Vahterus

The Finnish company Vahterus is a developer and global market leader in welded plate heat exchanger technology. The complex production is developed with the help of Pinja’s production data collection and control system Gema by Pinja.

The cooperation in brief:

A strong commitment to automation and digitalization

The investment in digitalization and automation is visible throughout the company, from design to manufacturing and the order-delivery process. Gema by Pinja was acquired to find a solution for monitoring customer-specific production.

Benefits from day-to-day management and long-term planning

The benefits brought by the system can be divided into two aspects: with production data collection system it is possible to make daily decisions that steer production to the right direction. Long-term monitoring data provides support for decision-making and investments.

Cooperation in the spirit of continuous development and improvement

In the future, the system is intended to serve production more extensively. Regular meetings and close communication facilitate the development of things.

A customized product poses challenges to production monitoring

According to Paavo Pitkänen, CTO at Vahterus, the developing and evolving company atmosphere is characteristic of Vahterus.

– We want to be pioneers in our industry. We strive to bring new technology to the heat transfer industry through our own product development and know-how. We are currently investing heavily in automation and digitalization, and it is visible throughout the company, from design to manufacturing and the order-delivery process, Pitkänen explains.

The investment in digitalization is also reflected in production. The Novi by Pinja maintenance system has been in use for a long time. In the spring of 2018, Pinja’s machine monitoring system Gema by Pinja was acquired. The system was used to find a solution for monitoring customer-specific production. The system provides information on machine operating hours and potential faults. Its data facilitates the development of operations, as a real-time and reliable overall picture of the production plant’s operations is obtained.

Gema has helped us take leaps forward in production monitoring and many things have become easier with the system. Our staff has also received the system with enthusiasm and it is felt that it benefits their work.

Tapio Pahikka-Aho, Automation Engineer, Vahterus

Machine tracking for up-to-date and reliable data to support decision making

The number of machines covered by the production data collection system has increased, and in the spring of 2021, Gema will monitor almost thirty machines.

– Gema has helped us take leaps forward in production monitoring. While the wide and varied product range continues to pose challenges, many things have become easier with the system. Our staff has also received the system with enthusiasm and it is felt that it benefits their work, automation engineer Tapio Pahikka-Aho says.

According to Pahikka-Aho, the users and usability of the system play a critical role when considering its benefits. No matter how good or comprehensive the system is, its benefits only come to the fore when its users are active. If the users do not feel at home in the system, there are no benefits.

Pitkänen and Pahikka-Aho share the view that the benefits brought by the system can be roughly divided into two aspects: a daily level and long-term development. When a production data collection system consistently collects data from production machines, it is possible to make daily decisions that steer production to the right direction. The identification of challenges and deviations is made easier with the help of up-to-date information.

Long-term monitoring data provides support for decision-making and investments. On an annual level, for example, you can see how much time is spent on non-production work, such as repairing machines or replacing tools. When the data is reliable, measures can be planned to improve or change things.

– We are naturally able to also monitor the operating hours of the machines. This gives us a real-time picture of their load and, if necessary, comparison data from other, similar systems. This serves as support for production planning and investment decisions, among others.

In the spirit of continuous improvement

The thoughts of both Pitkänen and Pahikka-Aho are in the future. They would also like to harness Pinja’s systems for quality monitoring.

– We are currently considering whether Gema could also serve us in quality monitoring in the future. Or how we can benefit from the fact that we already have the Novi maintenance system.

Marko Sormunen, Pinja’s Business Manager, quickly finds a conversational connection with them.

– Regular meetings have facilitated communication and development. Thought and ideas are easy to bring up when you have a regular time slot for them. And since Gema serves the needs of production in quite a variety of ways, I dare to promise that we will find a solution to these new needs as well, Sormunen states.

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