The Amper Effect
The Amper approach offered a low cost alternative and ease of implementation. They were able to achieve this through the quick set-up of equipment, at roughly ten minutes per machine. The set-up hardware includes tracking mechanisms that use electrical signatures and other sensors as part of a larger digital IoT suite. That data is then channeled through dashboard software that allows real-time visibility into the shop floor. Operations managers can easily access visual data on a weekly, quarterly or yearly basis, and then assess the main reasons for downtime or other issues while making the necessary adjustments.
“Our system has to be agnostic to different brands and types of machines,” says Akshat Thirani, CEO and Co-Founder of Amper. Using this system, Tom Schroeder was able to first create a baseline of production. Over time, that baseline has been increasing incrementally. The research also revealed some issues that, on the surface, seemed concerning but were later realized as a modest benefit.
For example, if two operators were running eight machines, their utilzation percentages were low. At first glance, this data might be disheartening. In this scenario, Tom’s experience with Amper taught him to take a step back and realize that it’s not humanly possible to reach 95% utilization unless you automate. As Tom explains, there has to be an understanding that its not about percentages, but about getting more machine hours out of the day. After all, one operator managing four machines is far more productive and cost-effective than one operator loading single pieces into one machine.
Another great benefit from employing Amper is that customers realize the value of machine monitoring and the increased operational KPIs that come with it. In other words, customers don’t want to pay for anything that isn’t adding value to their product. As Nick of MakingChips says, "When they see a supplier using this technology and getting 97% utilization, they realize that they will be getting more value from that supplier than the guy down the street who doesn’t have that standard."
What is the Factory of the Future?
"I look at the factory of the future as combining your processes with your technology and your people… with the base understanding that you have to do more with less."
— Tom Schroeder, Executive Vice President of Plant Operations and Sourcing at PBC Linear
"The Factory of the Future doesn’t just have data collection—it knows what to do with that data. Let’s face it, if you’re not monitoring your machines, you don’t know which ones are making enough chips, and if you’re not making enough chips, you’re not making money."
— Nick of Making Chips