OPTIMIZING OPERATIONS: How Touchscreens Can Motivate Assembly Line Workers to Do Quality Work

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May 16, 2018 – // Manufacturing AUTOMATION // When UTC Aerospace required a solution to manage assembly line workers with no previous manufacturing experience, it decided to try something new that set a precedent for its future manufacturing operations management (MOM) strategy.

Using manufacturing software from PINpoint Information Systems that features situational awareness graphics on plant floor touchscreens, the manufacturer was able to train an unskilled workforce to build safety critical electronics without defects, which actually helped ramp up production within days, said UTC Aerospace. With the software monitoring and controlling the hundreds of process steps needed to build the products, problems and defects could not go unchecked so error-proofing was maximized.

How do touchscreens motivate assembly line workers to do quality work on time? All manufacturing stakeholders become accountable for the quality of the product, and the efficiency or timing in which it is assembled when individuals report to their own workstation touchscreens. The information created through an individual’s interactions with the touchscreens is also broadcasted to large plant floor displays for all team members to see, critique and act on. This manufacturing methodology emphasizes every line worker’s and supervisor’s own responsibility to contribute positively to the overall goal of manufacturing products of high quality in an efficient way, with the least amount of waste produced.

Assembly line workers and area supervisors become fully accountable for the finished product the moment they log into the user interface software with their own unique login and password. Figure 1 is an example of the SmartScreen user interface with various situational awareness graphics reporting the details and real-time performance of the individual line worker/workstation. The information includes the scheduled production time, the real-time status of the Goal Planned Actual (GPA), and Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) which helps ensure the line worker is made aware and of their progress within the cycle time.

assembly line workers

Figure 1: Assembly line touchscreen user interface featuring situational awareness graphics.


Since each manufacturing stakeholder is identified by her/ his own credentials, they must succumb to the first level of assembly line error-proofing. The software behind the user interface touchscreen identifies the worker and then confirms – before any work can start or tools are enabled – whether that person is actually qualified to do the work. The software, PINpoint describes, ensures quality by authenticating that the person has received the proper training to perform the process steps and that they are aware of the latest quality alerts and safety requirements unique to their workstation or process.

At the heart of the user interface software is a manufacturing execution system (MES) and multi-dimensional database containing all the information required to build the product, along with the record of the line worker’s credentials, their training and up-to-the-second historical assembly line performance data.

Once the line worker is verified, the user interface presents the relevant work instructions so they can begin performing the steps to build the product. In the case of the common fastening operation, the user interface displays the tolerances required for the fastening operation. Figure 2 shows a SmartScreen example where the line worker has progressed to Process Step 4 requiring them to perform 20 fastening operations within the parameter set (PSet) of 5.00 – 7.00Nm at an angle of 5 – 7°.

assembly line workers

Figure 2: Fastening operation SmartScreen showing tolerances data visualization.


PINpoint believes the worker is motivated to perform each process step carefully and quickly since they are made aware of the cycle time remaining to complete the operation by way of the cycle time gauge shown at the bottom left side of the main screen. Along the bottom of the screen are coloured bars that can also be configured to visually indicate and further re-enforce how they are progressing.

Once the worker begins performing the fastening operation, the touchscreen displays their Fastening Results step by step with textual data and graphics that shows the worker’s progress. Not only does the touchscreen help guide the worker in each fastening operation, the system monitors their performance and can halt their progress and even turn off their tools should any operation be performed outside the set parameters.

The touchscreen user interface and software not only motivate line workers, they help foster a team-based approach to manufacturing execution that instills a new culture, and closed-loop accountability in the factory where all manufacturing stakeholders are made accountable for what they contribute, describes PINpoint. The data generated by the line workers’ activities and the data recorded from the machines also becomes indispensable as business and manufacturing intelligence reports become increasingly essential for optimizing manufacturing operations.

Anthony Borges, marketing manager at PINpoint Information Systems, offers over 14 years of manufacturing optimization knowledge, with an aptitude for solving problems which increase business and manufacturing efficiency. Headquartered in Burlington, Ont., PINpoint services industry internationally from its offices in Canada, the United States and China.

This feature was originally published in the May 2018 issue of Manufacturing AUTOMATION: https://www.automationmag.com/technology/hardware/8346-optimizing-operations-how-touchscreens-can-motivate-assembly-line-workers-to-do-quality-work


EMPOWERING QUALITY & EFFICIENCY – Driving Change w/ Manufacturing Execution System Software

Manufacturing excellence is built on a robust, goal oriented philosophy that creates a reasonable expectation of success and a tool set that empowers all levels of a manufacturing facility to ‘walk the talk’. PINpoint V5 manufacturing execution system (MES) makes committing to a culture of manufacturing excellence practical. Set goals, leverage real-time data to be accountable to those goals; make adjustments, and measure the effectiveness of those manufacturing decisions to make walking the talk a way of life.

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“How Do You Establish A Culture Of Manufacturing Success? …

…By Bringing Full-accountability To Your MOM / #ManufacturingOperationsManagement!”

PINpoint V5 Makes Committing to a Culture of Manufacturing Excellence Practical. Set Your Goals, Leverage Real Time Data to Be Accountable to Those Goals, Make Adjustments, Measure the Effectiveness of Those Decisions and Make Walking The Talk a Way of Life!

#PaperlessManufacturing #Errorproofing #LeanManufacturing #ManufacturingExecutionSystem #AndonSystem AndonSoftware #MESsystem #MESsoftware

PINpoint Releases Real-time Performance Dashboards for Manufacturing Quality and Efficiency Optimization

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“…PINpoint V5 is distinguished by its’ at-a-glance manufacturing performance dashboards,” said Rob MacMillan, President of PINpoint Information Systems. “Real-time reporting empowers manufacturers to actually know how they are doing, whether they will be able to make rate by the end of the day, and what actions to take if they are trending downward.”

Technology Research – Gartner: Industrial and High-Tech/Electronics Context for Manufacturing Execution Systems

Manufacturing Execution System
Industrial and High-Tech/Electronics Context for Manufacturing Execution Systems:

Presented by: Mr. Rick Franzosa, Research Director
Supply Chain Research at Gartner Inc.

“…the Manufacturing Execution Systems market has always been fragmented by industry and technology. A Magic Quadrant cannot do justice to the nuanced differences, so in conjunction with the release of the Magic Quadrant for Manufacturing Execution Systems, there will be six industry specific context documents. These documents focus on the unique challenges in the industry, and feature MES vendors not found in the Magic Quadrant document. This document, the final document of the six, covers Industrial (discrete) manufacturing and high-tech/electronics manufacturing.”

For more information about PINpoint Information Systems V5 MES and V5 Andon Software and to Book Your Demo Please Call +1 905-639-8787 or Click: http://pinpointinfo.com/contact-us

PINpoint Releases New V5 MES Plant Floor Management Software


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“More than a manufacturing execution system, PINpoint V5 is a tool set that empowers all levels of a manufacturing facility to walk the talk,” said Rob MacMillan, President of PINpoint Information Systems. “It enables our customers to develop a culture of accountability in their operations which is necessary for achieving the goal oriented philosophy that creates a reasonable expectation of success.”

How To Achieve Quality and Efficiency One Touchscreen at A Time

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.


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: sales@pinpointinfo.com or visit: http://pinpointinfo.com/


WHITE PAPER: Maximize Fastening Tool Effectiveness and Save Money with Manufacturing Execution System Control.

WHITE PAPER | Bringing Data Visualization Forefront in Fastening Operations

See the “Why PINpoint?” prezi here:


CHINESE MANUFACTURERS: Making A Case For Keeping It Real

I recently made a tour through the burgeoning automobile assembly landscape in China and it was a humbling and thought provoking experience. The rate of expansion is truly awe inspiring, but it also raises an intriguing question. Where will Chinese manufacturers, and particularly the auto makers find the inspiration to achieve the world class quality and efficiency required to empower these products to create demand in more than their local market? Understandably they are looking to North America and others for inspiration. Upon reflection, I can’t help but hope they proceed with caution.

On close inspection of the North American automotive industry there are several ironies and disconnects that ring loudly. The discipline that is most often charged with delivering quality and efficiency to manufacturing operations is the Manufacturing Execution System or MES. After reviewing the ISA-95 standard that defines this space, one could argue that while it identifies the components of MES, it does little to identify how to create value with it. There is nothing in the ISA-95 standard that would indicate to a potential MES customer how to apply it in a way that could create a reasonable expectation of achieving quality and efficiency.

I think it is reasonable to assume that the success of the manufacturing process is critical to companies whose life blood is manufacturing quality products yet MES is often the last system defined in the corporate landscape after staples like ERP, PLM and others. In fact, establishing a coherent approach that creates a reasonable expectation of quality and efficiency often falls into a void between Information Technology, Engineering, Production, Quality and Plant Management. Which silo within a company should own the challenge of defining an approach that co-ordinates all plant disciplines in an effective way?  In most cases the answer is none, so consequently the fundamental values of the culture to support the pursuit of quality and efficiency go inadequately defined.  Each discipline looks after their own and the results are multiple systems functioning as islands with no knowledge of each other. This lack of co-ordination is a missed opportunity and something that is overdue to be solved.

The concept of advanced process control is most common within automotive assembly yet when you look at the major players in America and even Japan, you see strategies that are limited by the technology decisions made over twenty (20) years ago. The cost of transitioning away from these aging architectures is very real but that is no reason for this to be the benchmark in developing markets that have the freedom to make more progressive decisions. Unfortunately, it is much easier to play follow the leader than to invest in the difficult task of evaluating technology and making selections that create a reasonable expectation of achieving your corporate objectives.

Communication is a well documented necessity and challenge within businesses of any form.  In an industrial environment, the mechanism for plant floor communication is the Andon System. Historically the Andon system is a series of pushbuttons or pull cords within an operator station that could flash a light or play an audible tone designed to get the attention of a supervisor. This kind of infrastructure is hardwired so it is inherently expensive and inflexible. In the technological era of 2017, hopefully it is reasonable to assert that this might not be the most effective alternative to communicate across a plant floor that is often the size of several city blocks, yet most assembly lines built today blindly apply the same standard that was prevalent twenty-five (25) years ago. One could muse about the reasons for this, like the control the hardware companies that have a vested interest in propagating this outdated approach have on industry; but I can’t help but think what would happen if a company like Google ever turned their creative energies on a simple challenge like plant floor communication?

The follow the leader phenomenon could not be more clear than in the area of electric fastening tools. In an industrial assembly environment bolting components together with threaded fasteners is one of the most common and most important processes (see Figure 1). This has lead to a large and lucrative market for sophisticated fastening systems that has evolved over the last few decades. The companies marketing these kinds of products have done an admirable job of answering this demand and building a market now worth billions of dollars per year.

The electric tool has become as common place as the pushbutton on the assembly line and in most companies this is a significant but accepted cost that comes with setting up a modern assembly line. You would think that an investment that is often measured in millions of dollars would come with an expectation of delivering a specific result and a corresponding value, yet this is typically compromised by the same ambivalent approach that deploys pushbuttons or prints paper instructions as a means of communication in a chaotic industrial environment.


chinese manufacturers

Figure 1: Heavy machinery bolted joint fastening operation

Electric fastening systems are highly sophisticated devices with endless capabilities (just ask the vendors promoting them), but the ability of companies today to deploy them in an intelligent  way that creates a reasonable expectation of achieving their intended goals is lacking. Finding a vendor to furnish these systems anywhere in the world is simple. Having a vision for deploying them to a positive end is an entirely different matter.

If a bright light was shone on many of the common practices of the most sophisticated industrial manufacturing processes in the world, there would be many red faces and this would not be more true than in the area of Big Data. This is a trendy subject and like electric fastening systems most manufacturers accepted long ago that being dedicated to the advantages of data analysis is a staple for success in any manufacturing operation. Every assembly plant and engineering office has a host of graphs and charts proudly displayed to tell the stories that are somehow vital to those making the critical game time decisions daily that drive world class quality and efficiency. While this data may provide some useful trending information most is limited to telling part of the story of what happened yesterday. Sophisticated data analytics cannot make up for lack of resolution or timeliness of the source data.

This reality is yet another by-product of manufacturing systems that often lack a common-sense approach to solving everyday challenges of manufacturing. Data that is manually collected after the fact, impacted by subjective influences and not properly correlated because it resides in multiple stand alone systems compromises the value that truly focused data can provide.

To witness the luxury of Chinese manufacturers being able to build new manufacturing facilities today with the latest and greatest technology one just needs to look around in the major cities of China. Technology is on display in everything from architecture to mass transit systems. The exploding demand for automobiles in China has lead to a corresponding expansion of local Chinese manufacturers. They are looking at leaders in America and Europe to learn from their experience. Can Chinese manufacturers do more than play follow the leader? We have endeavored to help them with their “Made in China 2025” objectives by providing the Chinese market the most innovative manufacturing process control and error-proofing technology available today.


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 (Version 4.x available now; V5 scheduled for release this Summer 2017).

Thoroughly proven the software is in use daily around the World in multiple languages by leading manufacturers. Headquartered in Burlington, Ontario, PINpoint services Chinese manufacturers from their offices in China, Canada and the United States. For more information, please call: +1 (905) 639-8787, email: sales@pinpointinfo.com or visit: http://pinpointinfo.com/


PINpoint_Made-In-China-2025_Sheet (pdf download)

CHINESE-MANUFACTURERS_Making-A-Case-For-Keeping-It-Real_July-20-2017 (pdf download)


See the “Why PINpoint?” prezi here:

MES Systems:

Andon Communications Software:



Rob MacMillan, President, PINpoint Information Systems Inc.

Mr. MacMillan is an entrepreneur with 30 years of experience in industrial manufacturing.  PINpoint Information Systems is a software company that promotes the vision of a configurable product to manage manufacturing process in a co-ordinated, intelligent way. PINpoint software is the global standard for some of the largest industrial manufacturers in the world.


“To witness the luxury of Chinese manufacturers being able to build new manufacturing facilities today with the latest and greatest technology one just needs to look around in the major cities of China. Technology is on display in everything from architecture to mass transit systems. The exploding demand for automobiles in China has lead to a corresponding expansion of local Chinese manufacturers. They are looking at leaders in America and Europe to learn from their experience. Can Chinese manufacturers do more than play follow the leader? We have endeavored to help them with their ‘Made in China 2025′ objectives by providing the Chinese market the most innovative manufacturing process control and error-proofing technology available today.”

PINpoint Information Systems Celebrates 20 Years of Manufacturing Error-proofing Excellence

pinpoint information systems

PINpoint Information Systems Inc. Burlington, Ontario, has announced its twentieth (20th) anniversary since its founding in 1997. In its 20th year PINpoint is set to once-again revolutionize manufacturing operations management (MOM) / manufacturing execution system (MES) software with the addition of even more powerful data visualization and reporting features; i.e. manufacturing intelligence and business intelligence tools integral for optimizing manufacturing processes to achieve the highest levels of quality and efficiency.

Last year PINpoint introduced Andon 3D, a plant floor communications, product tracking, and manufacturing reporting system recommended as the upgrade for any existing andon system, or, as an entry level into MES system software to build your future MES strategy. Andon 3D has the PINpoint MES PRO (Version 4) software at heart, and given the platform’s flexibility and scalability to adapt to an unlimited number of users, work stations, assembly lines and product variations, the solution is long-term focused to expand as the manufacturer’s operations grow.

