AIC Saves Hampshire Composite Manufacturer up to 7,500 Production Hours per Year

19 August 2014

AIC has helped a Hampshire, UK, based composite manufacturer save up to 7,500 hours of lost production per year (150 per week) by upgrading the control systems of eight ovens with its AMCS (Autoclave Management Control System).

Before the replacement, AIC explains, it found that its engineers were being called out on average twice a month. In one year alone the company lost up to 7,500 hours in lost production. AIC then proposed that this could be remedied by upgrading the eight ovens with its AMCS (Autoclave Management and Control System). The upgrade was completed over three months.

Since the upgrade, AIC says the company has not lost a single hour in downtime over a full year due to instrument problems. The control system paid for itself in six months, with an overall saving of £160k pa.

This has had a positive effect as these ovens run 24/7, making production more reliable and more efficient, delivering a more effective service. It has created operational efficiencies and has been less frustrating and demotivating for operators, now that they know the equipment works.

According to AIC, the new systems give uniformity of control hardware and software (already partially in use on key plant) with NADCAP/AMS2750E compliant data recording, calibration functionality and ease of operator use with a familiar interface.

The integrated hardware and software was written and developed in-house with AIC’s understanding of composite production across many industries. This has resulted in an easy to use system with:

  • Options for significant integration with production management software such as SAP;
  • Centralised QA processing including automated cure costing / buy-off reports;
  • Out-of-process alerts by email, live as they occur.

AIC says other benefits of the upgrade include:

  • Increased energy efficiency;
  • Increased production speed by faster profile loading/starting;
  • A minimum ten year expected hardware life;
  • Full aerospace compliant data recording with Individual part recording.

Ian Simpson, AIC’s Services Director, said “This Hampshire manufacturer is at the forefront of the development of composite structures, components and applications. AMCS will help to keep their ovens running smoothly and easy to operate for years to come. Their ovens were letting them down and couldn’t be relied upon. The ovens are now working more efficiently. Our control systems can help prolong the life of heavy industrial processing plant such as ovens and autoclaves.”

A client representative said “We are pleased that AIC has been able to update our ovens’ control systems. The AMCS is a fantastic piece of software which will ensure an effective and efficient production line. Our ovens are used for post cure, largely in the aerospace industry. It has been a year since they were upgraded and the upgrade has proven itself time and time again, and paid for itself easily. We haven’t lost a single hour in unplanned down-time through control issues. I thoroughly recommend AIC’s AMCS to anyone who is involved in the industry.” 

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