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With the help of OPC UA, L’Oréal is implementing Industry 4.0 concepts, transforming from mass production to personalized production to meet customer preferences.
Mariatou Sagna Biaré, filling and packing corporate manager of L’Oréal S.A., the French personal care company, gave a great presentation describing the company’s application at the OPC Day International 2022 virtual event (Figure 1) and positive results achieved. Looking to implement its Operation 4.0 initiative, L’Oréal quickly identified the need for a standard that could enable full machine interoperability for its packaging lines applying OPC UA.
Sagna-Biaré noted that people including operators, mechanics and plant management are at the heart of digital transformation for efficient manufacturing. Standardizing on OPC UA, L’Oréal is harmonizing its machine-to-machine (M2M) and information technology/operational technology (IT/OT) communications, thereby providing a solution for efficient horizontal and vertical integration. Sagna Biaré explained that more than 430 machines are connected worldwide and deployed efficiently in a timely manner due to the architecture and data collection standardization using OPC UA and PackML. She cited one of the big gains has been an increase of overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) of 2 to 10 percent.
The OPC Foundation member French personal care company L’Oréal S.A. (Figure 2) is the world’s largest cosmetics company with 39 plants around the world and has developed activities in the field concentrating on hair color, skin care, sun protection, make-up, perfume and hair care.
L’Oréal Industry 4.0 commitment
L’Oréal is implementing the concepts of Industry 4.0, transforming from mass production to personalized production to meet customer preferences. The company embraces flexibility and agility by digitalizing production as a pioneer of Industry 4.0, applying cutting-edge technologies, artificial intelligence (AI), and digital tools, intelligent sensors, touchpads, and cobots (collaborative robots) to assist and simplify the everyday work of operators.
To strengthen the trust-based relationship with consumers, transparency is crucial at every stage in the value chain. In 2021, L’Oréal accelerated its roll-out of traceability systems, with operations leading the way. The company’s Industry 4.0 initiative creates a direct linkage from customer to personalized manufacturing and includes developing more and more connected products. This improves product traceability and more transparency for customers. This includes applying RFID technology to customers’ journey and in-store experience as fluid as possible.
At every step in the product manufacturing and delivery process, information is gathered and stored on a platform consumers can access. They can scan the QR code on packaging to find out where the product was made, see an exhaustive list of ingredients and their origin, and check the quality control certificates issued during manufacturing. Access to traceability and transparency information has been very popular with consumers. For example, those who purchased a pilot “augmented” product by La Roche-Posay spent four to five times more time on the brand’s website than they did with a non-augmented product. In 2021, 19 brands from L’Oréal’s four divisions launched this ambitious project, and eight of them began roll-out by the end of the year: Yves Saint Laurent, Biotherm, Garnier, L’Oréal Paris, L’Oréal Professionnel, Kérastase, La Roche-Posay and Vichy.
Connected line solution
The company’s connected line solution is focused on providing digital tools for people who are improving performance. Features include collecting machine data, data aggregation to L’Oréal Cloud, aggregation dashboards for operators and technicians, and analytic tools for team performance. Dashboards are used to improve operator productivity providing them with timely information including deeper knowledge on production micro stops and speed losses.
Upcoming features include remote access, track-and-trace on clean in place (CIP) and sterilization-in-place (SIP) systems leveraging OPC UA.
Optimizing factory floor packaging line integration, L’Oréal implemented the OMAC PackML standard in an OPC UA context (Figure 3). With a common set of machine states and defined data tags (called PackTags), PackML perfectly aligns with OPC UA information modeling capabilities. The OPC Foundation OPC UA Companion Specification for PackML was released in 2018.
OPC UA commitment
Sagna-Biaré emphasized, “Operation 4.0-compliant packaging lines can only be achieved if communication at machine level, between machines, and IT systems is harmonized. We joined the OPC Foundation not only to be involved in the evolution of the standard, but also to send a strong message to our machine suppliers that OPC UA is now a must for our packaging lines.”
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