Kingspan keeps production lines active and prevents downtime
Story in 30 seconds: Kingspan Insulated Panels (“Kingspan”) is a €1.5bn division of the Kingspan Group, a global manufacturer of innovative building products. It runs a complex multi-site manufacturing operation delivering complete building envelope systems including insulated panels for roofs and walls to the global construction marketplace. For the past two years Kingspan has been rolling out ShireSystem to help its engineering teams move maintenance to a preventative basis across nine sites in six countries.
Kingspan’s largest facility in Holywell, Wales, has four independent production lines that are kept in service by a team of 23 engineers, mechanics and electricians. Any breakdown of machinery can quickly create problems. The Holywell site was the first site to benefit from ShireSystem, divisional Projects Engineer, Conor Evans is rolling out the software and says:
“We knew that certain parts of certain machines would fail regularly, but we had no accurate records. At Holywell the team has been using ShireSystem to track machine breakdowns and parts failures for two full years, and now has lots of data. Engineers can now go in and change parts during scheduled maintenance or downtime, before a part fails in the middle of a production run. This is the biggest cost and time saving so far, and it increases our production line availability.”
Nine sites in six countries across Europe and the Middle East are now using ShireSystem. Kingspan is moving towards a company-wide capability to plan maintenance and parts replacements in advance of predictable failures to deploy engineer resources more effectively and maximise both uptime and production efficiency. The nature of Kingspan’s insulated panel production relies on the efficient operation of long, continuous production lines operating 24 hours a day. These take tons of rolled steel sheet, cut and transform it, introduce chemical foam and laminate the parts into individual panels to be bundled, packed and shipped. Failure of any part of any machine on the lines can cause production to grind to a halt, leaving steel in the machine damaged, and chemicals rapidly cooling. Divisional Projects Engineer Conor Evans told us:
“Any breakdown risks the final product quality, but it also costs us money. With anywhere between six and ten operators on each line, idle time is a cost associated with machine breakdowns.”
Two years ago, Kingspan commenced rolling out ShireSystem to help the divisional engineering team implement planned preventative maintenance across the network and improve production efficiency. The Holywell site, which produces five million metres of panels annually, was the first site to go live; since then the system has been installed in eight other sites across the UK, Ireland, France, Dubai and Turkey, with Finland the latest to come on stream. Even though each site is at a different stage of implementation, it has already enabled the company to achieve valuable additional alignment in reporting:
“Elecosoft helped us create our own custom reporting, and now all sites in Europe and the Middle East can produce the same custom preventative maintenance and breakdown report, so we can compare our maintenance performance.”
The company’s two sites in France, at Dunkirk and Perpignan, are successfully using ShireSystem:
“Our two French sites are on the same ShireSystem installation not just because they share a language but because it makes sense for them to share their information, tasks and maintenance procedures for similar equipment. Now, when one sets up a preventative maintenance procedure for a particular piece of equipment the other can view the set-up and consider if they should do the same thing. It provides better linking of the sites when equipment gets the same treatment everywhere.”
The sites in the UK and Ireland are at the forefront of exploring what ShireSystem can do. The Holywell and Sherburn sites are seeing how the ShireSystem mobile app can keep engineers connected. These are working with the Kingscourt site in Co. Cavan to make spare parts inventory visible between the UK and Ireland.
“We are now well set up to share parts information between the UK and Ireland. Now that our systems are lined up, if someone is missing a key part in Ireland they can quickly see in ShireSystem if the UK site has it, and arrange for it to be shipped over.”
Kingspan is leveraging its investment in ShireSystem to enable continuous improvement, which is proving attractive to additional sites as the proof of value accumulates. In summary, Conor says:
“ShireSystem is a good system for scheduling work, tracking breakdowns, machine servicing and part inventory, and helping us compare sites on the same basis. It’s because of these benefits we are starting to get enquiries to implement ShireSystem in other sites such as our second Finland facility and our Insulated Panel sites in Eastern Europe.”
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