New Products and Services Added to SYSCON-PlantStar Suite of Real-Time Production and Process Monitoring Systems

South Bend, Indiana – January 25, 2012 – SYSCON-PlantStar’s suite of real-time production and process monitoring systems has new features and expanded capabilities. These new features will further enhance a manufacturer’s ability to see what is happening on their plant floors and integrate the information into productive and profitable processes.

Overall Equipment Effectiveness Dashboard Expansion
An Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) dashboard takes complex production problems and puts them into simple, intuitive presentations of information based on Availability, Performance and Quality. With the expanded SYSCON-PlantStar OEE dashboard, users can drill down into each category to get detailed information. For example, a user can click on the “Quality” link on the computer screen and get the quality-related details for a job, such as reasons for unexpectedly high scrap rates.

Process Journal Module Expansion
A Process Journal allows users to enter notes for Cause and Effect documentation. After logging in, the user can create notes for Downtime, Scrap, Process Variables, Machine Maintenance and more. The notes may be linked so others can view the progression of activity. A typical scenario is when an operator sees a problem with a part—he notes the problem and takes corrective action by calling Quality Control (QC) to the press. QC reviews the problem and notes that the problem is machine related and contacts Maintenance. Maintenance fixes the machine and documents the action taken to correct the problem.

SYSCON-PlantStar has expanded their Process Journal module to allow a supervisor to review, check and approve the notes after the completion of the process. “Our Process Journal has a Labor log-in that automatically adds the date and time of the journal entry. This feature is especially beneficial to our medical molding customers because it supports a Quality Control Plan as required by the FDA,” said Gary Benedix, Vice President of SYSCON-PlantStar.

New KanBan Scheduling Module
KanBan is a Japanese scheduling system developed by Toyota in the 1940s that ensures that workers have what they need, where they need it, and when they need it — without the liability of maintaining expensive and wasteful inventory levels. Kanban is now an integral component of lean and just-in-time production programs.

KanBan utilizes cards as a visual aid to trigger action. For instance, each bin of parts in a production process has a KanBan card. The card documents the number, type of part, vendor and other information needed to order or produce the parts. Six bins are in inventory at the start of the work cycle. A card is pulled as each bin is put into production. When the operator has four cards, he knows it is time to order six more bins. He uses the SYSCON-PlantStar computer interface to enter the necessary information that will generate the order. If the cards are barcoded, he scans each card into the barcode station and the request for six more bins is automatically entered in the system.

SYSCON-PlantStar can also implement an electronic Kanban (e-Kanban) system that will eliminate problems associated with using Kanban cards such manual entry errors and lost cards. PlantStar’s e-Kanban offerings include Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) input for scheduling Kanban quantities. Data gathered from PlantStar’s e-Kanban scheduling module will further help manufacturers track lead and replenishment times for materials.

Tool Conflict
PlantStar’s user-friendly drag-and-drop Gantt Job Scheduling tool now has an alerting mechanism called Tool Conflict. Tool Conflict alerts the job scheduler when a tool is already scheduled for another process. The scheduler can then utilize the drag-and-drop scheduling mechanism to optimize the usage of the tool.

Remote Hosting
SYSCON-PlantStar now offers remote hosting services for their real-time production and process monitoring software. “This approach gives the smaller manufacturer the opportunity to take advantage of today’s technology to improve their productivity while reducing the cost of implementing a system. We become their system administrators and provide them with real-time data to make real-time decisions in running their manufacturing plant,” said Tom Thomas, President of PlantStar. “Manufacturing managers have full access to their data just as if the server was down the hall. They can see live data, review reports, even share results with their customers.” The software and server is maintained by PlantStar customer service staff at PlantStar’s server farm in South Bend, Indiana. The necessary shop floor hardware is available for purchase or lease from PlantStar.

Red Hat® Linux
PlantStar’s suite of products are the only real-time production and process-monitoring systems that run on a Linux operating system. In response to customer requests, PlantStar now offers Red Hat Linux—the standard in open source software. Red Hat Linux gives PlantStar more control when developing software and freedom from the constraints of the MicroSoft® Windows® operating systems.

SYSCON-PlantStar, a division of SYSCON International, Inc., was established in 1988 to provide real-time plant floor data acquisition solutions to the plastics molding industry. PlantStar now offers a wide range of system solutions from simple production monitoring to full-scale integration with ERP systems and FDA compliance subsystems for Plastics, Metal Stamping, Die Casting, Packaging, Assembly and other related industries.