The foundry produces complex components for brakes, powertrain and transmission systems, primarily for the automotive industry in North America, Europe and China. When the Barcelona team wanted a live digital view of production, it chose the modular Monitizer IIoT platform to collect data from various machines and processes. The project was supported by foundry technology experts DISA.
Javier Heredia, Plant Manager at Draxton Barcelona, comments: "Monitizer | DISCOVER has helped us implement and enhance lean manufacturing and predictive maintenance, and we use its information to constantly learn about and enhance different parts of our operations. It has definitely helped us improve casting quality while lowering resource and energy consumption. That has cut our carbon emissions and DISCOVER's digital process view will also be invaluable as we begin our new sustainability initiative."
Digitally connecting a foundry – end to end
The project began in June 2022. The first task was to digitally connect the furnace and pouring unit, along with the sand plant, the two DISA moulding lines, the entire suction system and the shotblast machines.
"Monitizer | DISCOVER connects to all our equipment, not just our DISA machines, to securely collect and bring all our data together in a single cloud database we can access from anywhere – even from my mobile when I am at home," says Javier. "It was ‘plug and play’ to install the NoriGate gateways ourselves. It was obvious this was a tried-and-tested system as the whole process went very smoothly and quickly."
Monitizer timestamps and merges new data, automatically updating the reliable, consistent single process view within its cloud database and calculating any required variables. The Monitizer team worked with Draxton to set up the database, creating its variables and the most useful KPIs.
Empowering teams, applying knowledge
With DISCOVER's sophisticated alarm functionality, Draxton has transformed how it controls its production. Using their specialist expertise, employees have configured automatic monitoring that alerts them to any upcoming problems.
Antonio Ruiz, Production Manager at Draxton Barcelona, explains: "We use the tool to monitor production and facility parameters. Each user has made their own personalised dashboard and set up their own queries to receive exactly the information they want to see.”
“The tool is very easy to use and also highly intuitive. We can use our own process knowledge to easily program different dashboard queries and configure alarms with more than one variable – all by ourselves. We can set thresholds based on the knowledge of our internal experts and configure alarms that notify production and maintenance to act before an issue become serious.”
Preventive maintenance: always ahead of wear
Monitizer has also enabled the maintenance team to implement a preventive maintenance program. For example, Monitizer helps Draxton identify premature wear in the furnaces; when any parameters move out of specification, the system automatically notifies both the maintenance and production teams.
Before implementing Monitizer, the Barcelona facility struggled to remove a bottleneck caused by insufficient moulding sand for their two lines. Using DISCOVER's data, it was possible to vary the sand plant's cycle time to match the amount of water added to the sand plant. This removed the bottleneck and stabilized sand quality, while cutting water and energy consumption – resulting in higher quality and a more sustainable process.
Now experts in using data to better manage their operation, the Draxton team is planning to add even more parameters to its digital foundry view and is working towards full and continuous, AI-powered process optimization using the Monitizer | PRESCRIBE AI solution.
A video of the Draxton team explaining the project can be found here: