The Data War Has Been Declared, Production Including
- Digital Factory
The avalanche of terms from the world includes Industry 4.0, Advanced manufacturing, Smart factory, Internet of Things. Each of them has a slightly different meaning but we can find common base too. Let us analyse them from the production data point of view.
New terms coincide with a massive employment of computers directly in production. We speak of interconnection of machines, products and people, of real and virtual world blending where everything will be interconnected and data sharing among systems will take place independently and automatically. On the other hand we can often meet opinions that we do not need any computer systems in production, that any investment into IT in production is worthless. Even though the ideas of new initiatives may seem crazy, there really exist production companies today that are failing in managing production, with two days or one week old plan of production and the executive foreman is running about the workshop trying to guide the “most pressing” orders. The question is what we can learn from new initiatives today. We should not wait for dreams to become real.
Current feasible plan
That is a bold aim. There is an indefinite number of causes why production does not follow its plan. Most often we can experience a problem with plan updating because there are no current data about production in progress. So let us equip production with registering places, and let the workers register the progress directly in the information system. Let us display their plans for them together with information about their progress. Doing this we will not only obtain up-to-date data, but we will also benefit from an increased performance. Production performance may be influenced by availability of machines and their output, and by the fact whether they are operating in a cycle or according to a standard. Let us look for ways how to obtain information from a machine saying whether it is running and producing, adjusting itself, is idle due to a defect, or is simply not producing. And let the worker or serviceman record the reason. And let us monitor also tiny deviations from a standard performance. State of machines and their performance shall be displayed everywhere in workshop, so that everybody can see it. Night shift will achieve the same performance as the day one.
There are productions, where production parameters are crucial for achieving required quality for each individual product, where waiting time of a product from previous operation is fixed, where it is possible to make many corrections only until a certain production step and not later. Let us mark material and products by barcodes or RFID tags, let us use serial numbers, let us scan these serial numbers of all or selected components before each key operation, and let us connect the information system with machine. Then the IS allows a machine to run only if all conditions are met. At the same time it saves all necessary machine parameters for later evaluations or as a proof of evidence.
Once we have equipped production with data collecting places, terminals, let operators input also rejects and reason codes. In some cases it may be a task for quality manager. If we need to verify and manage qualifications of workers, let them logon the production order and let them know when changes in production process took place on a display.
When maintenance workers input reason codes they can input also start and completion of maintenance. In case of a machine failure the IS sends an SMS to maintenance workers and we can easily evaluate how long it took them to come, or if they e.g. worked somewhere else. Production data are extremely valuable, let us collect them, evaluate and push the production forward. Do not collect data that are not evaluated. They are still valuable, however useless. Answers to “how” questions may be found under MES, APS, LES, WMS, MOM, QMS abbreviations.