SAN FRANCISCO—Essex Furukawa, reported to be the world’s largest manufacturer of the magnet wire/winding wire that powers motors, including for electric vehicles (EVs), has selected Sight Machine Inc. as the manufacturing productivity platform for its plants in China, the United States, and Germany, Sight Machine said in a release.
The agreement extends the digital transformation initiative begun at Essex Furukawa’s magnet wire plant in Torreón, Mexico, where Sight Machine has helped Essex Furukawa increase production needed to meet fast-growing demand from the production of EVs. Essex Furukawa will use Sight Machine to improve manufacturing quality, speed, and uptime in its plants supplying automakers in four of the world’s six largest auto making countries, according to the release.
Sight Machine’s streaming data pipeline turns plant data into common data models that capture manufacturing reality in digital form, enabling manufacturers to resolve production problems and continuously improve performance, quality, and availability, the company said in the release.
Due to the rapid growth in EV manufacturing, Essex Furukawa has faced significantly increased demand in quantity and quality of supply. The magnet wire that Essex Furukawa makes for EV motors must meet exacting quality standards, enabling it to withstand years of severe stress, including high heat (up to 265°C), high electrical current, and fast switching frequencies, without melting or breaking.
At its Torreón plant, Essex Furukawa used Sight Machine to improve production speed while maintaining top quality standards. Through continuous improvement and deployment of new Sight Machine capabilities, including prescriptive analytics, Essex Furukawa will now use the platform to also focus on improvements in quality and uptime, according to the company.
“Sight Machine is changing the way our people make decisions,” said Jacques Wannenburg, vice president of IT at Essex Furukawa, in the release. “Rather than making decisions based on gut instinct, they’re making more informed decisions based on data and insights from using the Sight Machine platform. It also enables rapid experimentation, meaning that we can tweak something on the line and measure the impact very quickly. People are better equipped to make decisions because they have visibility they didn’t have before.”
Through Sight Machine, Essex Furukawa is adopting a unified method to measure overall equipment effectiveness (OEE), according to the formula of availability (uptime) times performance (speed) times quality, consistently across all its plants. Most companies are unable to measure OEE consistently across multiple plants due to the lack of a common data foundation and standardized measurement procedures, according to the release.
When the COVID-19 pandemic erupted worldwide in 2020, Sight Machine enabled Essex Furukawa to maintain its continuous improvement work. Process engineers, quality engineers, managers, and others forced to work remotely were able to continue tracking plant performance and making improvements. Sight Machine’s real-time tracking and analytics are available to workers operating anywhere with a web browser or mobile phone. They can also receive alerts if any production variable goes out of the expected range, the company said.
Essex Furukawa Magnet Wire LLC is a global provider of magnet wire that is used by most major OEMs, Tier 1 suppliers, and industry leaders in the automotive, energy, industrial, and commercial and residential sectors. The Atlanta-based company is a global joint venture formed in 2020 between Essex Magnet Wire and Furukawa Electric Co., Ltd., both leaders in magnet wire product development, and custom solutions.