Citing a medium sized automotive parts producer who achieved an 18 per cent reduction in error rate in the first six months after introducing their manufacturing execution system (MES), Forcam assert that track-and-trace has a positive and immediate bottom-line benefit. This runs counter to the negative view held by some engineering sub-contractors who may see traceability as a defensive measure and an obligation imposed by prime manufacturers to limit the impact of a product recall.
The key is that with the Forcam Force track-and-trace module in place, every operation has a digital profile. In the fully-connected workshop this stream of data is constantly analysed in the cloud. With process digitisation it is possible to define what parameters characterise in-specification product. On a machining centre, for example, this could be a combination of data on spindle speed, time and power drawn. Deviations from this profile will flag suspect components and possible process problems before even on-machine metrology can spot the issue. The company has produced a new guide for free download at http://www.forcam.com/en/content/case-studies-white-papers.
Andrew Steele, Forcam’s UK managing director, explained, “Transparency drives quality. By monitoring every manufacturing operation, taking feeds from embedded machine sensors, inputs from the human/machine interface, scanning parts bar codes as components progress through the shop and from other sources we can build a complete picture of operations. This data is processed in real time in the cloud to give role relevant feedback to plant managers, workshop supervisors and machine operators. Productivity is the main benefit, but having a complete history of component production and processing comes a close second.”
In the extreme case of recall, having a complete history of production operations significantly reduces disruption and associated costs. “Data from Forcam Force streams directly into the ERP system enabling complete backward and forward traceability through the supply chain, so suspect components or materials are more easily identified and recalled,” Andrew Steele explained.
Track and trace is just one aspect of Forcam Force, a comprehensive system for networking shop floor operations to give information in real time for more effective production control. Users commonly report 20-30 per cent productivity gains and use the system to sustain continuous improvement.
As part of Forcam Force, the track and trace module will feature on the Forcam stand 5060, hall 5, at Mach 2016.
Other papers and guides are also available on different aspects of shop floor networking such as visualisation and reporting, digital production folders and overcoming machine interconnection issues.
Press release issued: March 9, 2016