Case Study On Lido Stone Provided By Microsoft
Custom Manufacturer of Stone Products Improves Productivity by 30 Percent
Lido Stone Works, a custom manufacturer of stone products, wanted a more automated production environment, so it asked Breton, a well-known machinery manufacturer, for help. Lido decided to implement an intelligent system from Breton and Microsoft that connects manufacturing equipment with central servers. The solution includes ASEM Ubiquity software based on Windows Embedded. As a result, Lido has increased revenue by 70 percent and productivity by 30 percent, while Breton has cut travel costs by approximately €400,000 (US$524,000) by assisting customers remotely. Most importantly, the solution is helping Lido realize its potential for innovation.
Based in Calverton, New York, Lido Stone Works specializes in the manufacturing of custom stone products for architects and developers worldwide. The company fabricates and installs unique accent pieces including fireplaces, furniture, and sculpture.
Since it was established in 2003, Lido has delivered fine craftsmanship with the latest technology, including CAD programs and specialized machines and modeling software from Breton, an Italian supplier of industrial solutions, a leader in the stone working machines manufacturing. The companies worked together to design an increasingly automated environment at Lido, which faces round-the-clock operations and tight deadlines.
With an intelligent manufacturing system from Breton based on Windows Embedded, we’re able to work more effectively with a smaller crew…. We’ve increased productivity by at least 30 percent.
Lido Stone Works
For example, to improve productivity and quickly respond to its customers inquiries, Breton wanted to offer Lido and other customers a better diagnostics service. Because of the complexity of Lido designs, challenges were seldom resolved online or over the phone. Instead, a Breton technician would fly out to the company, and it could take a week or more before the machine was running again. Because manual processes at any stage could reduce efficiency and profitability, Lido was also looking to automate production. For example, inventorying raw material was a time-consuming process that took a team of four people a week to perform. In addition to improving remote assistance, the company wanted a solution that would connect its design center with machines on the factory floor and peripheral devices such as barcode scanners.Solution
Breton had already implemented remote- assistance software from ASEM, a supplier of industrial automation technology. Based on the Windows Embedded operating system and the Microsoft .NET Framework, the software connects the manufacturing environment at local factories with a remote-control center. In August 2012, Breton and Lido began installing Ubiquity, an intelligent system based on Windows Embedded, the Windows Azure platform, SQL Server software, and the Windows Server and Windows 7 operating systems.
On the factory floor, three machines used to cut and finish stone are controlled by a programmable logic controller (PLC) connected to an HMI solution running Windows Embedded. The HMI integrates with ASEM remote-assistance software, which enables remote access to the PLC from Breton offices. The solution is used to not only manage and configure the machines, but also to facilitate real-time chats with Breton technicians.
The PLC on the factory floor is connected to a central server and database, which stores production and inventory information. An operator can go online with the HMI, choose a job, and then use a barcode reader to scan the specified material. All of the data required to produce the piece is then automatically downloaded to the PLC, and production begins without anyone touching a stone-cutting machine.
If operators need help troubleshooting a project, they can contact Breton through the HMI or from an office PC. Breton uses Windows Azure for secure, cloud-based connectivity between its control center and Lido. As a result, Breton can diagnose problems in real time, remotely configure the PLC, and update its software anywhere on the Lido network.
By implementing an automated manufacturing environment based on Windows Embedded, Lido Stone Works has increased revenue by 70 percent and productivity by 30 percent. It has also improved manageability while Breton has significantly cut maintenance travel costs.
Boosts Revenue by 70 Percent
Lido has been able to take on more business while adhering to high standards for quality. Mazzocca notes, “Before we implemented the new solution based on Windows Embedded, we employed 60 people and now we have 100.”
The company has seen profits surge within months. “The investments we’ve made in an intelligent system from Breton and Microsoft are paying off,” Mazzocca says. “Last year, we made $10 million dollars in revenue. This year, in just the first four months, we’re already at $8.5 million—that’s a 70 percent increase in revenue.”
Increases Productivity 30 Percent
By implementing a more automated system with better remote connectivity, Lido has improved efficiency significantly. For example, one person can complete inventory in a day, when before it took four people a week to finish the job. “With an intelligent manufacturing system from Breton and ASEM based on Windows Embedded, we’re able to work more effectively with a smaller crew and keep handwork to a minimum,” says Eliot Mazzocca, President at Lido Stone Works. “We’ve increased productivity by at least 30 percent.”
Improves Manageability and Cuts Maintenance Travel Costs
Lido is also improving uptime by taking advantage of remote-assistance capabilities. Instead of flying to New York and spending a week bringing a machine back online, Breton technicians typically solve problems from their home office in less than a day. Mazzocca says, “It’s a huge benefit that anytime Breton needs access, they can get right in and start working on the machine in real time.”
Remote assistance is also helping Breton improve efficiency and reduce travel costs. The company estimates that 85 percent of its customers operate outside Italy, and traveling to maintain their equipment could be expensive as well as time-consuming. “We cut our annual travel costs by about €400,000 by using ASEM remote-assistance software running on Windows Embedded,” says Denis Soldan, Director of After-Sales Department at Breton. “But for us, the ability to provide good service is even more important.”
For Lido, perhaps the biggest benefit is yet to come. With an intelligent system that connects design, manufacturing, and inventory processes, the company is just beginning to realize its potential. “In the past, I could only dream of doing what we’re able to do with machines today,” says Mazzocca. “With the manufacturing solution from Breton and Microsoft we can create new roadways and be creative and different. It empowers us to celebrate new visions in stone—there’s nothing we can’t do.”
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Source: Microsoft Case Studies