PINpoint also introduced powerful data visualization features in its Version 4 products with graphic aids to error-proof assembly line fastening processes. Figure 1. below shows an example “Rundown Detail” screen shot that is displayed for the line worker on “SmartScreen” user interfaces/touchscreens they interact with daily as a guide to production and mistake-proofing. SmartScreen’s present complicated data in visual form so line workers can complete their tasks more effectively without defects in the allocated cycle time. In this example the line worker is guided to run down fasteners or bolts to a pre-set Torque and Angle tolerance to pass the process step.

pinpoint information systems

Figure 1: Example SmartScreen” user interface for error-proofing fastening processes.

Further development of PINpoint’s powerful data visualization technology has been ongoing and is about to change the way industry relates to critical plant floor metrics like OEE. By presenting OEE in real time and providing the ability to ‘play back’ a shift of production, PINpoint will provide users the opportunity to focus on the exact moment efficiency was compromised. By focusing on real time effectiveness of the entire line, PINpoint will provide the information to drive proactive decisions which in turn drive measurable improvements in quality and efficiency.

By simply opening a web browser on any computer or Smartphone manufacturers will be able to watch a movie of their production activities at any speed, with the ability to stop to zero in on a problem; and then analyze the data to understand what really happened, make a change, and then measure the effectiveness of that decision.

“…with a laser focus on maximizing error-proofing with stringent process control measures, PINpoint is solving real, every day assembly line problems other systems are not able to address. We have always designed our software to be a solution our customers can live with day in and day out, and grow with in time. With the upcoming release of our Version 5 it is an exciting time as we strive to provide even greater value to our customers with new features that empower manufacturers to achieve their goal of meeting world class standards” said Rob MacMillan, President of PINpoint Information Systems.

PINpoint is scheduled to release Version 5 of its software the Summer of 2017. It includes more advanced data visualization features with data playback capabilities and cutting-edge reporting tools. PINpoint software is designed and tested to ‘Information Technology Infrastructure Library’ (ITIL) standards before any official version release. PINpoint’s Andon 3D and MES PRO manufacturing execution system continue to be evolved and pushed-forward by leading manufacturers. Thoroughly proven PINpoint software is in use every day Worldwide in multiple languages by leading automotive, heavy machinery, aerospace, military, marine, agricultural, power sports vehicle manufacturers and more.

Headquartered in Burlington, Ontario, PINpoint services industry Internationally from their offices in Canada, the United States, and China. For more information, please contact PINpoint at +1 905-639-8787sales@pinpointinfo.com or visit their website http://pinpointinfo.com

SOURCE PINpoint Information Systems, Inc.




WHITE PAPER | Bringing Data Visualization Forefront in Fastening Operations

Data visualization is integral to any continuous improvement initiative, and particularly in assembly fastening operations it further enhances error-proofing. Essentially data visualization is a term that describes the effort of helping people to understand the significance of data by placing it in a graphical context. Patterns, trends and associations that might go undetected in text based information can be understood easier with manufacturing execution software that puts data visualization forefront.

The ability to present complicated information to an assembly line worker in a meaningful way only adds to the error-proofing goal. Fastening operations in manufacturing are integral to the successful output of quality defect-free products; any bolt or nut not fastened to the specified tolerances of torque and angle are prone to failure, and potentially warranty claims, and safety concerns once in the field. The importance of quality assuring that each and every bolted joint on any product, and especially safety critical products like automobiles, heavy machinery, and airliners for example, is of paramount concern; safeguards must be introduced to ensure no defects ever pass, and those safeguards must monitor and control all aspects of those assembly operations.

Manufacturing execution system (MES) software provides manufactures of any size the impenetrable defence needed to error-proof. For example, at the line station level the MES interface screens or ‘SmartScreens’ are the first protection to error-proof any assembly fastening operation. Line station workers must first log into the system using their credentials; the system then confirms who they are, and whether they are qualified to do the process steps assigned to that particular station.

