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Milling-Cct-Neopak-Case Study - IME Solutions

What were the Problems and Needs of Neopak?

Paper breaks or other process interruptions, equipment failure and quality negatively impact profitability. Neopak’s challenge was to change from reactive management to pro-active management of conditions that precede poor performance. Knowledge and experience are prerequisites of implementation to pro-active management – the question was whether process data analysis delivers insight and enhance operational personnel knowledge / understanding of the process.

Neopak also expressed its need to utilise production process data to determine its operational risk exposure. Overall, Equipment Effectiveness (OOE) was implemented but failed to identify what section or module in the plant caused poor performance. The need existed to generate a quantitative measure to describe performance at modular level. For example, what is the ability of the stock blending section to comply with specific operating conditions, or how well did the respective drying sections comply with predefined baselines.

Time-in-State®(TiS) functionality provided an opportunity to quantify modular performance. After deriving baseline definitions across the plant, it will be possible to track compliance of every section (module) contribution to performance. If all sections (modules) comply with their respective baseline definition, the chances of meeting production targets will increase.

How did Time-In-State®(TiS) Help Neopak?

Time-in-State®(TiS) illustrated how much value can be extracted from processing data. The technology facilitated a modular breakdown of the production process. Optimum Operating Envelope (OOE) is a new performance metric that enables performance measurement within sections / modules. E.g. it is possible to report that a specific gearbox and motor complied 93% with OOE. This is done by using a multi-variable time based status assessment providing insight into changing behaviour – the same approach applies the process modules such as the blending section.

Time-in-State® facilitated systems thinking, innovation, training and continuous improvement.

The Success

Time-in-State® delivered an accurate assessment of operational risk exposure. For example, after defining the Optimum Operating Envelope (OOE) for the blending section Time-in-State (TiS) indicated that this section complied with the optimum envelope for only 47% of the time. Neopak launched specific intitiatives using results produced by Time-in-State® analytics. The blending of section compliance with OOE consequently increased to 65% within five weeks. This improvement translated into improved production output.

Time-in-State®(TiS) allowed Neopak to obtain early warning detection in deteriorating performance and detected conditions leading up to the poor performance and process interruption. It ensures an increase in growth and success in Neopak’s growth and sustainability.


2020/09 /12


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Sappi - IME Solutions

Cape Kraft Mill

The Time-in-State intervention was an eye opener to our operational staff at the mill. Time-in-State facilitated workshops and got all departments together to explain the process. The key departments involved were production, engineering, process, logistics, and Sheq. The Time-in-State process allowed us to identify the control parameters to run a controlled process. We knew how to permanently contain these variables, but the solutions were costly. We then opted for a zero cash outlay solution and chose to control the process for only 80% of the time. The other 20% was when the operator could leave the workstation for inspections etc. It took 2 months to change the BOP’s and the behaviour. I can recommend this improvement process with Time-in-State to any industry. Cape Kraft will certainly make use of his services again shortly.

Jonathan Hermanus

General Manager
Neopak Logo - IME Solutions


IME has been servicing Neopak since 2015 continuously. During this interval, IME deployed its Time-in-State technology and services to monitor various aspects of the process and equipment. Utilising this technology made it possible to obtain early warning of deteriorating performance. This technology contributed not only towards a better understanding of equipment/process behaviour and process interruption. This predictive capacity is by far one of the strongest features of IME’s TiS methodology. Neopak rates the quality of the technology and services as very effective in providing great value.

Peter Frandsen

Control and Automation Engineer
Anglo Platinum - IME Solutions

BRPM contractor plant, a joint venture with Anglo Platinum

IME utilised their Time-in-State technology and services to identify very specific operating and equipment conditions that associate with higher performance. The PoC was deployed in the milling section of the process, which is a constraint in the process. The technology proved it’s applicability by identifying early warning of a gearbox failure in the matrix of data. The same approach was used to detect the drifting of an instrument measurement – the control system and maintenance personnel didn’t detect this issue. This detection potentially prevented a major process interruption. These events demonstrated effective process monitoring and management of TiS technique.

Oscar Mgcina

Group Metallurgical Engineer
Nkomati Logo - IME Solutions


IME deployed their services to monitor various items of equipment. By utilising this technology, it was possible to obtain early warning signs of deteriorating performance of equipment. In the absence of this technology, the equipment may have failed to result in substantial production losses. Nkomati highly rates the quality of technology and IME’s services. We feel it was highly effective and provided excellent value.

Manie Potgieter

Head of Department: Concentrate Production
ABB South Africa Logo - IME Solutions

ABB South Africa

IME Solutions has delivered services to ABB since 2010. During this period IME has deployed its Time-in-State technology and services to monitor various aspects of the process and equipment. By utilising this technology, it was possible to obtain insights into plant and equipment performance. The information facilitated the quantification of risk exposure, plant and equipment performance training relative to the optimum state, and general performance improvement. The technology and services were used at various operations including Sappi, Arcelor Mittal, and Skorpion Zink. We rate IME’s quality of services very highly as they provided excellent value towards mitigating risks and optimising our plant process.

Stiaan Burden

Operations Manager


To optimise every aspect of your plant and keep it effectively and continuously running, talk to us. Email or view the contact details below.
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