Fast-growing luxury goods manufacturer Armac Martin used data from FourJaw’s machine monitoring software platform to confidently invest in new machinery to increase its production capacity and meet the demand for its range of luxury brass cabinet hardware.
About Armac Martin
Birmingham-based Armac Martin manufactures luxury brass cabinet fixtures and fittings for kitchens, bathrooms and bedrooms and is favoured by architects, interior designers, property developers and customers the world over.
Established in 1929, it is a fourth-generation family business that has grown through a continued programme of investment and a strong work ethic, today it operates around 20 CNC machines used for milling and turning and employs more than 120 people at their Birmingham-based facility.
Challenge - Squeezed production capacity slowing growth
The company’s strong reputation, high-quality product range and commitment to quality had resulted in a recent period of high demand and strong growth – but demand was outstripping supply and beginning to choke the production line.
The higher sales were welcomed but the management recognised that due to increased lead times they were in danger of not being able to fulfil orders and potentially losing sales, there was the added risk of this having a negative impact on its reputation.
The Armac Martin management team felt the business had more production capacity but had no quantifiable measure of where that capacity was. They felt that a machine monitoring solution would provide the answer and turned to FourJaw for support.
Armac Martin’s, Production Director, Rob McGrail.
"When we were looking for a machine monitoring solution, a key criteria for us was not just about the ease of deployment and software functionality, but it was equally important that they were based locally, in the UK and that they had a good level of customer support, both for deployment and on-going customer success. FourJaw ticked all of these boxes”.
Solution - Industry 4.0 machine monitoring drives a 14% uplift in machine utilisation
Very quickly the data highlighted which machines were being well-utilised and in high demand, and those that were under-utilised and whose function was becoming redundant. The data provided Armac Martin with clear visibility of the production schedule and machine capacities.
This knowledge gave them the confidence to sell one piece of under-used machinery and invest in a more appropriate machine that would meet the growing demands of their customers. The purchase of the new machine is expected to reduce the overdue raw material orders by more than 60 per cent.
The data also helped to inform the decision to stop delivering subcontract work and focus on the company’s direct and more profitable contracts.
Since FourJaw machine monitoring software has been installed on the Turning cell, the manufacturing machine data has shown that there is a steady upwards increase in machine utilisation, meaning the team at Armac Martin is getting more out of their existing assets by working smarter and more efficiently, as they can see what and where improvements need to be made in real-time that to the data coming from the machines within the cell.
Over the last 6 months, FourJaw machine monitoring software has enabled the Armac Martin Turning section to go from a 21.7% machine utilisation rate up to 35.8% today. That’s a massive increase of 14.1% utilisation, but even more impressively – in terms of capacity.
For example, in the time it would take Armac Martin to make 100 parts in April, the team are now able to make 165 parts, an increase of 65%.
The other exciting thing is it is continuing to trend up so they have plenty more upside to benefit from yet. This has all been achieved through the proactive work of the Armac Martin production team, engaging with the data and when required being supported by the FourJaw customer success team.
Optimising the shop floor and production processes
The data gained from FourJaw not only allowed Armac Martin to identify machines that were no longer being utilised, and swap these out for machines that would be, therefore increasing shop floor capacity, but as the data shows, they have got a significant increase in capacity from more efficient use of their existing machines.
In the milling section, the trend line became positive very quickly after FourJaw was introduced. But with training planned with shop floor operators, they expect this to improve at an even greater rate in the next few months.
The utilisation dashboard above shows the Milling section – it has a very similar upwards trend that has been experienced in the Turning cell, resulting in a shopfloor-wide productivity boost after FourJaw has been deployed.
FourJaw has given the team leaders on the shop floor more autonomy over managing their sections - no longer requiring management to tell them how they are doing. They can see detailed live and historical information all the time.
FourJaw is the company’s first step toward Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE). FourJaw is currently working with Armac Martin to deliver ERP integration, so it will become even more integrated into their systems, giving them a singly-joined-up view of their business.
FourJaw's Machine monitoring software has delivered a number of benefits including:
- 14% uplift in machine utilisation, they can now make 65% more products in the same timeframe
- The machine data gave Armac Martin the confidence to sell existing machines that weren’t’ being utilised and they bought new machines to improve their capacity
- Changed production model to focus on their own products
- Machine utilisation has driven behaviour changes that have positively impacted operator habits
- Milling and Turning machines all showing upwards utilisation trends
Production Director, Rob McGrail, commented:
“FourJaw's machine monitoring solution has helped to quantify our initial thinking and put some value to it so that we could make more-informed data-based decisions. The recent product enhancements have made FourJaw a solution that is delivering real benefit from the top floor to the shop floor, it’s the team’s operational tool”
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