Berkshire-based PSL Datatrack’s
‘Sequential Scheduler’ module, which is designed to calculate start and end dates for all process operations associated with a specific works order, has been updated. Users of the module now have the option to manage machine setter availability to create a more precise production schedule and provide customers with more informed delivery information.
Previously, the timing calculations were based on machine capacity or target dates for job completion and did not take into consideration the availability of machine setters. This enhancement addresses a problem that can be faced in the machine shops of sub-contract precision engineering companies where the challenge is to balance the workload of shopfloor staff.
They may need to assign a certain setter to a specific setting task because of experience with certain jobs or particular machine tools, or simply not have the resources to operate a ‘one setter to one machine’ policy.
Using job priority levels as part of a full PSL Datatrack production control software system, the calculated schedule will now overcome situations where a particular machine setter might need to attend more than one machine simultaneously. The order of work through the machine shop can be more efficiently managed, meaning staff have a clear plan of their workload and upcoming jobs.
If a machine becomes available for a particular works order but the setter is already in the process of setting another machine, the Sequential Scheduler will recognise that the task must wait for that setter to become available. When scheduling with a specified setter, the system first looks for cost centre capacity then checks for setter availability on the same day.
If the setter is not available the system moves to the next day and repeats the check on cost centre and setter availability. If the setter is available but for less hours than the machine, the remaining hours are zeroed for that day on the basis it cannot be used for anything else until the set-up is complete. This cycle repeats until the setup can be completed.
The ‘Sequential Scheduler Listing Screen’, ‘Gantt Chart’ report and ‘Work To’ lists have also been updated to provide clear visibility of scheduled setters. With the scheduling of production no longer based purely on machine availability this new update represents another step on the ladder of continuous improvement for many sub-contract precision engineering organisations.
PSL Datatrack customer Technoset Ltd
are already reaping the benefits of this new feature. Operations director, Adam Land, said: “The update enabling us to assign a setter to a works order has been a game-changer. Quite often our schedule would require a setter to be in two places at the same time but now, using the option to review machine and person availability, a more realistic and achievable schedule is created.”
He concluded: “When we view this in a Gantt Chart format, the order of work is clearly visible to both management and the shopfloor and is perfectly sequential. We aim to become a paperless production environment in the next two years with digital status boards, schedules and Shop Floor Data Collection (SFDC) already in place.”