Hydroscand in Örebro manufactures hydraulic hoses and is the market leader in hose and pipe components in Scandinavia. In the spring of 2021, Prevas was commissioned to replace an older system for monitoring the various operations and stations in production with a more reliable and flexible system, which could also be expanded and further enhanced with new functionality.
At Hydroscand's factory in Örebro, hydraulic hoses are manufactured on six parallel production lines with stations for various operations, such as cutting, plug testing, assembly, pressing and packing. Five of these are manual and one is automatic. The previous production monitoring system was getting old and there was no longer the capability for support, adaptation and further development. At Hydroscand, the need had been obvious for quite some time for updating the production system, both to ensure operation and to expand production in terms of volumes and new functions.
“Initially, we had no real requirement specification, and we didn't know which skills we would need,” says Fredrik Järnberg, site manager at Hydroscand OEM in Örebro. “Prevas came to us to get an idea of how our production works, and we were interviewed about functions, work processes, how we do things and why. Everyone on the Prevas team has been very responsive and flexible, and that made things much easier for us.”
The best solutions are those found through interaction between people with different skills.
Martin Östberg, project manager at Prevas, has been involved since the project began. In the initial phase, the focus was on understanding how the existing system worked, what data was used and how different parts communicated with each other. In the various phases of the project, several people with skills in different areas such as UX design and programming have been involved. The requirements and wishes of the users have always guided design of the different stations and operations.
“Putting it all together has been an interesting and fun challenge,” says Martin Östberg. “We had to do some detective work in the beginning to learn how the existing PC-based system worked and to be able to make the right analysis of how to control production. The new system is similar to the old, but together with Hydroscand we have enhanced both functions and interfaces. The transition to networked communications has enabled us to reduce the number of stops and faults in production.”
Avoiding interruptions in production
The next step was to draw up a plan for how a new system could replace the old in a way and in an order that provided the maximum benefit while ensuring that the installation did not interrupt production. Prevas created transfer mechanisms in which the old system remained functional, with it being replaced part by part by the new one.
At the beginning of the project, when major parts were to be commissioned, specific days were scheduled. Once a part was in place, minor changes could be made during lunch breaks so as not to disrupt production.
“Collaboration with Prevas has gone really well,” says Fredrik Järnberg. “I think it is the combination of technical and social skills that has been crucial for us in being able to work as colleagues and carry out the project together. “We also received good documentation and regular updates, which gave us confidence in the process.”
Fredrik Järnberg and his colleagues at Hydroscand have now begun preparing a requirement specification to further develop the system. This includes ensuring full traceability of the hydraulic hoses coming out of the factory.
Production systems, monitoring, communication
Johan Lindqvist, Prevas AB, e-mail
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