We are living in an age where communication between people is real time and instant. Now you can communicate across the globe with anyone, at any time just by picking up your favorite device.
Machines are also capable of talking to one another. What once was science fiction, is now a reality. Phrases such as IOT (Internet of Things) and AI (Artificial Intelligence) are a regular part of our vocabulary. We still have a long way to go before the Smart Factory becomes a reality across all industries. But the pieces are now available to create the factory of today and tomorrow. But like all areas of development in a company, laying out the integration starts with the right plan. And all plans require the right knowledge and the right people to ensure successful launch and operation. So where do you start? You always start with the Why.
Why Should You Network your Processes?
We are living in an area of extreme complexity. So much complexity, the average person cannot deal with the breadth of details required. So our ultimate goal should be to create simplicity out of complexity.
Our ultimate goal should be to create simplicity out of complexity.
Most tasks have some repeatable components to them. Components that can be automated so the main task can be completed with more efficiency.
Every process has its human element. When workers process their assigned task, two things can occur: errors and simple bias. Removing as many points where errors can occur is a critical factor in network and automation. Considering the following points:
- Selecting raw materials and processing tools. Have the right tools and materials have been selected?
- Are the processing instructions clearly laid out?
- Is Quality data available and as important, is it the current revision?
When a process has been in place for many years, workers become comfortable with that process. So much that bias can enter in. In the case of product quality, who makes a decision what is an acceptable quality component? Who decides whether to place the component in the good or reject pile? And how can you be assured that the rejects are not placed as part of good production?
Removing simple bias and reducing causes of error are reasons for Network Integration.
What about process tool capability? You depend on machines to process your materials into a quality component. These machines require routine maintenance and parts replacement. Some considerations:
- Are your machines capable of repeatable processing? Is there a process in place to ensure process capability?
- What is the life span of consumable tools (cutters, punches, forming tools etc.). Do you have a process in place to replace consumable tools to ensure process capability?
- Do you have a system to enforce routine machine maintenance and consumable tool replacement?
All of these factors are why you need to consider Network Integration. Let’s consider the critical factors in your planning and integration process.
Identifying the Processes to Integrate.
Integrating as many factory processes is important. Most processes are different so a common system of communication between machine processes is key,
In the case of a typical wire harness factory, here are a few examples of processing systems:
- Bench Top Terminal Crimp Machines.
- Ultrasonic Welders (Wire Splice and Terminal to Wire Welders). Telsonic TS3 pictured below.
- Wire Twisters.
- Automated Wire Processing Machines.
A common system of communication between machine processes is key.
Your factory will not only have different processes being used, often you have machines of the same processing type from different vendors. When you introduce a new vendor solution, you don’t simply throw out what you have used in the past. So in reality, you can have older process machines operating next to newer technology from the same and often different companies.
Competing companies may have their own solution. But does that solution talk to machines from other companies? Communication Systems must cover all machines whether they are older legacy systems or newer systems from different vendors.
Platform independence is critical.
Connecting Processing Machines and Quality Validation/Monitoring Systems.
You should be considering networking not just your processing machines for communicating process instructions and collecting valuable processing data .But also connecting quality validation and monitoring processes. In the case of Wire Harness Processing and the critical process of terminal crimping:
- Crimp Height Micrometers (Conductor Crimp Height).
- Blade Micrometers or Calipers (Conductor Crimp Width and Insulation Crimp).
- Crimp Cross Section Analysis.
- Crimp Force Monitoring.
- Crimp Cameras.
C&S MPN100 Network for Benchtop Crimp Presses
These and other tools are important to ensure production starts with a validated process. And to monitor the production process for good output and to remove defects from the production stream.
Let’s face it, you don’t have all the answers. That’s why you need external support. Selecting the right companies to partner with is an important first step. Companies who are able to consider your unique requirements. Companies that have highly knowledgeable and experienced personnel to provide guidance. Along the full journey of your plan.
Connect Your Way with WireProcess Specialties to hear how our Global Technology Partners are your answer to your processing problems. We specialize in WireProcessing Solutions and Crimping Solutions.