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Ravensdown Manufacturing Plant

Ravensdown Superphosphate Manufacturing

Ravensdown Fertiliser Co-Operative, manufactures Superphosphate based products in Napier, Christchurch and Dunedin. Manufacturing these products on a large scale is a complex undertaking. In particular, it’s hard on equipment. Each site has different control systems, so creating a unified system for downtime analysis proved elusive. But now, using MachineMonitor from DataNow, real time data and advanced analysis of performance is just a mouse click away.

The Existing Systems

Ravensdown had for some time measured OEE and related KPIs. The system used was a combination of software created by contractors and Excel spreadsheets. While the system did provide feedback for site staff, the amount of work behind the scenes was significant. On top of that, some of the spreadsheets contained many macros and complex VBA, which would be the domain of an Excel guru. If they were away or were to ever leave the business, it would leave the monitoring system dead in the water.

Kevin Gettins - General Manager of Operations, recalls an off the shelf solution that had also been used. "We purchased an add-on module to the HMI control system we had at our Napier plant" says Kevin. “But the system did not meet our expectations. It was expensive to buy and set-up, and required some of the sites to upgrade their entire control system platforms. It was also difficult to use"

The Business Need

The ideal system for Ravensdown would:

  • Measure Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) and its components, as well as Ravensdown specific KPIs
  • Have a simple, consistent interface for all users and sites
  • Be able to connect to all of the control systems
  • Be able to be accessible from any PC on site (or off site)
  • Would require very little expertise or time from site staff.

The Results

PLC Integration

"DataNow was up and running in a very short period of time" recalls Kevin, "and has been used by all of our Manufacturing sites for more than two years now."


Benefits for Operators and Supervisors
  • Simple interface for coding of downtime events
  • Reduced need for manual log sheets
  • A clearer role in their contribution to improvements
  • The ability to support work requests with hard data

Benefits for Managers and Support Staff
  • Executive report which compares all sites in one graphical report.
  • Analysed data available to support business decisions
  • Elimination of hearsay about issues on each site
  • Consistency between all sites
  • No internal staff required to administer the system
  • No additional costs required for ongoing upgrades
  • No IT effort required since the software runs in a web browser
  • Peace of mind knowing that DataNow provide ongoing service and support and that the DataNow guarantee makes the system no-risk

After the success of the Superphosphate process, Ravensdown is now adding other operations equipment onto the DataNow platform