Injection Molding – Why digital transformation of the shop floor is a must-have

Shop Floor

We believe that shop floor employees in manufacturing companies should have access to exactly the information they need at the specific time they need it, to do their jobs properly. A clear example of where improved access to operating information makes a big difference to outcomes, can be found in the injection molding industry. It’s an industry where profit margins are low and every penny, every cent, matters.

I’m Tilo Schultz. At TimeSeries, I’m in charge of digital solutions for our manufacturing clients. We know the injection molding industry well!

Molding – A challenging business

If you’re in the business of injection molding, you’ll be all too aware of the commercial challenges! Making a profit requires efficient, volume production of high quality components. Efficiency is vital and mistakes quickly eat into the bottom line.

As a manager, you probably recognize that some things in the factory could certainly be better. For example, perhaps you see problems like these:

  • Employees not adhering to procedures because they either don’t know them, forget them or prefer to take risky shortcuts
  • Procedures being outdated, not present or unclear. Or procedures being poor with lessons from the past going unlearned and mistakes being repeated.

Imagine if you could resolve these issues, and do so quickly and cost-effectively. Well that’s where TimeSeries comes in.

Where’s that mold set-up sheet again?

At TimeSeries, we work closely with injection molding firms on digital transformation. In my own injection molding career, I’ve seen time and time again how shop floor crews are reliant on snippets of information being held in multiple different formats, often simply on paper, in people’s heads or across multiple Excel or Word documents. Records can be hard to track, are often incomplete and can easily be lost. 

With crews under pressure to jump into action and locating accurate and up-to-date information on processes and procedures a hassle, line-setup is sometimes not precisely to standards, not following best practise or is inefficiently performed. The results can be severely damaging to Overall Equipment Efficiency (OEE) and profitability.

TimeSeries has the answer…

Enter TimeSeries Paperless Shop Floor. With TimeSeries Paperless Shop Floor, manufacturing firms have a scalable, single repository and easy-to-follow multimedia guide for teams to check production is compliant and that processes are performed properly and efficiently. Built by TimeSeries and Siemens in the Mendix low-code software development environment (owned by Siemens), it can easily be customized for each customer’s unique requirements.

Sure, you could instead look for an off-the-shelf software package (but there aren’t any specific to injection molding), or you could hire a developer to build you an app (but that would take months, be expensive and risky). The beauty of TimeSeries Paperless Shop Floor being a SaaS solution and built using Mendix (not traditional code-based techniques), is that it’s really malleable in the hands of one of our qualified Mendix application developers. We can rapidly develop and add new features as our molding community requests them. 

A customer example – TKW Molding

Recently we worked with the German firm TKW Molding. We tailored and implemented TimeSeries Paperless Shop Floor for TKW to provide every member of its injection molding team with customer-agreed and efficient procedures for mold and machine set-up, for start-up and manufacturing. It also allows TKW to audit for and prove adherence, if required. All the information needed is held in a single easy to maintain application that is accessible via laptops, tablets and phones. TKW went live with the first element in March 2021, with others then following.

Quoted in our case study, the managing director of TKW Molding is particularly pleased with results. He said: “Working with TimeSeries as our partner, our digital transformation of shop floor compliance processes continues to be a great success with breathtaking speed.”

Broad range of modules

Paperless Shop Floor is just one module within our injection molding suite. We also offer a communication module to help reduce waiting times and speed workflows, a smart warehousing module for better tracking and location of materials, and a module that shares with your supply chain unified information on stocks which can be shared with both suppliers and customers.

There are also modules for automated scrap prevention, product traceability, predictive maintenance, employee shift rostering and more. Visit the TimesSeries Injection Molding  page for more details.

Expected benefits

As evidenced at TKW and other TimeSeries customer sites, some of the main benefits to be won from TimeSeries Paperless Shop Floor include procedural compliance in day to day operations, improved OEE thanks to more reliable shop floor workflows and reduced frequency of customer claims and rejects (i.e less scrap and re-work). Ultimately, it helps you maintain high quality standards, efficient production and avoid unexpected knocks to profitability.

Oh, and as I mentioned earlier, TimeSeries Paperless Shop Floor runs in the Cloud as a SaaS solution. There’s only a low up-front cost and the financial benefits flow right from the go-live date (it’s also available on-premise if you prefer). And we connect to your back-end systems too, like ERP, via programmer interfaces (APIs). Finally, TimeSeries Paperless Shop Floor also integrates with MindSphere, the Siemens IIoT platform.

What do you think? I’d love to talk injection molding with you. Do get in touch.

Transforming Manufacturing in injection molding

Watch our on demand webinar about digital transformation in the injection molding industry.

April 1, 2021
Tilo Schultz