A tool for profitability

23 April 2019

EnTaPa Consulting sl, of Valladolid in Spain, has developed PST 4.0, an auxiliary production tool aimed at improving the profitability of panel plants. Bernardo Alvarez de Prado of EnTaPa Explains

Modern panel plants have been built with the latest degree of digitalisation and most of them try to carry out continuous development to integrate new functionalities and sub-systems to improve the process monitoring conditions.

This helps the customer to take full advantage of the integrated process automation system.

The next step in digitalisation is to find ways to improve the profitability of the plants, that is their performance, by analysing the huge volume of production data which is available in any panel manufacturing plant today.

EnTaPa's long-term experience in the management of MDF plants – and a good knowledge of the process and automation systems – gave us the opportunity to develop our new production tool, which allows visualisation of the actual performance of the plant.

Depending on the level of efficiency in the plant, we believe that the application of this tool can yield savings of up to 10% in production costs.

Our company has developed an advanced analytical tool, which is designed to improve machine performance, and to visualise any deviation from standard parameters, thus giving the plant operator the opportunity to correct those deviations.

We have named this tool PST 4.0 

PST 4.0 - How it works

PST 4.0 is an advanced control and product development tool designed for use by the control room operator, the production personnel and the line supervisor.

It consists of a large computer screen in the most visible place in the production control room for the panel line. This screen can then visualise the key technological parameters of the manufacturing process.

As with most Industry 4.0 systems, the screen can also be accessed remotely from any mobile or fixed device which is suitably authorised.

Initially, it gives a 'map' of values and the range of variations (receipts) of specification when the parameters for each type of panel have been introduced into the system.

There is also an automatic and continuous feedback to the system of the test results on the panels which have been carried out in the laboratory.

Functions of the Screen tool

• Triggers an alarm when the wood fibre general parameters are out of the preset values: eg humidity, temperature, density of fibre mat, etc, and suggests an adjustment to the production line

• Triggers an alarm when the main production parameters for the actual production panel are out of the preset values (receipt) for panel density, resin and chemical consumption, press factor, press temperature, etc, and again suggests an adjustment

• It will display the Internal bond value of the actual panel in production, through a predictive calculation carried out by means of a built-in mathematical algorithm, with the parameters and test results of the panels produced at that factory. These values are continuously monitored and compared with the preset values introduced into the system (panel receipts), giving the opportunity to adjust possible deviations accordingly

• It also gives visualisation of the actual material consumption figures for wood, resin and energy, which are compared with the receipt values and suggest the possibility to make an adjustment to the process. The purpose is to cut raw material and energy costs, minimise unforeseen shut-downs, and to reduce second-quality panel production

• Finally, it provides a global visualisation of the process alarms: eg fire risk, temperature, compressed air pressure, effluents etc.

The system records, once per second, all values of the parameter test results, being able to easily and immediately visualise the evolution of the parameters that are decided in the selected period. This file can serve as a database to be used in developments such as Big-Data, machine learning, movable algorithms, and so on.

We believe that the PST 4.0 Tool is a reliable guide towards profitability in panel plants.