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3 minute read

Case Study: Plastics manufacturer invests in MES to aid expansion

Established in 1970, BNL is the world leader in specialist plastic bearing solutions. The company has over 45 years of bearing innovation and expertise, and offers expert product development support, high quality design and manufacturing experience.

Keeping an eye on production

Now employing over 200 staff across its manufacturing bases in Knaresborough, UK and Thailand, and with further engineering and sales offices in China, the US and Japan, BNL is looking to continue to grow and expand its geographical reach even further. However, one of the factors that was holding BNL back from reaching this goal was its manufacturing execution system (MES). One of the main issues BNL experienced was limited system integration between its international facilities. This meant that users had to input data into multiple systems affecting the visibility of workflow across its factories as well as staff productivity.

BNL Bearings increased operating efficiencies by investing in MES software / Picture: BNL


BNL soon realised that in order to meet its ambitious growth goals, it needed a solution which would help to increase the overall visibility of production, clarify business information and provide real-time access to aid communication between its worldwide locations.

While looking into software providers, BNL discovered Epicor Mattec MES and was attracted to the solution because of the many benefits it provides. Not only does Mattec eliminate the need for manual data input and offer access to data in real-time, but it also offers an improvement in the overall visibility of the production process, better accuracy of reporting and is able to integrate with the company’s existing ERP (enterprise resource planning) system.

Sunil Sharma, IT manager at BNL said, “We needed an MES system that would easily integrate into our existing ERP software, and Epicor Mattec MES offers just that. This means we can export the production schedule out of our existing ERP system into Mattec, making it a smooth and easy process. We also noticed discrepancies in our reporting with our old system, and had to rely on employees manually tracking completed tasks. Mattec however, provides accurate reporting and therefore helps free up staff time and increases productivity.”

Access to better data

Since implementing Mattec, BNL now has real-time access to information from one central point, meaning it’s accessible to all employees wherever they’re based, enabling them to react instantly, and in turn, make more informed decisions based on accurate data. Mattec can also quickly and easily discover accurate overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) and give BNL a real-time snapshot of the production efficiency of individual machines.

“Mattec is used in both our UK and Thailand locations, right from the shop floor to the supply chain. We have been running Mattec in the UK for eight years and when we opened the Thailand factory, we also installed the system over there to give the same, great benefits—particularly access to better data,” continues Sharma.

Recently, BNL upgraded its Mattec system to the latest version, where it discovered further features that now benefit the company. This included, for example, an email alarm feature that alerts staff when a machine has broken down, helping to prevent any down-time in the production process as well as allowing BNL to implement a continuous improvement initiative to drive business growth.

Integration of their new MES system across all facilities and machines increased productivity globally / Picture: BNL

Looking to the future

BNL plans to extend its use of Mattec and realise further benefits by implementing its statistical process control (SPC) module. This will allow the company to continue automate processes and free up staff time so they can focus on more value-added activities that contribute to the company’s growth goals.

“Implementing the SPC module will help remove some of the current manual exercises our employees go through. We are extremely pleased with the results seen so far since implementing Mattec, and sincerely believe the system will continue to help us grow as a company,” concludes Sharma.