Sometimes the question of using scales compared to the use of TFM equipment is brought up. First, let us mention that while scales are initially cheaper than a TFM Monitor, we believe that the advantages you gain from a TFM monitor outweigh any benefits you may get from using a scale.
Using scales, everything is after the fact!
Using the data it collects while a part is being sprayed or is finished, it can give you, in real time, the material usage for each part. This data is all collected and can be viewed online, using any device anywhere that has internet capabilities.
This same data is used for the various reports within the system. Inventory, glass percentages, operator performance, spray station statistics, EPA information for emissions and other Hazardous Air Pollutants and much more are calculated, formatted and displayed in easy to read reports and almost all reports are exportable in pdf format and in easy to import Excel format.
A TFM monitor does the math for you!
Having the TFM equipment do almost all the work for you eliminates costly labor and time from your overhead. Speaking of time and labor, it also gives you total cost of the part plus labor hours needed to fabricate that part.
With your multiple plants, having TFM equipment will enable you to compare how each plant is doing. For example, one of our customers has 8 plants across the States using about 64 units. Every week they have a TFM meeting on conference call with all the Plant Managers. Here they discuss and compare how each plant is doing material-wise and operator-wise. While they make the same product across all their plants, they can, for example, compare how “John” in California to how “Jose” in Florida did while they both worked on the same model part. They discuss material usage and how some plants are using more or less material than the others.
You get the idea and you can see how they use TFM to refine and fine tune their day to day operations.
Having TFM equipment makes your operators more accountable.
Another example how TFM would help you more than a scale is material viscosity. As we all know, the viscosity of resin and gelcoats can change as the day goes on. Changes in viscosity can affect the glass percentage on a part. Using a scale will not inform you of needed adjustments but a TFM monitor will, in real time.
Having TFM equipment and the data and information collection it provides will also help in a possible warranty and/or liability situation.
Another important aspect of having a TFM monitor is that when your floor supervisor is making his “rounds” he will be able to take note how his operators have their gun set.
Taking care of the equipment results in little to no cost to maintain.
It has been noted that many operators, after the initial morning prepping of their gun, will adjust their resin output so it will be easy for his “buddies” to roll out when the part is wet. This is usually done after the fact of supervisory checking of “Did you set your gun at 38%?” Using a scale would not tell you this while a TFM monitor will display current spray information in real time.
A prime example is that a part that has 100 pounds of glass at 33% will weigh 307 pounds, while the same exact part with 28% glass will weigh 357 pounds. 50 pounds of resin was basically thrown away, and a brittle, inferior part was sold.
Using TFM equipment will enable you to make adjustments in real time to ensure that the part is sprayed within tolerances and is truly a quality product. With scales, however, it’s all after the fact.
One thing to compare is the cost of operation of a TFM monitor versus a scale.
Our monitors are mounted above the work area. They are enough out of the way where they cannot get damaged. The sensors we use are generally light maintenance with some simple cleaning required every now and then. Taking care of the equipment will result in little to no cost to maintain.
Using TFM equipment can benefit you more ways than one.
Scales, on the other hand require to be calibrated by a paid professional every 6 to 12 months. Scales are also usually set low to the ground where they are subject to damage and costly repair from a possible errant forklift.
One thing customers have used the monitors for was as a training tool, for new and experienced operators. For the new operator, learning spray patterns, making adjustments, and hitting the designated weight and glass percentages is easier and quicker to learn using TFM equipment. For the experienced operator, using their skill and knowledge along with the TFM equipment, helps create an even more quality product. In addition, having TFM equipment makes your operators more accountable.
Hopefully the above gave you a better understanding of how using TFM equipment can benefit you more ways than one.