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Foundry Corporate News - Topic Process Control Technology

Sinto America and Dotson Enter Industry 4.0 World

Sinto America continues to pave the road for smart foundries by integrating Industry 4.0 Analytics in manufacturing plants throughout North America. Dotson Iron Castings has fully embraced this digital revolution. 

In early 2019, Dotson Iron Castings, actively began using Sinto’s ePVS system on three of their equipment lines: molding machines, transfer stations and turn tables. Dotson has a long history with Sinto, going back almost twenty years, from molding, automatic grinding and pouring, to blast machines. Dotson is fairly well diversified between agriculture, heavy truck and the industrial market. Around 70% of the semi-trucks you see on the road have a Dotson casting on them. Learn more about Dotson here. 

Sinto’s Industry 4.0 ePVS system allows the operator to visualize what is failing before it is too late by capturing every motion and event. It delivers actionable information to people responsible for keeping production running.  

ePVS System Features: 
•    Real time Analysis available on any device, at any time, wherever you go
•    Predictive maintenance, finding hidden issues, illuminating downtime
•    Increased productivity, optimize processes, shorten launch cycle and improve yield and communication
•    Simple and Visual software views to highlight gaps that can lead to efficiency gains

When asked why Dotson invested in ePVS, Eric Nelson (President, Dotson Iron Castings) stated, “At Dotson, we continue to reinvest, redevelop and recreate what a foundry can be so that we can deliver the best value and quality to our customers. Sinto’s ePVS, allows us to be the most efficient foundry we can, by taking our focus off maintenance and putting it on the customer.”

When Dotson first rolled out the system, they were not sure what to expect. “Rolling out the ePVS system at Dotson started as a “nice to have”, not sure what exact benefits we would see. What we are really trying to improve on is our ability to not overwork on equipment from a maintenance stand point but really address the equipment and work on it at the right time. The first mechanical issue that was highlighted by the system has turned it into a must have.  We have been able to address concerns well before they create compounding issues in the remainder of the system.  It doesn’t replace our maintenance team, but it makes them much more efficient.” –Eric Nelson, VP Dotson Iron Castings. 

Envision’s process visualization system is the only solution on the market that provides real-time data, allowing your team to see and address problems BEFORE a failure occurs, for a significant reduction in unplanned downtime. Envision also makes it easy to correlate data and identify patterns over longer periods of time, so you can predict when recurring maintenance will be necessary, and replace your default maintenance schedule with one based on real, reliable data. 

“I think ePVS is great; it gives us advance notice of things that may be wearing out. ePVS is giving our maintenance technicians opportunities to fix things before they break. It is giving us the ability to plan out our maintenance better. The analytics program shows me a bright future on what we can do and what the future holds for being able to be a proactive maintenance team rather than a reactive maintenance team.” –Kenny, Maintenance Manager. 



In one situation Dotson faced, they had a warning indication for “Sand Gate Close” operation. After investigating the history of sand gate close and several related operations, it was suggested that sand was clogging the sand gate. This was able to be fixed before any downtime incurred and decreased the cycle time from 3.9 seconds to .49 seconds. 

One of ePVS’s most praised features, is the ability to reveal hidden capacities. Envision’s detailed visual data helps the user gain better visibility quickly and bring lag times, production gaps and unused assets to light, revealing inefficiencies and opportunities for meaningful optimization that would otherwise remain hidden. The ePVS system paints a clear picture of how, when and where throughput can be increased, and how maximum production can be achieved.

Dotson has noticed improvements across the board since using ePVS. “What we have found with Sinto, is that the ability to understand the equipment is critical and really helps us leverage that data we have. We have seen a 10% improvement in our mold production. We have reduced our preventative maintenance time by 18%, which is huge for us, as it is making our techs more efficient. We have also decreased our downtime in that area by 15%. “It takes a lot of money to run a foundry on an hourly basis so any additional capacity we can gain, without adding hours, goes right to the bottom line.”” –Eric Nelson.

Dotson had many goals they wanted to achieve with implanting ePVS. One of their goals was to increase their production, without gaining any hours. Dotson needed their cycle time to be at 120 molds / hour to meet demand. Through Sinto’s Analytics program, Dotson was able to work together with a Sinto service Technician and Sinto Data Analyst to identify areas for cycle time reductions. The team was able to reduce cycle time by 5 seconds (over 14%) remotely.

By decreasing maintenance and machine issues, the quality of the product increases. Dotson has been able to be more productive in a shorter period of time. Shayne Pribyl works directly with the equipment and ePVS. Over the last year, he has seen a direct improvement in quality due to the machines being more consistent. “Sand quality, molding quality, pattern quality- ePVS helps all of it, in the sense that we can monitor on a daily basis the consistency of the machines. Producing high quality, consistent molds, while hitting the required number of molds daily, is great. ePVS can only continue improving everything we are working on from molding machines to the core room, everything that we can incorporate, the data is there. Being able to grab that data and see it immediately is a great benefit.”

Another improvement Dotson has seen, is with their production and line side monitors. Dotson wanted to improve line side pace awareness at all three of their lines. By utilizing ePVS, live production counts and targets are displayed at operator stations. This was able to improve mold output per shift by 5-6. 

When you implement the ePVS system, you also gain highly trained Sinto Data Analysts to work alongside you. Dotson has been able to share their workload in root cause analysis with Sinto’s team. During one study, Dotson was experiencing intermittent slow mold push out. A Sinto Data Analyst reviewed time history and compared to interrelated operations. It was found that a cylinder switch needed adjusting to accommodate an interlock with the mold handling system. This reduced group cycle by 20% and reduced maintenance hours required. 

Sinto believes that Industry 4.0 is paving the way for foundry manufacturing plants to succeed in the future. Sinto has helped Dotson achieve improvements in their production, downtime, cycle time, visual targets, maintenance scheduling and communication. “Sinto is there to walk with us side by side. So their ability to look at the equipment as we would see little blips from an analytical standpoint has been helpful. Their long term technicians have been able to help us quickly see the trends that we might not have seen otherwise. Sinto is one of the few manufacturers doing serious R&D in the foundry world. So that’s why we selected Sinto, why we partnered with Sinto and why we continue to work with them over time.”-Eric Nelson.
 

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