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OMRON Switches to Preactor to Schedule its Mould Department
February 2004

Omron Malaysia Sdn BhdOmron Corporation is one of the world’s leading electronic automation equipment companies.  Based in Shiokoji Horikawa, Japan, Omron has to their name a string of developments that have revolutionized our lives, including several incredible worlds’ firsts: non-contact proximity switch, automatic traffic signal, ticket vending machine & fully automated train station system, automatic cancer cell diagnostic equipment, and on-line cash dispenser. Omron makes significant contributions in a wide variety of fields such as industrial automation, home appliances & office equipment, automobiles, social & financial systems, and healthcare.

In January 1973 Omron Malaysia Sdn Bhd (OMB) was established.  The Malaysia plant is principally involved in the manufacture of top quality electronic components such as relays and sockets to be distributed worldwide under the brand name of “OMRON”.

More than 25 years later, having enjoyed a fantastic working relationship and shared the view of the potential prosperity and development of the country, OMB has expanded its operations steadily and at present has 4 buildings situated at Sungai Way Free Industrial Zone with a total combined workforce of 1,200 employees.

OMB is principally involved in the manufacture of relays and sockets.  These are key components for advanced home appliances, factory automation, and office automation equipment.  These include relays which are used in appliances and equipment such as personal computers, television sets, video cassette recorders, air-conditioners, facsimile machines and photocopiers as well as communication relays which are used in telephone exchanges.

To meet the high standard of product quality, OMB relies on advanced technology and a rationalized production system and Preactor forms an important part of this.  Their decision to implement a Preactor 300 FCS system in the mould manufacturing department was timely and important as their production volume were steadily increasing. Apart from producing moulds, this department also manufactures mould spares and undertakes repairs but due to a heavy work load most of the initial processes are sub-contracted. Subsequent operations are carried out in-house and on a wide variety of equipment as each mould and spare part has a different process routing.

One of the major issues is that routing can mean that the same job will go through the same machine more than once. In addition there is often an unexpected demand for spare parts that could interfere with the progress of new moulds.  Rescheduling was difficult and tedious since the spare parts requirement changed all the time. List of processing performance paper reports needed to be printed out frequently during the working hours in order to keep track of work-in-progress. OMB realized that using a spreadsheet along with working time reports would not help in truly displaying their actual schedule because of the frequent changes that occurred.

The Preactor implementation took a few months due to the data compilation and verification and the complexity of product routings, but the results more than justified the investment with a dramatic improvement in the accuracy and reliability of schedule generation.

Preactor’s graphical planning and scheduling tool allowed the department to provide instant and updated information to management and production.  Furthermore, the high-speed simulation functionality of Preactor allowed the production planner to run and test forecast and spot orders for future planning.

Future phases include the installation of Preactor Viewers with data collection devices on the shop floor that will eliminate the manual keying in of data from production staff. This would greatly improve the accuracy of the schedule and reports.