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Preactor oils the smooth running of production at DAPSA
October 2010
dapsa01.pngDAPSA (Destilería Argentina de Petróleo S.A.) is a manufacturer of petroleum products including lubricants, greases and asphalts. The company’s oil lubricants and greases are mainly produced for the big petroleum companies in Argentina such as Repsol, Total, Fiat Lubricantes, Castrol, Agip, Esso, etc. with the remainder being used for their own brands. Preactor is used in the programming of the oil plant and it is expected to extend its use in the grease plant.

The installed capacity of the oil plant allows the production of 6,000 CM/month of lubricants (6,000,000 litres/month) and due to the variety of finished products the company has considerably in excess of storage 100 tanks ranging in capacity from 15,000 to 600,000 litres. Some of these tanks are used to store the base oils while others contain the final products in bulk which in turn feed a variety of packing lines that produce the commercially available products.

The process of mixing the base oils plus the addition of any special ingredients takes place in three blending resources that make use of different technologies: In Line Blending (ILB), Automatic Batch Blending (ABB) and Sequential Automatic Batch Blending (SABB). All tanks, blending resources and packing lines are connected by an intricate and extended array of pipelines and valves.
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The Preactor configuration used by DAPSA is modelled on a Preactor P400 due to the extensive use of customised logic that the company requires. Not only does Preactor have to manage the overlapping of operations when filling and emptying tanks, the system has also to make use of different routes depending on which blending resource is selected as well as take into account the Quality Control (QC) operations done before and after the packing process. Quality control prior to the packing process is of utmost importance due to very stringent customer requirements. Because of this, the Bill of Operations (BOO) of products has additional operations that can be activated in case an adjustment is required for a work order that has to be re-processed in order to obtain the correctly specified final product. Preactor also has to treat the myriad of connecting pipes as secondary resources (real restrictions at the time of the scheduling process) and enable valid scheduling paths only when there is an actual available connection between the relevant tanks.
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DAPSA had been using JDE as its ERP system but with limited use of the Manufacturing Modules and no use of Materials Requirement Planning (MRP) capabilities. This was overcome in Preactor including, for each manufactured product, its Bill of Materials with the quantity required for each of its components. In other words, the DAPSA configuration creates the equivalent of the Bill of Materials (BoM) file not presently available in JDE. Furthermore, as the company has more than one possible BoM per product, a custom facility was developed so that the planner can choose the correct BoM which have been named Master Formula, Alternative 1, etc.

The success of the implementation is the result of the DAPSA planning team working closely together with SIMLog Consultancy. Together they analysed DAPSA’s processes, defined the company’s standards and identified the best possible routes to manufacture each product using the correct selection of available tanks. Optimised set-up matrices were also developed for tanks and packing line resources that will receive final products and commercial products. For example if a light coloured oil is followed by a darker coloured one, set up times are minimised and there is no risk of contamination whereas the opposite is true if a dark coloured product is followed by a lighter one.

Oscar Ridecos former project leader of the Preactor implementation comments that, “with Preactor, scheduling of production in DAPSA has become a whole different ballgame.” Among other advantages of the use of Preactor, Oscar Ridecos recalls that the ability to reduce the risk of contamination and scrapped products has been one of the key justifying factors of the Preactor implementation. With a conservative estimate of a 50% reduction in scrapped products ensured a Return on Investment (ROI) in less than six months of using Preactor.
Now Oscar Ridecos has new responsibilities and Silvio Francioni has taken over the planning role at DAPSA. He is equally enthusiastic about the benefits that Preactor brings and enthuses that, “Preactor is a very professional tool that has relieved me of the tedious and laborious Excel sheets of the past.”

With the experience gained after implementation Silvio Francioni was convinced that the present DAPSA configuration could be refined in terms of the amount of details introduced into the model. Working closely together with Mariano Martinez, SIMLog senior developer, considerable progress has already been made in re-engineering DAPSA’s BoO with products previously defined with 140 operations for 9 possible routes now having only 74 operations for the same 9 routes. This will add flexibility and performance to the benefits already achieved in present planning process.

DAPSA is also undertaking a complete re-implementation of its JDE ERP system, including the manufacturing and MRP modules will be used which will in turn require an additional update of the Preactor interfaces but deliver the benefit of a lighter Preactor system.

Once this is complete, DAPSA will look to extend Preactor’s use into the Greases processing plant, confident that Preactor will deliver the same benefits to this area of the business.