How a Toyota supplier saved $1 million by updating its tech infrastructure

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AWNC upgraded the tech infrastructure in its Durham, NC manufacturing facility.

Image: Cisco/AWNC

AW North Carolina (AWNC) has spent about $1.2 million to replace its Wi-Fi protection and community firewall and to put in a Cisco converged infrastructure resolution in its Durham, NC manufacturing facility. In the primary 9 months of operation the brand new gear has already saved the corporate $1 million in upkeep prices.

Even higher, about 40% of the financial savings can be ongoing and realized yearly, stated John Peterson, IT plant supervisor for AWNC. AWNC is a subsidiary of Aisin AW, a significant world computerized transmission producer positioned in Anjo City, Japan that operates 200 factories worldwide.

AWNC’s 1.Three million-square-foot manufacturing facility provides Toyota with greater than 600,000 transmissions yearly. There’s little room for downtime, however like many manufacturing vegetation, the present gear was dated. The common age of producing belongings and gear in any respect US factories is near 20 years outdated, in line with the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

SEE: High-tech bacon making utilizing industrial IoT at SugarCreek (TechRepublic)

AWNC wanted a strong know-how infrastructure, as indicated by Peterson’s expertise when he joined the corporate.

“I started here at AW in January of 2016 and literally on my first day of work here the phone system collapsed,” Peterson stated. “It was quite a first day, that’s for sure. As I started to explore the rest of the infrastructure associated with the facility, it was very clear, very quickly that the infrastructure was not keeping current with where the world had gone.”

Downtime at AWNC prices $172,000 an hour, so it is essential to get techniques up and operating as shortly as potential. “Any downtime, particularly in shipping, is incredibly detrimental,” Peterson stated.

AWNC started working with Cisco to switch the telephone system. But that wasn’t sufficient. “We were then starting to have severe failures with a lot of the server technologies we had in place. Most of this equipment was anywhere from 12-15 years old and most did not have up-to-date software. We really modernized the entire facility,” he stated.

The gear that Peterson opted to put in included:

  • Secure Wi-Fi protection to the complete 1.Three-million-square-foot manufacturing facility ground.
  • ASA firewall know-how for simpler routing of visitors and safety.
  • Cisco Flexpod converged infrastructure for built-in computing, networking and storage with a self-healing function.
  • Disaster restoration system that permits AWNC’s Durham or Creedmoor amenities to be run from the alternate website in case of a problem.
awnc-factory-pic-3.jpg

Image: Cisco/AWNC

As a results of the brand new know-how, AWNC averted upkeep prices on the outdated gear of $1 million within the first 9 months the system was in place, and expects to see an ongoing annual financial savings of 40% in upkeep and downtime prices.

It’s frequent in a producing plant to keep away from shopping for new gear in a misguided try to economize, with IT groups not realizing that the operational prices to troubleshoot issues and the related downtime in a manufacturing facility surroundings can lead to even larger prices, stated Dan Wiggins, vp of producing and IoT options for Cisco.

“We found with one manufacturer we could pinpoint 80% of their problems to antiquated equipment and a multi-vendor approach,” Wiggins stated.

The subsequent step at AWNC is to digitize the plan and analyze the information being collected and incorporate a brand new software to react extra shortly to downtime or any drawback throughout the manufacturing facility. Predictive upkeep may even be a part of the way forward for the AWNC plant with vibration evaluation and vitality utilization included within the assessments.

“We’re developing next generation IoT solutions that will allow them to build on their infrastructure and take advantage of the connectivity,” Wiggins stated.

AWNC has had such success with the brand new core Cisco system that it is already been put in at AW amenities in Asia and Europe, Peterson stated.

“We utilized Cisco partners and we have had a very smooth deployment of all of these systems. From the core switches to the Wi-Fi deployments, to the phone system and then the most recent work associated with the disaster recovery has all gone really well. The big push for last year was solidifying the environment, and this year is all about pushing out into the applications and into the manufacturing space to impact yield inventory,” Peterson stated.

The uptime of techniques has improved considerably with the upgrades, and now efficiencies and optimization would be the focus. “We’re really looking for big things in 2017 with the utilization of the infrastructure we have in place to optimize the production of our product,” Peterson stated.

Three takeaways for TechRepublic readers:

  1. AWNC has spent about $1.2 million to replace its Wi-Fi protection and community firewall and to put in a Cisco converged infrastructure resolution to replace ageing gear.
  2. In the primary 9 months of operation the brand new gear saved the corporate $1 million in upkeep prices and 40% of the financial savings can be ongoing.
  3. The subsequent step is to digitize the plan and analyze the information being collected and incorporate a brand new software to react extra shortly to downtime.

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