Plastic factory. Smooth transition to the Industry 4.0

29 Nov 2022

Our analysts have developed a typical scenario for the transformation of a “typical plant producing plastic parts” to the level of Industry 4.0. We will tell you which tools can be used and what improvements can be achieved at each stage of the implementation.

Let’s consider the initial stage of the transformation for a typical production and a manager’s biggest questions:

  • The actual production numbers differ from the plan, and the estimated figures on paper do not match reality at the end of the period.
  • Low visibility of shop floor operations in real time – resulting in slow reaction to exceptional conditions (no components, breakdowns, etc.)
  • Challenges around retrospective analysis of production loss causes.
  • Value-add to defective parts due to the late detection of defects.
  • Inability to monitor the manufacturing of each product to ensure the warranty obligations for compliance with international standards.
  • A long reaction time to the breakage of production equipment or other problems due to paper and process delays.
  • Discrepancy between the available raw material and/or components and the accounted quantities.
  • Misshipping of finished goods.

Enterprises usually already have ERP systems in place, which facilitates planning production but does not help respond correctly to current challenges. The content and purpose of each ERP system: to build long-term plans, deal with wages and taxes, etc. To respond to the current challenges of the production process, you need Manufacturing Operation Management and Production Control-class systems that allow you to adjust plans in real time, adapt to the situation and monitor according to the performance of each production stage.

The first stage of the transformation is a real-time visibility implementation.

AGW Visual from OLSOM provides a wide range of visualization and instant informatization for production processes in real time. It ensures quick responses and effective interaction with various services and departments on the shop floor.

Its features cover of the main services of production, quality, labor and maintenance.
Let’s go through all of them to observe the influence on every stage and principles that the product can enforce in a factory.






  • KPI, real-time visualization of the status from one station up to the entire manufacturing ​
  • OEE​
  • Real-time count of finished parts and declaration to ERP ​
  • Production scheduling (planning, real-time tracking, schedule, etc.)
  • Analyze downtime causes and plan actions to reduce them 
  • Management of changeovers


  • Digital Work instructions and checklists displayed directly on the Workstation screens are available to operators any time
  • Defect reporting and analysis (Pareto charts, heat maps, etc)


  • Access management (Access and permission control for different levels of employees)
  • Checklists and work instructions for staff to memorize and control the operation sequence
  • Real-time metrics of operators’ performance
  • Qualification insurance of the working personnel


  • Prevent sudden breakdowns and downtimes by scheduling maintenance activities 
  • Reporting and control of equipment maintenance in real time
  • Reporting of deviations and their management in a paperless manner

Due to the consolidated collection of primary information, the plant management is able to monitor the main production processes, respond to problems in time and analyze productivity. As a result of the first stage implementation of visualization and response systems it is possible to increase the OEE (overall efficiency of the equipment) from 15 to 25%.

The second stage is tracking each stage of the production process.

To secure proper quality and comply with international standards, manufacturing should ensure tracking and tracing of production operations and collect traceability information for further analysis.

AGW Optimization’s functions combine process visualization capabilities and allow to track production processes in the context of each separate operation, collecting process parameters for further analysis (for example, the final torque and angle of a screwdriver or the pressure level of a machine).

Just like the previous stage, this one will affect all departments involved in production.


  • Centralized storage and management – maintain all operation instructions in unified storage, streamline work, reduce costs related to instruction maintenance locally through the equipment
  • High-class jobs​. High-class functionality is part of the Quality module which inspects the production route to ensure it works correctly.
  • Individual Traceability. The ability to track any item through each phase of production and have access to trace data at any step of the process is an important part of quality control.
  • ​Lot Traceability: The ability to identify the component consumption by certain lots and the ability to block suspect lots from being consumed.


  • Error-proof component assembly to ensure proper version control
  • Keep process parameters within the designated tolerance
  • Block suspect lots and individual products from being shipped.
  • Visual inspection. Visual inspection is the last step of quality control before the packing process.
  • Quality wall. The Quality module also supports the Quality Wall station type.
  • Scrap management analytics.
  • SPC function allows to control all manufacturing processes and production methods, discover issues in internal systems, and find solutions for production issues.


  • Access and permission control – security function settings and role-based login feature allocate responsibilities and operational tasks according to users’ qualifications and permissions.  
  • Analysis of Staff Performance. AGW provides operator performance reports, which will help evaluate employee work and productivity.
  • Operator Assistance. To help employees control the production process and avoid any mistakes, the Personnel Management module digitizes all instruction and documentation. This information has been highlighted in a separate Documentation block of the Production Management module.


  • Examine performance and lifecycle of equipment and applications 
  • Equipment status notification
  • Notification and status history available in the reports 
  • Maintaining operations and uptime 
  • Analyze maintenance metrics such as MTBF and MTTR


  • Supports various packaging and delivery scenarios – single-level and multi-level packaging – and guarantees that a specific item is packaged in the appropriate container.
  • Track your items on every stage of the supplementary process and monitor your inventory status, serial numbers, SKU attributes, and locations
  • Make each produced item addressable with the unique serial number
  • The Sequence feature monitors process parameters based on specifications and issues an alert or locks processes in case of deviations 

These features allow not only to meet IATF or ISO standards and enter new international markets thanks to compliance with the standards, but also curb the risk of defective items getting into the production process.

The implementation of the second stage allows manufacturing to minimize the production of defective parts, save resources on processing such items and helps reduce customer complaints and warranty claims by 15-30%.

And the final stage that will finish the transformation – the implementation of inventory management.

The Inventory module from AGW Optimization manages all warehouse processes in manufacturing: from controlling received raw materials and displaying the location of all materials, parts and goods to controlling Build-To-Sequence scenarios in the process of planning the work of production lines and packaging. The expansion of inventory functionality is not only about warehouse or logistics, it affects all processes.


  • Visibility of available stock to production and management​
  • Adjust stock balance for steady material delivery for nonstop production. Set the minimum/maximum stock limits to receive notifications when the actual stock reaches the specified value​


  • Quality control of raw materials and components entering the warehouse. Prevention of passing low-quality materials to production
  • Blocking of suspect lots and individual items
  • Blocking finished products that do not meet production standards from being packed


  • Improve employee performance by optimizing working time 


  • The ability to manage spare part stock for the maintenance department.
  • Manage timely supplies of required materials and parts to the plant floor 
  • Monitor material and parts utilization with stock reports 
  • Follow demand completion


  • Manage warehouse processes like receiving, storing, relocation and others with a handy application
  • Utilize warehouse space in the most efficient way
  • Organization of FIFO and FEFO scenarios
  • Ensure strict consistency of packaging and order supplies in production sequencing
  • Shipment status monitoring
  • The shipping process is controlled by the specific rules that define a shipment’s capacity, packing scenarios, and truck types

Implementation of this stage allows to get traceability of inventory processes, reduce downtimes related to inventory availability and ensure continuous production and, hence, increase productivity. As a result, the factory reduces the expenses related to warehouse operations such as locating material in the warehouse, finding space to store and other warehouse operations by 10-15%.

This roadmap is an approximate guideline of transforming into a modern smart factory with effective continuous production. Just imagine the absolutely smooth manufacturing processes at your facilities, full transparency and accessible data in your pocket.