Saving Time and Money by Monitoring Industrial Ovens

Cost-effective and efficient manufacturing demands consistency. Monitoring industrial ovens is a typical scenario. If a process is inconsistent it is difficult, if not impossible, to ensure that process runs optimally. Effective, regular plant maintenance and ongoing monitoring can minimise the risk of equipment running inefficiently or, in the worst case, failing. However, even the most reliable machinery cannot operate properly if subjected to human error.

Numerous studies have repeatedly shown the significance of human error in accidents and equipment failure. There is a good deal of talk about training and culture as effective ways to minimise human error.

At Denca, our focus is to address opportunities for human error on a process line.

Monitoring Industrial Ovens

In a recent project, our customer, a manufacturer of glass fibre, was experiencing significant material wastage and even customer dissatisfaction as a direct consequence of human error.

Their process included product curing and drying in a range over industrial ovens. The key problem was product going through the incorrect oven. This was primarily a consequence of operator error and typically led to product scrappage. In the worst case, where the issue was not identified, product was delivered to their customer who immediately rejected it.  In either case, the risks to our customer are significant.

Eliminating the risk of human error

Our customer contacted Denca to ask if we could develop and implement a solution. The goal was to eliminate the risk of operator error by giving a clear indication of whether a specific product is allowed into a particular oven before it is loaded. Improving process monitoring was another objective for the project. A logging system could track what product had been transferred into each oven, and when.

There was a further complication which we had to consider. Settings on each oven specify a selection of drying specifications. It is essential that products are certified to the correct combination of individual oven and drying specifications.

Delivering cost-effective solutions

Denca began by taking an overview of the whole process. We tracked the production flow from initial fibre manufacture through to when that product enters the curing ovens.

Our first thought was to add static scanners to each of the product source locations and ovens. However, in practice, this would have been costly and complex to install. Instead, our team suggested using handheld scanner devices running a standard Android operating system to provide a flexible, cost-effective and technology-proven solution. Our customer liked and approved our approach so the project design, build and installation went ahead. Commissioned in Summer 2021, the new system has now been fully operational for several months.

Operatives now receive direct feedback through the process of picking up product and taking it to the correct oven location. The system also prompts a driver with valid drop-off locations as soon as he picks up the product. A secure, web-based interface allows system configuration from any web browser.

Since the system went live, there has been no material product scrappage. The new process delivered by Denca is doing its job.

Contact us to see if we can provide a solution for your next project.

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