Introducing Proplanner Labs

Support for DC Torque Tools


The engineers at Proplanner Labs have been hard at work on constructing our first in-house MES station which is being used to test our upcoming support for DC Torque tools, Andon Screens, and Andon light towers. 


Live shot of Labs Testing


Our first workstation consists of an Atlas Copco Powerfocus 4000 controller driving an ST61 tool in addition to a Milwaukee M12 Fuel DC Torque Wrench supporting their new One-Key features. 


With the PF4000 Proplanner’s Shop Floor MES application will be able to communicate both via USB and Ethernet. Initially, the USB option will provide for communications between a workstation-based PC that is simultaneously communicating with the Worker and the PF4000. 


In the future, support for the Internet connection will allow for a more disconnected option between the device used by the Worker (i.e. perhaps and Android tablet) and the PF4000.  Our initial interface will support setting PSET values and providing feedback from a PSET activity.  This feedback will be in the form of the torque activity status (success/fail) and if successful, the Torque data values which will be logged with that Activity for that vehicle.


The objective with the Milwaukee torque tool is the same, but the APIs are still very new so this integration will likely not be available in the first production release.


Our initial project is targeted at allowing the engineer to specify a torque value for a single, or multiple torque Activity.  This torque value will be automatically sent to the tool and the instruction screen will wait until the torque process is completed (successfully or not).  If a failure occurs, an Shop Floor Viewer Issue will be automatically generated and will be visible on any Factboard screen monitoring that station as well as on any Internet-enabled Andon tower assigned to the station.


Clearing a torque failure, (or any other Shop Floor Viewer Issue) could be performed by the operator or could require supervisory approval.  Once the failure is cleared, the Andon status (Factboard and Andon Tower Light) will return to active status.



The Andon Tower light is an Internet-enabled device provided by Q-Light. 


Work is underway to allow a Shop Floor Viewer to initiate an Issue to trigger the light on and off.  In this way, each Issue in Shop Floor Viewer could be associated with a different light color, and thus closing the issue at the workstation will turn off the light.


On advantage of the Internet-enabled light, the tower is that issues could be cleared remote to the station that initiated them (i.e. via Factboard perhaps) and Issues initiated at one Shop Floor Viewer station could turn on and off lights for Andon towers in remote areas of the facility. 


Alternately Proplanner intends to support the lower cost (simpler) USB-enabled Andon Tower lights but control would be limited only to the stations to which they are physically connected to.


From a processing and user interface perspective, we have two Intel NUC PCs and a Raspberry Pi 4.0 PC driving five touchscreen panels.  Currently, only two touchscreens are shown and both are being controlled by the same computer.


The first 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. 


In the provided image, the upper touch screens are showing a Factboard Andon screen which is displaying six workstations on the assembly line while the lower screen shows the instructions for the operator conducting an assembly operation for which there is an issue.  That issue is actually showing up in the Andon screen and touching that station will display information about it.

More information on our Factboard Andon system can be seen on our Factboard Blog and video series.

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