The Benefits of Cloud Software

The way companies buy software has changed dramatically over the years. Companies used to purchase software that included an array of programs, ranging from maintenance to product inventory. The downfall is that these programs are often pricey and can take years to install. In addition, software with multiple programs may be strong in certain areas but weak in other important areas.

Today’s recommendation is to get your software from the cloud. You have countless options to choose from and can order specialized software that fits your company’s specific needs. And when you subscribe from the cloud, you are not locked into using the software. If you discover the software is not working for you, just unsubscribe and try another. The best part is that your IT department does not need to be heavily involved in the process, they just need to approve it.

So, the next time you need new software, consider looking to the cloud to find the product you need at a price that fits your budget.


How Thrive Collects a Downtime Event

Thrive Downtime Collection software tracks the heartbeat of the line. When the line stops, we start a timer. When it starts running again, we stop the timer then deliver a downtime event to the operator to assign a reason code via any internet enabled device; tablet, desktop, etc. We also track the line’s production output by counting units, feet, pounds or the appropriate unit of measurement.

Thrive can connect with multiple machines. When the line’s heartbeat stops, we check all three machines to see which went down first, then we automatically assign the reason. We still encourage operators to provide detail for the reason by assigning a second or third level reason code with an optional comment.

Our software can also accept alarm codes from your PLCs via ModbusTCP or ethernet/IP. This allows your machine’s PLC to automatically assign a reason code based on the type of alarm triggered.

OEE Metrics

Measuring overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) has become the ideal way for determining how much of the manufacturing time is productive. By eliminating downtime, increasing production and improving product quality, measuring OEE has become crucial for companies focusing on lean manufacturing.

But just how exactly do you calculate OEE? There are three main metrics that determine OEE: availability, performance and quality.

This is the amount of time your equipment is running during a scheduled shift, taking into account all planned and unplanned stops during production time. When calculating availability, a score of 100% means production never stops, which is ideal in lean production.

To calculate OEE availability, use the simple equation:
Run Time/Planned Production Time

The amount of stops and idle time your production system has determines your performance score. A score of 100% means that production is always running at max speed. To calculate OEE performance, use the equation:
Actual Production/Ideal Production

While availability and performance measure how fast and how often your manufacturing process is working, quality measures how many usable parts are being produced. It’s ideal to have 100% of parts usable at the end of production.

To determine your quality score, use the equation:
Good Parts/Total Parts

Putting it All Together
Once you have measured availability, performance and quality, calculating your OEE score can be accomplished with the following equation:
Availability x Performance x Quality = OEE

A score of 100% means that all parts of the manufacturing process are running efficiently at all times.

But what if your score is not 100%? What if you discover that your production process is not very efficient at all?

By measuring all parts of the manufacturing process individually, calculating OEE helps you see which areas of the manufacturing process need improvement. If you are producing quality parts, but do so at a slow rate, you know that you need to improve performance. If machines are constantly running, but half your parts are not usable, you know that you need to focus on improving quality.

That is what makes OEE metrics so valuable. In addition to showing how efficient your manufacturing process is, it also shows you which areas can be improved upon.

Change the Way Your Employees Think Rather Than Work

Reduce your changeover time by changing the way your employees think rather than the way they work, says Ron Heiskell, president of ReducedEffort.

Reducing changeover downtime can be a daunting task for both workers and managers. Many don’t even know where to begin. Ron Heiskell, president of ReducedEffort, suggests starting with changing the way people think about changeovers instead of focusing on how people work. He calls it a “pit stop mentality.”

NASCAR pit crews have reduced the amount of time a car sits idle during a pit stop by 99 percent. Pit crews still jack the car up, replace the lug nuts and change four tires, but have reduced pit stop times—NASCAR’s version of changeover downtime—from four minutes down to 13 seconds.

Just as a race car loses position when it makes a pit stop, your company is losing profits when your machines aren’t running. By changing the way people think of downtime instead of how they work, you too can achieve a reduction in changeover downtime.


Frequently Asked Questions: OEE

What is OEE?
OEE stands for overall equipment effectiveness and is the best standard for measuring the effectiveness of any manufacturing process by identifying how much of the manufacturing time is productive.

What determines OEE?
Three factors are measured when determining OEE: availability, performance and quality.

What is availability?
Availability shows how efficient production is during planned production time. It considers all equipment failures (unplanned stops) as well as setup and adjustments (planned stops). A score of 100% means production never stops.

What is performance?
Performance is the measurement of idle time and small stops. If performance is at 100%, then production is always running at max speed.

How is quality determined?
Quality is determined by subtracting the number of defective parts that are produced from the number of quality parts that are produced. A quality score of 100% means that none of the parts produced need to be scrapped or repaired.

How can I determine my OEE?
Overall OEE can determined through the simple equation:
Availability x Performance x Quality = OEE
In order to execute this equation, you must also determine the percentages of your availability, performance and quality.

How can I determine availability?
To determine availability, use the equation:
Run Time/Planned Production Time = Availability

How do I determine quality?
To determine quality, use the equation:
Good Parts/Total Parts = Quality

How do I determine my performance score?
Performance can be determined by using the following equation:
Actual Output / Standard Output

What events hurt my OEE score?
Production slowdowns and stoppages, along with quality rejections, are obvious. Other events such as shift changes and lunch breaks can have a negative impact if you are expecting to have production continue during those times.

Does shutting down the plant have a negative effect on OEE?
No. Plant shutdowns (including holidays and time periods where there are no shifts scheduled) are not included in determining OEE.

What are the most common ways production is lost?
There are six main ways production is reduced. Commonly referred to as the six big losses, they include: unplanned stops, planned stops, small stops, slow cycles, production rejects and startup rejects.

How can tracking OEE help my company?
By tracking your OEE, you will be able to see which areas of production are running efficiently and which areas need improvement. This will allow you to focus on improving those areas, which will  increase your OEE score and level of production.

What is TEEP?
TEEP stands for total effective equipment performance and measures the maximum amount of production capable of being produced.

What is the difference between OEE and TEEP?
OEE measures the amount of time you are productive during planned productive time and TEEP measures the maximum capacity that you can manufacture if you operated 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In other words, TEEP shows you how much your operation could potentially produce if it runs non-stop.

How can OEE be improved?
There are multiple ways OEE can be improved, but the most popular way is through lean manufacturing.

What is lean manufacturing?
Lean manufacturing strives to reduce processes that add no value to the product being built. This means cutting out unnecessary stops and idle time. OEE was created as a way of improving lean manufacturing.

How can I use OEE to my advantage?
The best way to use OEE to your advantage is to fix the troublesome areas of the manufacturing process. To do this, you need to identify the trouble areas, determine how to fix them, and execute that plan. Once the problem is resolved, your OEE score will improve and so will your production.


Thrive tracks both performance and uptime. Uptime is a major metric for the maintenance team, as their role is to keep the line up. In this video, we’ll teach you how to access Thrive’s real-time uptime reporting.

Heartbeat – Explained

Thrive refers to a “heartbeat” signal to determine line up or line down.

The heartbeat is an electrical signal tied directly into the PLC to terminal 1 or terminal 5 on the PLC input card.

The heartbeat is ran directly from the manufacturing line and will give the PLC a “0” or “1” to determine line up or line down.


The signal could be tied into a conveyor system. When the conveyor stops the line is considered down and we receive a “0” to the heartbeat input. When the conveyor is running we receive a “1” which tells us the line is currently running.