Whether your manufacturing operations are small or medium sized with only one or a few workstations, or you already have multiple assembly lines and hundreds of workstations, there is a touchscreen or user interface technology available now that can make all the difference in whether you achieve your manufacturing quality and efficiency goals, or not. Do you presently assemble your products or complete your process steps within your allocated cycle time or Takt time; and to the highest quality standards? If not, what’s holding you back? If yes, can you do even better? A lot can be revealed when you have insight into the right manufacturing data to begin with.
That data must be detailed to the finest degree including every bit of information relating to all the actions on the plant floor by both human and machine at each unique workstation, and it has to be in real time to be in the know as soon as possible (especially when things are going wrong). The most advanced workstation user interface screens are the front for the ultimate manufacturing execution strategy. Not only can workstation user interfaces be used to manage plant floor communications, they can also monitor its’ users daily progress, i.e. both assembly line supervisors, and workstation workers progress to ensure activities are done properly and issues are resolved on time to achieve the over-all goal of quality products built efficiently.
Both an Andon communications and a manufacturing execution solution, software products like PINpoint’s SmartScreen workstation interface provide manufacturers the means to monitor and control all plant floor manufacturing activities and their timing. Utilized in the simplest form, the smart touchscreens are an essential plant floor communications tool, production monitoring, and manufacturing reporting tool. Additionally, as your manufacturing operations evolve and you increase your number of employees, or workstations, assembly lines, and you automate, the back bone of your manufacturing execution or product assembly and full process control strategy is already included. At the heart of the workstation user interface is a powerful manufacturing execution system (MES) or manufacturing operations management (MOM) software platform, making it the perfect entry-level MES/MOM solution for any sized manufacturer new to MES to implement and instantly improve their plant floor management strategy. The system is also designed as an out-of-the-box upgrade for existing or antiquated MES software users.
The SmartScreen client interface is where the line worker communicates her/his status and qualifications to perform process steps at that specific workstation or job. They must first login with their unique login and password or badge scan to indicate their status to the system and confirm they are available to work and perform process steps. The user interface qualifies who the person is and whether they are trained or certified to perform the task(s), i.e. before they are presented any work instructions, and before any tools, devices or machines are turned on (full process control option).
Only when the line station worker is identified to do the work can they access paperless instructions, and they are made aware of any quality alerts or safety alerts in effect for the process steps they are to perform. Once the required document reading or viewing is acknowledged by the user (keyboard input or RFID card scan) can they proceed to work and be presented with the process steps to be completed with the tools or devices activated.
See Figure 1 below for an example SmartScreen interface where the user is already logged in, was qualified, and acknowledged documents. She/he has now been presented work instructions, or process steps to be completed. At this point the system would turn on the required tools and devices at the workstation. It is also important to note that the timing of these activities is monitored and recorded in a server database for analysis later. The manufacturing data is crucial for finding ways to improve the assembly line processes. Plant Managers and Engineers can easily access the data from the cloud via a website on any Smartphone or computer to instantly view reports in real-time.
Figure 1: PINpoint SmartScreen user interface touchscreen example
In the Figure 1 example above the line worker is made aware of their progress by timers and colorful gauges (bottom left of touchscreen) to ensure they know how they are doing at-a-glance. This ensures the line worker stays cognizant of the pre-set timing to complete the work. The recorded timing data also proves indispensable to plant management, process engineers and quality engineers alike by empowering them to analyze real time or historical production data to determine how workstation cycle time and Takt time can be optimized to achieve the perfect balance of quality products being produced in the most efficient time possible.
In the second user interface screen example below (Figure 2) the line station worker was presented with an alert while completing process steps due to a mistake or product defect that happened. This quality issue alert indicates an error that occurred in the process that must be acknowledged before additional process steps are presented. Any tools or devices connected the job would be turned off until the problem is resolved.
Figure 2: Example touchscreen workstation product error-proofing, quality issue warning
Whether the error was caused by the line station worker, a failed tool or device, or defective parts and materials, stop guards can be configured to halt the workstation operation to prevent defective products from being shipped, or from progressing further down the assembly line without management interjection to acknowledge the issue and direct the resolution. In the scenario in Figure 2, the assembly line worker is presented a “FIX NOW” button which provides the user the instructions to deal with the issue, e.g. for them to fix the problem in the existing workstation, or to reroute the defective product to a repair station. If the problem cannot be resolved by the line worker then accordingly the issue can be escalated to include the line area supervisor or quality manager who can ultimately decide what to do to resolve the defect.
You can also see both the user interface screen examples above contain two (2) Andon communication push buttons (top right) configured as a means for the line worker to communicate to team members for help (buttons are customizable). They can report any problem they are having by pressing the buttons to raise visual alarms like stack lights or large screen displays, or to sound audio alerts via a public-address system, or by text or email messaging sent directly to supervisors or managers to get involved to aid in solving the problem quickly.
Manufacturers can now establish their plant floor execution strategy for the long-term in step by step increments by starting with optimizing communications and assembly line efficiency with detailed manufacturing reports. As operations expand the software is flexible and scalable, enabling small to large manufacturers alike an entry-level to develop their longer-term MES/MOM solution (including full process control capabilities with tool, device, machine control). It is ultimately the physical plant floor activities performed by humans and machines that determine the manufacturers ability to produce quality products on time. Can manufacturers do better and improve their operations with more error-proofing safeguards in place? Yes, it is proven, and can be as cost-effective as implementing one workstation touchscreen at a time.
MES/MOM SYSTEM TOUCHSCREEN SOFTWARE
PINpoint Information System’s manufacturing execution system (MES) / manufacturing operations management (MOM) software is meticulously designed and tested to ‘Information Technology Infrastructure Library’ (ITIL) standards before any official version release. Their MES/MOM and Andon communications products have been developed since 1997 and continue to be evolved and pushed-forward by their customers.
Thoroughly proven the software is in use daily around the World in multiple languages by leading manufacturers. Headquartered in Burlington, Ontario, PINpoint services industry internationally from their offices in Canada, the United States, and China. For more information, please call: +1 (905) 639-8787, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit: http://pinpointinfo.com/
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