Schleifring Medical Systems Adopts Amper to Leverage the Power of Data
Schleifring Medical Systems (SMS) offers a wide range of precision machining, assembly and project management services to customers in the medical industry. Located in a modern, 80,000 square-foot facility in Elgin, Illinois, its jobs range from rapid prototypes and short runs to production runs.
SMS takes pride in producing high-quality products that are delivered cost-effectively and on time. An ISO9001:2015 certified company, SMS is passionate about continuously improving the quality of its products and services—and the effectiveness of its quality management system.
The Need: To Collect and Utilize OEE Data
Until recently, SMS was one of the many manufacturers that forgo the use of a machine monitoring system. However, when its new President, Charles Morley, took the helm, implementing an OEE system became one of his early priorities.
Morley has more than 15 years of experience in high mix/low to mid volume environments, including metal products, electronic equipment, and heavy-industrial equipment. His former employers all utilized OEE systems—something he considered a given. He believed that SMS’s failure to collect production data was “potentially dangerous.”
Furthermore, Morley is a staunch proponent of lean manufacturing. One essential lean principle is the importance of making informed, data-driven decisions—which isn’t possible without real-time production data.
The Quest: Get the Team’s Buy in—and Find the Right System
Morley’s first step was to ensure that the production team would support the adoption of a machine monitoring system. While the engineering manager immediately jumped on board, Morley was concerned that other team members, especially the machinists, would resist the idea.
“Look,” he told them, “We all want to work smarter—not harder. No one wants to work overtime all the time and go home exhausted. Let’s be more efficient. Let’s grow the business.”
Fortunately, everyone saw the value of tracking production data and embraced the initiative without much persuasion.
Then, he tackled their second challenge: finding the best OEE system for SMS.
“Amper’s support team is out there every day helping customers use the system better–nobody else does that.”
Charles Morley, President, Schleifring Medical Systems
The Choice: Amper’s Machine Monitoring Solution
Morley and his team evaluated no fewer than 17 systems before choosing Amper. Many of them, they found, offered high barriers to entry.
“Some systems took three or four people to run it and review the data,” he says. “Some cost $50-$100K to implement.”
In addition, he was concerned that offshore vendors wouldn’t be able to provide on-demand tech support.
Ultimately, the team chose Amper, the simplest, most affordable machine monitoring system on the market.
“Our system works by tracking each machine’s “heartbeat”—it’s electrical current,” says Akshat Thirani, Amper’s CEO and Co-founder.
“So, instead of an elaborate implementation, Amper’s wireless sensors can be clipped onto any machine, regardless of age or brand. It takes about 10 minutes per machine, so there’s minimal downtime.”
SMS also liked that Amper would assign them a dedicated account manager to help ensure they get the most from their system.
“In my experience, most vendors give you the hardware and software, then maybe check back for an annual maintenance review,” says Morley.
“Amper’s support team is out there every day helping customers use the system better—nobody else does that.”
Amper’s support team is out there every day helping customers use the system better–nobody else does that.
The Benefits: How SMS Leverages Amper
Because a key lean manufacturing principle is visual management, SMS’s implementation plan meant that everyone in the factory had easy access to the machine utilization real-time dashboard.
As a result, a large monitor was installed in the conference room, where the team holds its morning huddles. The app was installed on every operator’s tablet as well as Morley’s smartphone.
For operators, access to their daily performance data is driving them to do better.
“Many of these guys are gamers—they’re competitive,” says Morley. “They’d review their numbers during the day and think about how they could beat them tomorrow.”
As for Morley, Amper’s app allows him to keep an eye on plant activity 24/7, even if that means occasionally calling from a social function to check on a machine.
For SMS, the four greatest advantages of Amper are:
• Facilitating preventive machine maintenance, preventing mid-run breakdowns
• Shortening setup and changeover times
• Scheduling jobs more accurately and confidently
• Reducing lead times, which improves customer satisfaction
Says Morley, “Amper’s OEE system has helped us increase capacity and do more with our existing team.”
“Now, we’re having daily discussions about performance in ways we weren’t before—it’s changed our culture.”
And, of course, it allows SMS’s management team to make the data-driven decisions that are so essential to lean manufacturing—and to running a successful operation.