Once confirmed, the line worker in the example would next be presented with any pending messages or alerts, such as a Quality Alert, which once read would need to be acknowledged by the line worker to the MES system by pressing a button or entering text. Only after all messages and alerts are observed will the MES system give the line worker the approval to begin work, and turn on the tools and devices needed to perform process steps. From that moment forward cycle and/or Takt time begins, with the line worker being guided ‘visually’ by the SmartScreen to complete the assembly fastening operation.

The latest fastening operation data visualization technology from PINpoint Information Systems provides line workers extremely clear directions and visual feedback regarding the progress of each and every process step they are performing. So much so, it has proven time and time again to be able to instruct newly hired assembly line workers with no previous experience to perform complicated tasks; and to be able to do so in a short timeframe due to the guidance provided by the MES system.

Figure 1 below shows the SmartScreen Rundown Detail window. It comprises all of the information required by the line worker to successfully complete the fastening operation. The fastening tolerances are displayed as they were configured by the production engineers (from a website browser on any computer or phone) and are shown as both the assembly tool Controller Limits, and the MES system [PINpoint] Limits creating the flexibility for two (2) levels of defence in verifying the status of the fastening operation. Easy to identify colored areas in the grid represent the tool controller and MES system limits; the fastening operation Torque tolerance in this example is shown as the blue area, with the Angle tolerance shown as the purple area. Where they overlap distinguishes the target or specified Torque and Angle tolerance for the operation, with the green dot (animated and pulsing) indicating what the result was of the bolt rundown operation.


data visualization

Figure 1:SmartScreen’ fastening operation Rundown Detail window.

In the Rundown Detail window example above, the target Torque and Angle tolerances for the Tool Controller are 0.00 – 8.00Nm and 0 – 8° respectively; with the MES system [PINpoint] Limits for Torque set at 5.00 – 10.00Nm and Angle at 5 – 10°. When the line station worker performs the operation successfully within tolerance, the Status ‘OK’ is indicated in text as shown, but also visually with a flashing green dot located inside the overlapping colored areas indicating the operation was successful and within tolerance limits. If the worker had failed and rundown the fastener outside of the aforementioned Torque and Angle tolerances, then a ‘NOK’ would be displayed as the status, with a red dot, again flashing, but located outside of the overlapping colored areas indicating a failed rundown, or result outside the specification.

An ‘NOK’ status results in a halt to the line worker’s progress, with assembly tools and devices being locked. The MES system may be configured to allow the line worker to try a second or third rundown by reversing the tool and running it down again, or not; the system is completely configurable, so manufacturers can decide exactly how it is they deal with the defects unique to their products and manufacturing operations. In this case the issue with the defective part could be resolved in different ways, depending on the situation; i.e. perhaps the line worker is able to reverse the tool and attempt another rundown within spec for an ‘OK’ status, or maybe Line Supervisor interjection is necessary? If so, help is available immediately when the line worker presses their SmartScreen andon help button; and regardless of the scenario, once the Line Supervisor is involved she/he are able to make the decision on the next steps, such as re-routing the defective product to a repair workstation.

The use of data visualization on the assembly line only strengthens the manufactures ability to full-proof their error-proofing strategy. From the line workers and supervisors point of view, the system is their guide to doing a good job on time. The MES connects all people and machines into a monitoring, process control, and reporting system that tells you, and your team, how they and overall operations are doing at any given time. The motivation gained by the manufacturing team not only makes for a more efficient factory producing quality products, but creates an atmosphere and culture of people who want to do better together and grow.


PINpoint Information System’s manufacturing execution system (MES) software is meticulously designed and tested to ‘Information Technology Infrastructure Library’ (ITIL) standards before any official version release. PINpoint’s andon and MES System software have been developed since 1997 and continue to be evolved and pushed-forward by leading manufacturers.

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: sales@pinpointinfo.com or visit: http://pinpointinfo.com/


Establishing a Culture of Manufacturing Success prezi:

MES Systems:

Andon Communications Software:

Automation.com Article Source:


data visualization