The search for excellence is a constant priority at Avio Aero, and the Pomigliano site is actively engaged in this, supporting a variety of Simplification & Lean projects.
Among the projects planned for the new year, the Facilities & Maintenance team is adopting Visual Management to manage maintenance, using the Drawbase software.
The Visual Management Tool (VMT) entails the complete display of the operating status of all machinery where, in the event of a breakdown, it is possible to carry out real-time maintenance thanks to the fact that the fault is instantly brought to light. Pomigliano is the second GE Aviation site to introduce this practice; the Hooksett, New Hampshire, plant—where rotor components for civil and military engines are produced—was the first one.
The first stage of the project was implemented in the second half of 2015, and currently maintenance personnel can already take charge and manage maintenance digitally, eliminating paper material. Indeed, previously work orders were drafted by hand in hard copy, and the whole compilation process involved wait times that slowed activities.
Currently, the maintenance operator can access the work order and take charge of activities thanks to a simple barcode, and once activities are completed, the operator can report them directly on the work order and can then take steps to close it without delay.
By the first half of 2016, the progress of maintenance activities will be clearly visible to the production team as well, by implementing the Visual Management Tool, Drawbase, and integrating it with the SAP management software.
The big shift, therefore, corresponds to more efficient time management, as it can focus on activities with real added value and highly transparent maintenance processes that will be clearly visible, not just to maintenance personnel, but to the production team as well.
Indeed, the innovation stands in the great ease with which, thanks to this new software, production supervisors will be able to view, on a screen, which machines are available and which ones are undergoing maintenance, through graphical user interfaces that are green when the machine is operating correctly, and turn red when it is stopped. The use of graphical interfaces facilitates visual retrievals and allows the operator to quickly and efficiently select which machines to focus on, in order of priority.
The next step for the VMT will be directly connecting the machines to the Predix software (previous passage: “The step toward complete visual management using the Visual Management Tool takes place along with the development of Predix”), the powerful software platform developed by GE, with the goal of connecting people, data and machines via the internet. Shortly, we will be able to learn not only whether the machine is available for an operation, but also whether it is producing, eventually being able to assess real time performance, and remotely check how much time will be required to complete processing with respect to original scheduling.