No two manufacturers are alike when it comes to managing process data, and the complexities of a diecasting operation escalate the difficulty of interpreting that data reliably. Dyersville Die Cast in Dyersville, IA, has been relying on B&L Information Systems’ Odyssey enterprise resource planning (ERP) software solution for over two years, to coordinate the information needed to its operations from tooling and construction, to process development. It also tracks and manages the shipping and invoicing processes.
Odyssey is an ERP that’s especially suited to diecasting, centering on functions for tracking tooling and diecasting machines, and managing the subsequent production steps, including machining (on-site or out-sourced), painting, anodizing, etc. The software stores chemical and physical characteristics for each heat, and it offers an integrated die-tracking system. Total shots are recorded for each die and review limits can be set: Dies that have exceeded review limits are flagged for inspection.
Also, die families and combination dies are fully supported. And, Odyssey supports product-price adjustments based on metal market conditions.
Dyersville Die Cast uses Odyssey hosted in the B&L Cloud: all the diecaster’s data resides on the developer’s secure servers, and it delivers automatic back up and disaster recovery via the B&L Cloud. B&L manages all security patches, updates and more.
“The Cloud-based solution is perfect for our distributed business,” according to Mary Klostermann, IT coordinator at Dyersville Die Cast. “We don’t have to worry about setting up hardware and software in each building or location, managing updates and backups. We are free of the tactical, day-to-day maintenance and all of the expenses and hidden costs of managing an infrastructure.”
That freedom is important because Dyersville Die Cast is one of North America’s largest non-automotive diecasting operations, specializing in custom aluminum and zinc parts, along with CNC machining and powder coating for finished parts.
Diecast tooling is critical to the business, and customers entrust Dyersville Die Cast with tooling worth millions of dollars. Odyssey’s tooling maintenance capability is particularly effective, making highly detail-oriented work smooth and reliable.
“Before, it could take a clerk hours to backtrack through production to find out how many shots we had on a tool,” recalled Dyersville Die Cast president Bob Willits. “Now, we have all of that information at our fingertips, as well as how much we are spending on their tooling. Our customers are much happier with us.”
All of the information on customers’ tooling is linked to the diecasting production system. For example, for one customer Dyersville Die Cast replaces tooling cavity inserts, which wear out quickly. With Odyssey, the operators know the cavity shot counts exactly, on a daily basis, so they can decide in real time when a cavity should be replaced.
The simplified, and transparent, tooling management has improved communication with Dyersville’s customers. “Odyssey has really allowed us to communicate at the drop of a hat with our major accounts on where we are on tooling,” said Willits. “A lot of our customers have several dozen tools placed with us in very high volumes. They might be writing four different tooling replacement orders a month. It is a night-and-day difference from what we were doing with our old system.”
The Odyssey Shop Floor Manager function is used to collect production data from the shop floor, including hours worked, quantity of castings, order number, and more. Managers generate daily and weekly reports, and share the information with employees.
“In the past, our employees wrote down the information, and we would key that into a spreadsheet,” explained Klostermann. “Now, they scan their information right into Odyssey, which gives us real-time insight into productivity data. If the numbers seem off, we can quickly analyze why and then make adjustments to optimize our operations and boost productivity.”
The Odyssey ERP also has helped to make Dyersville Die Cast processes more cost-efficient, even identifying the productivity rates for individual diecasting machines.
That productivity factor may be the primary benefit of Odyssey ERP, from a management perspective. It creates “total visibility” into production processes, so managers and executives see production trends and lead-times in real-time, to inform any decisions or adjustments necessary to meet customer commitments: they are able to track due dates for both accounts payable and accounts receivable on a daily basis.
Odyssey also features a built-in Crystal Reports utility, which allows Dyersville Die Cast to customize standard Odyssey reports or to create new ones.
Dyersville Die Cast also has implemented Odyssey’s maintenance-tracking module to analyze maintenance and track those activities against the equipment. This means the operation can identify what systems are working, and where improvements are needed.
Bob Willits called Odyssey “by far the industry standard software for all foundries and diecasters.
“Out of the box, Odyssey addresses just about every need you could possibly have. We have realized tremendous benefits across our operations, and we are excited to take greater advantage of what the system has to offer in the near future,” according to Dyersville Die Cast’s president.