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Norbert Kytka, Headquarters PlattlingContact
Back in 2018, T.CON’s TRIM SUITE Version 2.0 was certified for SAP S/4HANA. This certification has now been renewed for Release 3.0 of the SAP Gold Partner’s optimization software. Awarded on August 30 2021, the certification is valid for three years, until August 30 2024.
The mill industries are a sector where the right cutting plan can yield enormous savings, for example by reducing waste and set-up costs. Drawing up a cutting plan manually can take hours, and still end up generating relatively high quantities of unnecessary waste. By contrast, TRIM SUITE can calculate an optimized cutting plan in a matter of minutes, including taking into account knife changes if required, and thereby also reducing set-up costs. Penalty costs are another factor that can help to ensure that system capacity is utilized as efficiently as possible.
The planning and trim optimization tool, developed by T.CON, integrates fully into SAP and works seamlessly with detailed scheduling modules in the SAP system – SAP Advanced planning and Optimization, production planning and SAP S/4HANA.
TRIM SUITE was originally designed for a particular use case: planning trim schedules for reels, and the tool is able to optimize even for highly complex cutting scenarios with large numbers of knives. However, T.CON has found that its various customers have numerous other use cases for the software.
For example: cutting to size. Many of T.CON’s customers don’t just produce jumbo reels or reels of film to sell on to other companies. They produce reels that they then process and cut to size themselves.
“The challenge in this model,” explains Dr. Gerhard Göbel, T.CON’s Senior Consultant responsible for TRIM SUITE “is that we need to view the optimization as an overall scheme. We can’t optimize just for the cross cutter or just for the sheeter. What’s needed is an integrated solution – a schedule that optimizes for both elements simultaneously. This overall view is essential if we are to achieve maximum efficiency benefits.”
The incorporation of Multistage TRIM means that TRIM SUITE users can now plan and optimize over two or more units at the same time, instead of being limited to local optimizations. Some of T.CON’s customers already have multistage scenarios of this kind in action. For example, one specialist paper manufacturer is using a bobbin trim; another, a film manufacturer, is using the system to optimize the trim of very small reels. Once again, the idea is that the schedulers can optimize over multiple stages, so that optimization goals are achieved simultaneously at each cutting stage.
A further use case that T.CON has built into TRIM SUITE is ideal for the production of corrugated board, a mill industry sector that is currently on the rise due to the e-commerce boom. The new use cases cover optimization for special formats: the keyword here is “multiplex aggregate” – a production method in which several layers are processed simultaneously to form the corrugated board. All, of course, with the optimum trim.
Another topic gaining in importance is ‘quality trim’. Some of T.CON’s customers record defects in their master reels during production, marking locations that have holes or other defects such as dirt. Using TRIM SUITE to create cutting plans enables these companies to get the maximum out of these reels. The locations that have quality issues are taken into account when planning the trim.
What’s more, this digital quality data harbors potential for another optimization dimension: a customer using TRIM SUITE can log quality characteristics of their reels using a digital tool such as a camera, giving them many more data points than if they were to attempt the task manually. This information can be used for purposes beyond optimizing cutting plans. For example, the company can identify where recurring errors can be associated with, say, a particular workstation, and model their effects. This means they have data for ascertaining whether a particular quality issue is so severe that the machine needs to be taken offline for maintenance. The model might indicate that in fact it is still profitable to keep manufacturing through to the next scheduled maintenance slot, despite the quality issues.
“We are working constantly to improve TRIM SUITE and implement new optimization scenarios,” says Dr. Gerhard Göbel. “Companies can make use of all these innovations, fully integrated in their SAP systems.” The SAP Integration and Certification Center (SAP ICC) has certified that TRIM SUITE 3.0 can be fully integrated into SAP S/4HANA using standard technologies.