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Leveraging IoT to Achieve Excellence in Manufacturing: the Trocellen case
While they expertly deliver innovation and quality to their customers, Callaway Golf’s previous planning and reporting tool wasn’t making the cut. To evolve their enterprise, the sports giant decided to replace their outdated planning software with SAP Analytics Cloud for planning.
Together with Avvale, Callaway Golf successfully implemented SAP Analytics Cloud across their global enterprise in just 6 months. Now, Callaway Golf has a single, consolidated planning solution that has enabled streamlined expense and asset plans so they can focus on what they do best– revolutionizing the sporting world with cutting edge equipment.
Trocellen is one of the leading manufacturers of cross-linked polyolefin foams, known for their advanced generation foams renowned for their exceptional thermal and acoustic insulation properties. Headquartered in Troisdorf, Germany, the company currently employs over 600 employees across 9 facilities and provides lightweight, sustainable, and high-quality solutions to 15 different industrial sectors.
When Trocellen approached Avvale, they had an ambitious digital transformation project in mind: to enhance the quality of production and shop floor operations by harnessing the potential of IoT solutions. The primary focus of this challenge was to measure the thickness of foams, a critical factor for a company engaged in the production of insulation materials. Foams have distinctive thickness variations depending on their composition and intended use. Therefore, ensuring the uniformity of their measurement throughout the entire semi-finished product was a fundamental quality assurance and waste reduction element.
Before Avvale's intervention, this data could only be determined ex-post on a specific batch or production, causing delays in corrective actions (and consequent resource waste). What was needed was a real-time monitoring tool that could track the thickness measurement ranges within predefined tolerance margins.
For this project, the client sought to leverage flexible microservices technology, specifically focusing on data collection from field measurement devices. Avvale, in collaboration with the client, designed a technological infrastructure based on Amazon Web Services. As part of the initial pilot phase, the project involved the intelligent integration of data collected from a feeler gauge.
The solution was developed in a phased approach: starting with an initial Proof of Concept (POC) in Italy, followed by subsequent roll-outs in Germany and Hungary. The digital transformation presented multiple challenges, including simplifying data collection from shop floor tools, ensuring seamless integration with AWS microservices, and developing a robust system for data processing and analysis.
To support the solution's expansion to different company locations, the Avvale team designed and implemented an extremely scalable, secure, and modular architecture.
To meet the client's needs, data from measuring calipers were collected using OPC UA technology, which collected 250 data points per caliper, twice a minute. This data was then sent to Amazon SiteWise and stored in a cloud system that provides two types of storage:
- Hot Tier: Ensured fast data access with a moderate cost and limited retention.
- Cold Tier: Offered slower data access but allowed for maximum data retention at a lower cost.
This setup allowed for maximum data availability in accordance with specific needs while ensuring proportional spending based on actual usage, both in terms of data volumes and accessibility.
After processing, the data was displayed on user-friendly dashboards for easy viewing and monitoring, thanks to integration with Grafana. Avvale's team also ensured integration with other systems through native APIs. A Lambda function, accessible via the API Gateway, converted the data into the format needed for SAP (REST API / JSON). Ultimately, the data was made ready for integration with data visualization platforms, such as MS Power BI, for any potential future needs.
Before integrating SAP Analytics Cloud, Callaway Golf's planning landscape centered around SAP's legacy planning solution, Business Planning and Simulation (BPS). While BPS met Callaway Golf's planning needs for many years, the enterprise began to experience limitations with their old solution:
- Disconnected plans across the board: As Callaway Golf expanded and acquired new brands, planning processes greatly differed across the enterprise with some business units using Excel spreadsheets and others using legacy solutions for planning.
- Outdated planning functionalities: The existing legacy planning solution lacked many modern functionalities. Among them, salary calculations and asset depreciation automation needed improvement. As a result, it became difficult to create detailed and accurate forecasts across the globe.
- Significant IT support: The legacy solution required continuous management from IT to maintain runtime. IT had to carve out a full day every week to manually maintain the solution.
- No single source of truth: Various departments and brands used different data sources, which led to data silos across the organization, making it difficult to gain a clear picture of the enterprise's planned expenses.
- Rigid user interface: Legacy forecasting system was difficult to navigate and lacked working functions and calculations across the board, such as planning on depreciation and existing assets, adding vendors or members on the fly, and breaking down their cost center expense planning forecasts.
With Avvale experts on their side, Callaway Golf laid out the following goals for their new planning landscape with SAP Analytics Cloud:
- Crowdsource and consolidate plans across the enterprise to gain a global overview of their planned expenses and expand the input capabilities to each responsible owner.
- Leverage elevated planning functionalities to create faster and more accurate forecast cost center expense and asset reports. The ability to customize calculations enhances and automates the reporting metrics.
- Harness the power of self-service analytics to alleviate IT from the burden of simple maintenance and data entry requests, so they can focus on high-ROI tasks.
- Maximize user-driven admin capabilities to control the management of calculations and forms.
- Create new KPls driven by the business needs.
When SEM-BPS was the center of Callaway Golf's planning landscape, flexibility was a huge factor that was missing. SAP Analytics Cloud contains powerful scenario planning capabilities that help organizations quickly uncover actionable insights to make data-driven decisions. For Callaway Golf, SAP Analytics Cloud's modern planning functionalities provided users with the ability to:
- Add members on the fly
- Plan on existing as well as planned assets and automatically calculate the depreciation of values
- Test "what-if" scenarios for deeper analysis by creating private versions of plans
- Customize the solution based on their current business process
- Perform driver-based calculations
- Empower users to execute end-to-end planning scenarios, without the help of IT
Thanks to the integration of measurement tools, our client has enhanced product quality control. They now receive precise and reliable real-time data on production performance. These insights have empowered Trocellen to proactively address challenges and optimize processes, swiftly identifying emerging issues and improvement opportunities.
The development of two dashboards, one for real-time monitoring and the other for retrospective reporting, delivers valuable information for both internal and external use. It enables quick responses to customer queries or complaints with tracked and documented data, providing a comprehensive view of critical metrics and performance indicators. This allows for trend identification, anomaly detection, and swift issue resolution, ultimately enhancing efficiency and productivity.
Furthermore, the platform has been structured for scalability across the entire production facility. Its flexibility extends its use beyond just thickness measurement, encompassing other machines within the plant. Lastly, through this platform, data is stored and archived, ensuring it's not lost, and enabling future analyses even on more complex, currently unforeseen scenarios.