Case Study: Artistic Pallets


Artistic Pallets is a company specializing in the creation of custom plastic pallets that combine functionality with aesthetic design. Their pallets are utilized in manufacturing and logistics facilities nationwide, and they take pride in the artistic flair of the finished product.

Artistic Pallets recently added several new machines to their plant floor for manufacturing pallets. Each of these work cells performs a unique step in the manufacturing process, which can make tracking production statistics difficult. Artistic Pallets chose Trimasys Control Solutions to implement Ignition SCADA for live monitoring and operations data tracking.

In order to track the performance of the new machines and their operators, Trimasys Control Solutions developed a SCADA application in Ignition Perspective. The main goal of this application was to separately track machine and operator performance, but it grew to be much more. The current Perspective application now allows stakeholders to also track productivity and downtime, schedule operator shifts, and is still evolving.


Since the production machinery installed at Artistic was all new, this meant the SCADA needed to be built from the ground up as well. Each Ignition screen was custom-built, and a new database schema was created to record production data.

The biggest hurdle in this project was tracking both the efficiency of each machine and their operators. Each machine manufactured unique products, and many were capable of producing multiple different parts or part lengths. Factors like machine downtime also made productivity metrics especially difficult to calculate. The desired end result was a series of reports that could give managers a birds-eye view of how all work cells and associates performed over a period of time.


This project started as a means for stakeholders to track efficiency, but it evolved into much more. The final product has three main tools:

1. Scheduling Tool: Managers can assign associates to a work cell and designate specific tasks on the work cell. Artistic Pallets operates 3 8-hour shifts that enable the facility to run 24 hours a day. The scheduling tool is invaluable in keeping track of all planned production.


2. Andon Screen: The main dashboard of Artistic Pallet’s SCADA system is an andon screen that provides real-time updates on production status, signaling issues and prompting quick responses. This Andon display provides live data on both machines and operators currently on the schedule.


3. Reporting: Managers can generate individual reports for both operators and work cells. These reports provide stakeholders with valuable data on not only efficiency but also downtime. Machine downtime does not affect an operator’s calculated productivity, and work cells can be isolated to determine how often they require maintenance.



4. Outcomes & Benefits

Artistic Pallets now has built-in analytics for past, present, and future production operations. Historical reporting and real-time performance statistics can be readily accessed at any time. Ignition Perspective’s responsive design allows for the use of all these tools both in the office or on mobile.

Artistic Pallets also has the added ability to schedule all operator shifts within Ignition. With new machines come new operators, and Artistic Pallets can easily add new associates into their database and schedule shifts as needed. Using the operator schedule to automatically forecast production is a major benefit.

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