In this use case, elliTek’s customer saw immediate benefits by utilizing the world’s first Edge-Based Internet of Things Appliance platform, IIoTA™. The collection and visualization of both real-time and historical data is a snap, even for non-programmers, with the IIoTA™ platform.
This post will review the tools that helped a large Tier 1 Automotive supplier overcome latency and cyber security issues while exceeding QA non-conformity by visually presenting real-time, product-specific SOP data instantly at the associates’ work area.
The manufacturer had a standard conveyor-based assembly line.
A pallet staging station was at the beginning of the assembly line. The pallet could hold any type of part.
As the pallet would pass each station, the associate performed the task associated with that specific part. Since the parts would vary from pallet to pallet, the instructions for each part varied.
The traditional way of communicating the various instructions to the associates was by using a scanner at the first station, the pallet staging station. Basically, all this station was used for was creating the staging operation.
The associate at the first station would scan a barcode. The printer would print a Standard of Work on an 8.5x11 sheet of paper.
The operator at the first station would place that piece of paper on the pallet. The sheet of paper would (should) follow that pallet all the way down the line.
In a factory environment, this can be troublesome with fans blowing, bay doors open, etc. If the sheet of paper blows off and gets transposed onto another pallet, all kinds of quality issues can arise.
In addition, the traditional way was very manual.
elliTek’s customer wanted to eliminate printed paper routers.
Routers were printed at the start of the production line
A PDF was populated by a custom application upon a manual scan
The data was gathered from a remote AS/400 database located in another state
The reasons for the need included:
Lost or mishandled documents
Manually intensive process
Promote plantwide Green Initiative
elliTek’s Industrial IoT Solution
The IIoTA™, Industrial Internet of Things Appliance, was installed on the edge, at the line side.
RFIDs were installed at each station.
The scanner at the first station was removed. The original pallet staging area is now used as a standard operational station.
Individual monitors in portrait mode were installed at each station.
Now, as the pallet moves down the line, the RFID is actuated.
The IIoTA™ is notified through the PLC control system.
Using the IIoTA™, that information is taken out of the PLC.
That data goes back into the IIoTA’s internal database.
The IIoTA™ performs a query for that information.
The associate’s instructions are then populated on their individual station monitors.
The customer saw immediate benefits.
Cost savings benefits
Elimination of downtime events from slow server responses.
In fact, this customer’s number one downtime cause was when the associate manually scanned the barcode to get the information from the other database in another state. If the ISP went down for the day or there were network issues, it was a variable as to how it would affect production.
Decreased and consistent production times.
The IIoTA™ is consistent with responses.
Significant reduction in troubleshooting time.
This Tier 1 automotive supplier can now troubleshoot everything lineside.
They don’t have to get people from other states involved in the troubleshooting.
A familiar platform for existing Data Commander™ users.
The IIoTA™ is the same form factor as the Data Commander™ MES Gateway Appliance. (Learn more here).
Empowered Production Engineering to get the data they need, and, in a way, they need it!
The database is pulled into the IIoTA’s internal database. That information is then moved over to an electronic document for the associates to follow.
As the pallet of parts passes in front of the RFID sensor, that triggers new data, and the IIoTA™ populates that on the screen for the associate.
This is in a standard web browser environment. Since it’s HTML, the data can be displayed on any device that is on that same LAN.
Furthermore, because this is in an HTML environment, the information can be viewed in both landscape and portrait modes.
The associates were used to an 8.5x11 sheet of paper for their Standard of Work. elliTek’s solution was able to accommodate, so they can now get the data they need in a way they need it.
The IIoTA™ has several other built-in features to further empower engineering.
Dashboards! The IIoTA™ Manager software has a drag & drop interface. Changes can be easily and instantaneously made.
In the background, the IIoTA™ connects a database to a visualized product. All in a standalone system.
This is possible because the IIoTA™ houses the database, the web server, the software that “talks” to almost everything, and brings it all together in one environment.
By doing that, users get control of all those aspects and use a singular software package (IIoTA Manager™) to build dashboards.
The lineside reporting allows for canned and user-configurable dashboards. The dashboards are great for real-time OEE machine monitoring and are extremely easy to create.
Production is empowered to create their own dashboards.
Another built-in IIoTA™ feature is Process Workflow Setup™ software. This allows the user to define a specific workflow, so they can build their whole environment.
The user can name each process, and then by simply point-and-click, they can connect the arrows to define what path a serialized part should follow. This can be referred to as ‘Skip Check’ or ‘Defect Flow Out Prevention’.
Skip Check, aka Defect Flow Out Prevention, is part of Zero Defects Initiative on production or the quality side. Basically, it says that whatever part or part number it is must pass through input one (wash bin one, or scrub machine one, etc.) then input two, and so on. If it doesn’t pass through, then the IIoTA™ sends the information back to the controlling device (PLC, robot controller, CNC controller on a paint machine or scrub machine). The IIoTA™ sends that information back at the onset of any cycle request to say “Yes, this part has passed everything upstream” or “No, it hasn’t.” This causes the operator to have to throw out and force out the part. This is ‘Skip Check’.
The final feature we’ll cover is local data storage. It was mentioned earlier about storing data locally. With this feature, the user has “ride-thru” capability, so the IIoTA™ is averse to external network failures. The IIoTA֭™ can store local data for machine setups and recipes. It can also do store and forward historical results to get the data upstairs to the Enterprise Level. We refer to this as ‘Lineside Data’.
Now, we'd like your input. What feature would help your production processes?
Email FreeDemo@ellitek.com to vote.
Contact elliTek for a free web demonstration. We’d like to learn more about your specific application to really dial in on it.