Support for DC Torque Tools
**Updated Jan 1, 2022
With our new DC Torque Tool support, engineers can activate and document specific PSET or JOB/BATCH fastener torque and angle values in tooling on the shop floor, simply by selecting tool (resource) instances from their library when defining their process Worksteps. This integration eliminates the expense and effort of dedicated workstation-based MES applications and PLCs with complex variant (model/option) logic, since Proplanner Worksteps are enabled specifically based on variant rules defined in the Routing.
Perhaps most importantly, by embedding this logic and communications within the process plan and published instructions, it is quick, easy and less error prone to move DC Torque Tool worksteps from one station to another (perhaps during a rebalance), or to change torque specifications for specific variants. In fact, as long as the PSETS/JOBS/BATCHES and Nutrunners are present in controllers at multiple stations, changes made by process engineers no longer require any involvement by the shop floor automation engineers. As such, task rebalancing and engineering changes can be released to the shop floor more frequently with less cost and quicker validation times.
Torque tool instances defined by Process Engineers in the Resource Library include PSET or JOB/BATCH numbers. For example, the first workstep in the first activity shown below references a tool called ACN_40NM which calls the Batch "PPJob1" in the controller. This particular Batch/Job includes a PSET of 7NM with an angle greater than 10 degrees. The first Workstep was completed successfully (indicated by green bar) and Shop Floor Viewer (SFV) is waiting for the results of the second Torque event (indicated by orange bar).
Selecting the "eye" icon in the completed workstep's green bar shows the Torque and Angle readings from the controller. These values are also stored in the Unit History Report for every product produced. More detailed information on any specific Torque event can be referenced directly from the DC Torque Controller via a query of the Unit ID which is sent, along with the PSET/JOB number to the Controller at the initiation of the Torque event.
The Batch/Job shown below, indicates that there are multiple PSET Torque events being performed by the Controller. In this display, the first PSET has been successfully executed (Torque 10NM, Angle 15 degrees) and the SFV is waiting for the results of the second event.
The Process Engineer defines the maximum number of attempts allowed for each Tool Instance (i.e. Torque PSET/JOB/BATCH mapped to a Workstep). As shown below, once a shop floor worker exceeds this value, the Torque event is failed and the error code is displayed to the worker in the SFV and logged against the unit in the Unit History report. Once this total failure is encountered, the worker would need to restart the entire Activity or Operation of Activities, depending upon the requirements defined by the Process Engineer.
In the next version of this interface, the Process Engineer (automatically), or worker (manually), could flag the unit as "dead-no further work" resulting in a suspension of all further Activities and a request for removal of the unit from the line at the next opportunity.
Upon success or failure of any Activity, the Factboard display and (if equipped) Andon Tower light are updated accordingly. One advantage of the Internet-enabled Factboard displays, or Andon Tower lights, is that issues could be communicated remote to the stations that initiated them.
Alternately Proplanner intends to support the lower cost (simpler) USB/PLC/OPC-enabled Andon Tower lights but control would be limited only to the stations to which they are physically connected.
As shown in the architectural diagram below, the system utilizes our new IOT Service which is installed on any computer located on the shop floor subnet which has connectivity to fixed IP address devices (i.e. DC Torque Tools, Andon Light Towers, Fixed Scanners). This IOT Service includes our OPC DA/Classic communications capability.
Our internal IIOT/OPC test workstation, shown at the top of this blog, consists of both an Atlas Copco PF 4000 and PF 6000 Controller with wired and two virtual (PF6000 only) tools as well as an integrated socket tray. One PC (Intel NUC) drives the two touchscreen displays. The upper touchscreen panel is connected via HDMI for video and a USB cable for power and mouse-key support. The second touchscreen display uses a single USB-C cable which provides power, video, and mouse-key support. The upper display shows a Factboard Andon screen with only the active workstation status shown (note: multi-stations are supported). The lower display shows an SFV screen of that worker's specific list of tasks to perform and communicates (to the worker) the status of their assigned DC Torque tool.
A short video demonstration of our new DC Torque Tool interface can be seen here.
More information on our Factboard Andon system can be seen on our Factboard Blog and video series.
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