vendor - and knowing they'll do what they say - is key to a successful partnership. Powerserve proved time and time again that they are a good partner."