While many great MES systems are available, few are tailored specifically to the task of vehicle assembly. Fundamentally, the assembly line is a series of highly variable, worker-dependent operations as opposed to the more consistent, repetitive, machine-dependent operations often addressed by traditional MES applications.
Proplanner's assembly oriented MES (Shop Floor Viewer MES) and Andon (Factboard) systems make extensive use of the highly detailed and model-option coded (variant) Assembly Planner process database in providing a bi-directional flow of task-level information between manufacturing engineers and shop floor workers.
How does it work?
With Proplanner, Activities (tasks) are authored by engineers who specify which product Models and Options they are appropriate for. Activities are combined into an assembly line-based routing where they are subsequently assigned to specific operator positions within stations - often using the Line Balancing module. This routing is then published to the Proplanner MES system and automatically configured (think filtered) once a specific unit (vehicle order) enters an operator’s workplace. In this way, the operator is presented with the SPECIFIC tasks relevant for the SPECIFIC unit they are working on. This includes, images, part lists, tools used, torque values sent to station-based tooling, automation parameters (IIOT), safety procedures, etc.
Therefore, simply moving an Activity from one operator or one station to another and re-publishing to MES will immediately (based on effectivity) alter the workflow and logic performed at that station. – no programming, no manual steps to screw up or forget
Engineers can even publish entirely new product variants (Models/Options), with entirely new Activities and then launch production by using our New Parts and Tools report to equip the line before-hand – amazingly quick and accurate new product launches
Real Time and Historical Production Monitoring – Factboard provides an industry standard, flexible dashboard for real-time monitoring of worker, station and unit status. Any device on the shop floor can provide transaction summary information to be reported, aggregated and viewed via a simple web browser. Unit or Order history can also be displayed so that quality or logistical problems can be quickly and easily accessed.
Quick, Easy, Simple and Accurate Shop Floor Control (no programming)- Process-Based Logic versus Station-Based Logic - MES task workflow is driven from the Process-based Model/Option (variant) configuration as opposed to hard-coded process flow logic programmed into a workstation PLC, software application or Controller.
Powerful and Flexible Part, Task and Tool Reporting- Everything from parts kit lists required for a unit, or order, at a station to actual and standardized task time comparisons can be readily accessed and reported by workers, supervisors, engineers and management.
Less Engineering and Maintenance Time Required – Just equip the stations similarly, or move custom equipment between stations as directed by the MES application. No reprogramming required beyond telling the MES module the address of available equipment in each station. For example, if you have a bar code scanner called “SIGNON” located in each station, then our MES application will look up the address of that resource defined to the station station so that it can verify and enable communications. Proplanner is actively adding new default device connection support for commonly used assembly equipment.
Lower Cost and Higher Uptime – Less manual effort to continually reprogram the line also means fewer errors during production and overall higher line uptime and throughput. Proplanner relentlessly pursues error checking and pre-production validation to remove sources of new and changed product introductions to the line. Areas of focus include, parts at station, parts in kit, tools at station, min/avg/max Cycle times, quality and process change validation, automation communication, and operator qualification validation.
Quicker New Product Introduction (NPI) Pilot Builds – Engineer and Worker Collaboration shortens NPI by allowing the pilot build workers to assist in capturing notes, pictures and videos for use by engineers in enhancing the quality and effectiveness of work instructions.
Configured Digital Twin AND Digital Thread concurrently reduces manual effort and error – Ability of workers to interactively view and query the CAD model on the shop floor whereby that model is automatically filtered with the parts previously assembled, and parts responsible for assembly in the active station. Workers can even annotate, save and collaborate on these models so they can become active contributors in improving manufacturing process knowledge on the Digital Twin, electronically as part of the Digital Thread.
- Auto-generated unit-specific instructions
- Worker sign On/Off with unit-worker-task logging
- Worker skills access and visibility via Qualifications/Recency/Experience
- Unit history tracking and logging
- Serialized Part Tracking to the unit
- Worker Based 3D CAD Model Viewing, Annotation & Collaboration
- Worker-based Image/Video/Document Capture, Annotation & Collaboration
- Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT) support includes DC torque tools/wearables
- Critical to Quality, Worker driven change management and Non Conformance Reporting (NCR)
- Hot Issues alerts, logging and broadcasting