RCM Industries Featured in Foundry Management & Technology article

The following are excerpts from the Foundry Management & Technology article (www.foundrymag.com) Exceeding Expectations – All the way to 4.0 from February 1, 2022:

Exceeding Expectations – All the way to 4.0

An aluminum diecaster selected the best available ERP and found a way to expand its management and application of real-time data, to achieve operational efficiency.

Jim Eaton, Raiesh Reddy, Ethan Hamblen

.… RCM Industries made the right call 16 years ago when it subscribed to B&L Information Systems’ Odyssey ERP software, concluding it was “the best ERP system specifically tailored to the foundry and diecasting industry.”  As data automation in manufacturing became more and more important, RCM recognized that Odyssey offered the ability to integrate with third-party Industry 4.0 applications – and achieve a level of functionality that went well beyond their initial expectations.  Dan Twarog, RCM president, now describes Odyssey as “a great spreadsheet eliminator.”  Twarog, based on his previous experience as president of the North American Die Casting Association, saw opportunities to leverage Odyssey’s functionality to integrate data in real-time and across multiple plants.

Ethan Hamblen, executive vice president, referred to this advanced integration as “the flywheel effect”: “We now have a single source of data – from diecasting production, CNC machining, and finishing to outsourced services and even scrap. The more you use the data output from your ERP, the more the organization demands that data be input into the ERP.  “For the first time,” he continued, “it truly feels like we are operating as a single company, and not four different plants. Not only are we generating data in real-time, but we have the critical information we need to see the whole picture – the kind of actionable data essential to enhanced efficiency and profitability.”

RCM was able to achieve data automation by partnering with BGRI LLC., a vendor at the Machine Execution System (MES) level of Industry 4.0 (comparable to Level 3 in the ISA Standards.) BGRI’s Unifact product provided the ability to connect machine PLCs to Odyssey. Now, production data can flow directly into the ERP from the HPDC machines.  Hamblen noted that 10 years ago, the time required to input data was about 90 minutes per day per plant. “Since we’ve fully implemented the MES-Odyssey connection, that number is now zero – our production data flows directly from the PLC into Odyssey, updating very hour.”

The enhanced efficiency that RCM is enjoying goes beyond the base Odyssey ERP platform, which provides essential data for financials, purchasing, delivery, human resource allocation and sales. By integrating a robust MES system into the platform, RCM is able to monitor products currently being manufactured and send that data to other systems. Downtime, for example, is an important efficiency metric. RCM is capturing 100% of downtime because that data is coming directly from the machine signal.  “Now, we have the real-time data to stop machines faster and address any potential failures immediately. No more continuing to run machines in hopes that an operator saw the paper check sheet that indicated a failed inspection; no more loss of efficiency through inconsistencies in the production process or data generation,” Hamblen said.

According to Twarog, “Before, there was no consistency between plants, or even sufficient data within a single plant, to provide trustworthy information….  Now we have that confidence because we have real-time reality checks on how efficiently we are operating.”

“The bottom line,” he continued, “is maintaining that competitive edge. The casual user of an ERP system, like Odyssey, might be satisfied simply to have 10,000-foot information. We’re not. We want the most detailed information available in real time. What were our sales today? How much scrap did we have yesterday? What kind of total revenue have we generated? How much revenue was generated by each department? Whatever data we can access – from estimating and sales through production and delivery – that’s what we want. That’s what will make us a better, more efficient company.  Right now, we are probably ahead of our competitors in leveraging the data Odyssey provides. In time, I have no doubt other producers will have access to this kind of technology. But the real differentiator will be how they use this data.”

To read the entire article, please click on the following link –  https://www.foundrymag.com/simulation-it/article/21215648/exceeding-expectations-all-the-way-to-industry-40-bl-information-systems