Overall Equipment Efficiency (OEE) has been a core principle of manufacturing management since its invention in the 1960s by Seiichi Nakajima.

It is still recognized as a key metric in Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) and lean production programs, but the manufacturing sector has changed a lot since the 60s.

While OEE has remained useful to manufacturers, the way it is applied is changing rapidly, with OEE software and data analysis tools replacing the more manual methods of the past.


A Quick OEE Recap

OEE is calculated using the formula:

Availability X Performance X Quality = OEE

The main goal of the OEE methodology is to minimize the impact of what Nakajima referred to as the “Six Big Losses”:

The OEE formula - each variable incorporates two categories of production disturbance.
The OEE formula – each variable incorporates two categories of production disturbance.

OEE is a bottom-up approach that gives operators and technicians “ownership” of their assigned processes with the goal of minimizing these big losses.

By targeting the Six Big Losses, pinpointing inefficiencies, and increasing the attentiveness of personnel, production time can be optimized.

A visual breakdown of the impact of losses on production time, according to OEE principles.



What is OEE Software?

OEE software is a set of digital tools that offer visibility and control over production parameters that affect OEE.

The primary use of OEE software is to automatically calculate OEE and provide insight into how to improve efficiency and cut the operating costs of production lines.

OEE software helps manufacturers:

  • Improve production rates without having to invest in additional production lines
  • Cut costs by reducing the number of shifts and lines needed to reach target throughput
  • Monitor trends over time to track production improvements


How does OEE software work?

Data Acquisition

To calculate OEE, the software needs accurate and relevant OT and business data fed to it in real-time – data from the production floor and from ERP, QMS, CMMS systems.

Sensors placed on machinery throughout the process continually measure and log relevant parameters such as temperature, pressure, vibration, etc.

In modern OEE solutions, the data is sent first to an IoT gateway device, often via a PLC or data historian, and then to cloud storage.

The OEE software accesses the cloud, retrieves the data, and presents it via an interactive dashboard.  


Data Processing & Analysis

OEE software interprets and categorizes data captured from the production floor according to OEE principles.

The software monitors machine activity by automatically organizing it into states – running, changeover, idle, planned/unplanned downtime – and by keeping an accurate log of the parts/output produced.

OEE software programs vary greatly in how they perform data processing and analysis.

The Seebo platform, for example, uses a process-based digital twin as the analytical basis for calculating and visualizing OEE and other performance KPIs. The result is OEE insight that takes into account the entire production process.

OEE software in action - the Seebo platform

Seebo’s digital twin software presents actionable insights alongside the digital representation of processes and assets.


Data Insight & Visualization

OEE software is only useful if it can help us make better decisions about how to operate, maintain, and manage production lines.

The captured and processed data is sent to scoreboards on the production floor as visual prompts to give operators, maintenance personnel, and supervisors an accurate snapshot of a production line’s performance.

For deeper analysis, management can access live OEE reports via dashboards which visualize production line performance, or Overall Line Effectiveness (OLE). Specific production inefficiencies and events, such as production disturbances and idle periods, can be investigated in detail.

The OEE toolkit offered by the Seebo platform includes what is known as a “digital twin”. A digital twin is a highly detailed virtual replica of a production environment. The digital twin is a visual model that provides live data from its real-life counterpart – the production floor. This makes digital twin the perfect tool for uncovering production disruptions (through root cause analysis) and searching for solutions through experimentation (through what-if simulation).


Benefits of OEE Software

OEE software offers manufacturers a number of benefits:

Real-time OEE – no more waiting for reports. All OEE information is updated and calculated live, and can be accessed instantly.  

Bottom-line improvement – using OEE, even minor gains have the ability to dramatically boost performance.

Visibility – operators, technicians, supervisors and managers can observe and compare performance in real-time through dashboards and customized reports.

Benchmarking – set points, targets, thresholds, and baselines can be stored and updated for continual line management. For manufacturing companies with multiple sites, comparative analysis can be done between various facilities using standardized benchmarks.

Direct analysis – OEE analysis is contextual and conclusions can be reached while avoiding the use of spreadsheets and data manipulation.

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