Rion’s Molds Department upgrades with new tablets!

In the competitive environment characterizing the plastics industry there’s not much room for error. In order to reduce production malfunctions and facilitate the transmission of important information on the way to its destination, Rion invested in an infrastructure that will serve us for many years to come. What is this all about?
December 29, 2022

The ability to process and analyze information in real-time has grown increasingly significant wherever you look. Our recent flight abroad would not have been possible without immediate data analysis performed by automatic systems installed on passenger planes and monitored by a skilled and trained professional crew. This approach holds even more true in the industrial and production world, and indeed the term industry 4.0 is now a commonly used term even in traditional industries such as the plastics industry. Increasingly more tasks are being digitized, and over time there appears to be agreement regarding the advantages of integrating advanced data systems on the production floor.

Management information systems are not alien to Rion. In fact our entire production process is managed using PRIORITY software that was integrated into the organization several years ago. The software facilitates efficient production and enables management of all plant activities, using forecasts in order to prepare in advance. However, sometimes even a smart and multi-feature system does not know everything – after all, it is based on data, and not all data is collected automatically. To achieve optimal management of production activity the issue of data collection efficiency cannot be overlooked.

Cumbersome data entry

“It all began with an annoying occurrence, and after its investigation it turned out that very important information simply had not reached the right people on time”, recounts Ronen Rave, head of our Molds Department. “The integration of PRIORITY at Rion was a welcome turning point, but we encountered a weak point – after all, work in the Molds Department continued to be performed with paper, and with data updated in the computer system after the fact. Another disadvantage was the cumbersome way in which we transmitted visual information such as pictures and videos, which are highly valuable in the Molds Department. This situation drove us to find a solution that would simplify the flow of information in the organization”.


Partners in the IT Department

“We began to wonder whether entering data through the mobile phone could be a practical solution to our problem. After all, some of the needed information already flowed as a matter of routine on the WhatsApp application, mainly visual data. I discussed this with Hila – the manager of our IT Department, and she took up the challenge. Very quickly we understood that the mobile phone screen could not meet our needs, and Covid-19, which we also experienced, provided inspiration in the form of a reporting application we used at the time. Omer Ben-David, the Operations Manager in the Molds Department, together with Shai Meir from the IT Department, headed the development of the PRIORITY interface for tablets.”

“We began to work on a dedicated application for tablets, which would directly interface with the PRIORITY software. The PRIORITY Mobile Application Generator we acquired helped us develop new screens and tailor them for a tablet display”, recounts Hila. “There were several technical challenges of integrating PRIORITY to the tablet’s Android interface, as well as several trial-and-error rounds that focused on the visual aspects of the electronic forms that were created. Finally, we carried out a pilot, parallel to work conducted using the regular system, in order to bring the new tool to a satisfactory operational level. As part of the pilot we enabled a connection to the tablet camera in order to facilitate adding visual information when opening a service call. At the same time, the presence of the tablets, and the changed work routine they brought to the Molds Department, also injected enthusiasm on the production floor”.

Beyond working online

“The transition to working with the tablets created a huge change. It was not only the equipment, or the software interface. The important information found at the tip of the fingers of the Molds Department employees helps them provide answers based on information – in real time. This ability immeasurably raised their professional self-confidence”, notes Ronen, and he adds: “Under the old system, every malfunction also included a cumbersome examination of the details. You had to access the documents, review the history of the specific mold, the treatment it had undergone and other further details… Now all this information can be immediately retrieved from the tablet. The process of opening a service call is now also immediate, and the mere opening of a call inputs the information needed for the PRIORITY system, including pictures and videos if necessary. This is a real revolution – no less”, he emphasizes.

And what now?

“The successful start in the Molds Department reverberated throughout the organization, and now other departments also want their own digitization plans”, explains Hila. “We are currently in the midst of work with the Maintenance and the Inserts departments. Going forward we will work with the warehouses, the Raw Materials Department and the Quality Department. Our plan is to integrate dozens more tablets by the end of 2023”.

Investment in digital means is not cheap, but offers significant advantages that provide a return above and beyond the one-time expense. Quick and efficient work, information that flows smoothly and without barriers, and even employees who feel confident – are all invaluable assets, and at Rion we embrace them with both hands.

On the right – entering and retrieving data in real-time, as part of ongoing work on the production floor. On the left – attaching a video or an image when opening a service call, as an integral part of the ongoing work.