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VORTICE redesigns its production process with the help of Preactor Planning & Scheduling
avril 2013
vortice01.jpgVortice was founded in 1954, a business idea of Attilio Pagani,who was able to combine the ability to imagine and the love for beautiful things with the concreteness of doing things well in a simple and fast way.

Vortice is a market leader in air treatment products. Initially they produced a centrifugal aspirator for hood and then progressed to a variety of products which were increasingly sophisticated and high-performing for domestic, commercial and industrial environments.

Vortice is investing in new technologies with the aim of anticipating consumers demand and reducing energy consumption and environmental footprint.

Today Vortice has a wide portfolio of premium air quality and climate comfort products, from aspirators and fans to air purifiers and air conditioners, as well as heat recovery units for low emissions buildings. Vortice began to offer air handling units with its acquisition of Loran in 2011.

Vortice has 3 subsidiaries in France, UK and China, and an office in Russia, distributing products in 80 countries in the 5 continents through a network of dealers, who ensure support and service tailored for the local market.

In the first months of 2009, Vortice began a huge redesign of its Supply Chain project, as part of a wide company development plan. Aims of the project were to increase the flexibility, decrease response time and reduce stocks while maintaining the high service level.

The projects included all processes and procedures:
  • Forecasts done by market units
  • Replenishment policies and rules for components and raw materials
  • Information flow and development of new IT tools
  • Materials flow and lay-out of plant and warehouse

Part of the Supply Chain Redesign was the Lean Production project in Tribiano Plant. The project combine materials flow and production procedures.
From the beginning of 2010, Vortice worked on improvement of materials flow from the depot, where materials arrive at the plant, to picking done by production workers. The following tasks were performed:
  • Materials were classified by type, volume, value of usage and quality checks
  • For each material class, they defined how to store and get them to the production lines
  • Stocks levels and replenishment rules were defined
  • Containers and packaging were chosen accordingly
  • Plant layout was revised
Also the production structures were changed, lines were redesigned, from 8 lines to 12 lines, from lines 30 meters long to lines 15 meters long.
More lines means more flexibility, as market demand was changing, order rows increased and quantity by order row decreased.

“We were able to dedicate lines by products families – says Giuseppe Baldeschi, Vortice Production Manager – but this wasn’t enough to manage production mix, we need visibility on bottlenecks and we need to optimize resources accordingly to the kinds of products to be done”.

vortice03.jpgAfter having considered various alternatives, Vortice chose Preactor 300 FCS for its wide range of functionalities and the easy integration with the IT management system, based on AS400.

Vortice entrusted the implementation to proe2, a Solution Provider of Preactor International and implementation started in February 2011.

First routes and scheduling quantities were specified:
  • production lines model
  • calendars for lines and workers
  • production quantities for each item (rate per hour, number of workers, lines)
  • other constraints, such as items not workable at the same time.
Tests were then run to determine how to achieve the best results in the least amount of time. Routes and scheduling quantities are managed in Preactor.
Work orders are transferred to Preactor from the IT system on AS400; item number, quantity, earliest start date and due date are stated.

Users take advantage of Preactor functionalities achieving a good trade-off between effectiveness and efficiency of the production process:
  • scheduling by groups (critical items are scheduled first)
  • scheduling by priority (families of products have different priorities)
  • manual drag-and-drop (urgent orders are placed overlapping the constraints)
Outcomes of Preactor's plan are shared with people who manage lines and materials:
  • how work orders are to be done (line, rate per hour, number of workers)
  • times scheduled (start time and end time)
  • work orders data (due date and quantity).
Preactor was effectively running in Vortice by July 2011.

At the end of the project Giuseppe Baldeschi said: “Preactor enables us to achieve full benefits coming from our work in transforming our production process towards Lean Production: not only flexibility and celerity but also optimized usage of our resources ”.