Elkem Silicones organises multi-site application maintenance around DIMO Maint MX26 January 2022

Silicone producer Elkem Silicones offers a range of technologies to fields including aeronautics, automotive, construction, consumer products, energy, healthcare, stationary, personal hygiene and textiles.

In terms of maintenance, as each site has specific features. A unifying project was developed at group and division level taking into account a considerable amount of existing variables: use of SAP, multitude of external service providers, monitoring shutdowns and failures, large equipment and taking normative challenges into account (ISO 9001, 14001, 13485, 50001, cGMP).

The industrial applications manager for the whole division says that there are a multitude of medium-sized and small sites with smaller teams which need application maintenance and simplified stock management. The Joinville Elkem Silicones site in Brazil served as a pilot to develop detailed specifications for multi-site deployment.

The project team chose DIMO Maint MX computer maintenance management system (CMMS) because of its integrated nature: the team is therefore buying a service with mobility and tried and tested application features, Elkem said. It added: the cloud solution is easy to implement and there is a whole panel of features available instantly. Finally, the budget was taken into account: an optimised product was needed without superfluous features.

Four major points were expected from the digitalisation of maintenance, in particular to reduce technicians’ unavailability, improve product quality and anticipate preventive actions:

1. Traceability and cost control: better visibility in terms of planning work and its cost, equipment and stocks
2. Improving the reliability of maintenance by automating tasks and developing a preventive approach
3. More efficient activity by accelerating daily processes and improving machine availability
4. Security guaranteed by easy access to information (feedback and machine documentation).

Carrying out application maintenance for many small group sites was problematic because of SAP’s lack of flexibility, which prevented certain processes from being digitalised. Lean methodology, in particular the ‘As Is To Be’ model implemented by Ulysse Chalvon-Demersay enabled Elkem to design comprehensive specifications based on the observations of the Brazilian maintenance technician, listing everything that could be improved or removed. A call for tender emphasised flow processing.

The Joinville Elkem Silicones site in Brazil was used for the pilot from March 2020. For the EMEA part, deployment then took place in Germany (October 2020), Italy (December 2020) and is scheduled in Spain for 2021.

“The idea is that each site will operate with the same base and with specific configurations if necessary. We are not starting from zero at each launch: the Brazilian base has been translated and adapted,” explained the Elkem Silicones applications manager, who was not named.

Work order management served as a starting point for Leno da Silva. The maintenance manager explained that the five maintenance technicians processed 800 work orders per year in all fields (mechanics, electrics, instrumentation, automation, welding, etc.). He had many expectations: reduction of losses, corrective maintenance and machine failures; improved communication. He needed a flexible and intuitive CMMS to manage equipment and stocks, monitor performance via indicators, mobility and the possibility of carrying out regular updates.

In Germany, the Lübeck site handles many operations involving chemicals. In compliance with QHSE regulations, its maintenance and security operations must be tracked. There were multiple challenges: information relating to preventive maintenance and security checks was scattered across several Excel files, using lots of paper. The operation needed an overview of the workloads and the stock levels as well as to optimise the management of paper and electronic media, and define KPIs.

Work order management and the associated costs were also critical points for Michael Farjat, production manager at the German site. “Maintenance was carried out by external partners, in particular in terms of the preventive and curative aspects, as well as the compulsory settings on machines and laboratory equipment and building management. The CMMS has proven to be very flexible and easy to use when roaming. The implementation required coordination with all the sites and collecting and formatting data. DIMO support’s expertise was a great aid, without affecting normal service operation”.

The Elkem Silicones applications manager observed first of all that the stock management features adequately met the initial requirement. Sites can make purchase requests directly in the CMMS. “In DIMO Maint MX, we know the stock status. The solution is above all much more functional than Excel, where you cannot do MRP or set alerts”. Furthermore, the orders part, the work requests, preventive maintenance and the operational technology (OT) flow now provide great visibility over the maintenance activities, he added.

Furthermore, there are multiple benefits for Elkem Silicones’ international sites: Dimo support has enabled them to convert the original Excel data transparently. Stock management has been improved and the Brazilian entity now has a clear overview of the allocation of its resources, Elkem reports.

The maintenance department now relies on equipment analysis tools for its preventive maintenance using reliable data. It is also envisaging locking and labelling tracking features, as well as the study of energy measurements.

Elkem Silicones adds that in Germany, it can see many improvements for preventive maintenance and spare parts management, as well as the monitoring of work orders and access to documentation. The CMMS has proven to be very flexible and easy to use when roaming, it judges.

Now, Elkem Silicones is studying connectivity to SAP in the medium term, in particular for the costs and budget analysis aspects. Data extraction via a Power BI connector will enable it to give users control so they can create their own reports. KPIs can then be integrated into more general dashboards to offer a greater overview of maintenance activities on a group scale.

Operations Engineer

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