Automating intra-logistics and production
Tracking work-in-progress (WIP) gives real-time insight of what is in production, giving the ability to create a digital twin of the production floor. This information allows MES systems to optimize production scheduling based on availability of raw materials, sub-assemblies and machines. Identifiers are applied to the carriers on the closed loop production line. The workpieces are encoded with identifiers used to track the products throughout the production processes. All production data is recorded with each product for complete production traceability.
Realized improvements in operating efficiencies
Work pieces in progress are problematic. With an ever-changing supply of partially complete assemblies, it can be challenging to maintain an accurate inventory available for production, while optimizing production in a fluid environment can be troublesome.
The first step in automating WIP flow through production is serialization of workpieces and carriers. After a real-time inventory system is established for what components or sub-assemblies are available for production, production runs and changeovers can be optimized. Perhaps a production change exists that would require only one tool change as opposed to twenty. Perhaps your operators run faster with higher quality if minimal changes to production runs take place throughout the day.
Increases in availability are realized through a creation of an accurate inventory of sub-assemblies in progress and the use of a digital factory clone. Ensuring that required sub-assemblies are available eliminate material shortages, and optimization of production changes will significantly reduce time required for setup and changeover.
Increases in performance are realized through optimization of operator efficiencies, in addition to a significant reduction in small stops created by constant large-scale production changeovers.
Recommended product platforms
Many different identification technologies can be deemed appropriate for WIP management in production. Most solutions will rely on either HF RFID technology or image-based code reading to ensure that a identifier/workpiece is isolated (no cross reading possible).
Many WIP solutions require a significant amount of data stored locally on the workpiece, so an identification solution designed to transfer large payloads quickly is an ideal choice.
If the environment is not extremely harsh, an image-based code reading solution may be appropriate.
If a WIP solution is designed to utilize only a small amount of data, or the process is not high speed, IO-link HF RFID can be a viable solution for WIP management as well, while allowing additional process information to be communicated to the controller over IO-link for further optimization of production.