Despite it being a cliché, the old adage still stands true, knowledge is power. The more data and knowledge you have about your assembly line, the more insight you will have into how to improve it and increase your performance. The scenario we will be examining in this article is how you can harvest the data generated by the tools your operators use on the shop floor every day. This can easily be achieved with these main elements:
Once these items are interconnected, the data generated from the IoT enabled tool is sent to the tool controller and is then communicated to the software and then to the operator. In the example of companies using the VKS ToolConnect IoT software in conjunction with Sturtevant Richmont tools, not only is the data transmitted and stored in reports, it can also be used to immediately evaluate the quality of the task that was just performed. This not only gives you peace of mind knowing that your assemblies are sound, it also enables you to access this information and authenticate the quality of your product.
The essence of Industry 4.0 is the data-exchange between the manufacturing technologies. Here at VKS we were already providing communication paths between organizational levels so it was only logical to take things one step further and find a way to enable communication between the workers and their tools. It is with this exchange in mind that our ToolConnect IoT feature made its debut on the manufacturing scene. Designed by our leading software team with the input of industry experts, ToolConnect IoT allows VKS users to automatically collect data, such as angles and torque, from compatible third-party controllers that are connected to IoT enabled tools. In a domain where precision is key, this data is crucial to quality control. Not only can this data alert manufacturers to potential issues, but it also enables them to take preventive measures.
ToolConnect’s versatility does not stop at data collection. Specific requirements can be integrated into the VKS visual work instructions that will use the data collected from ToolConnect to ensure that operators are using the right tools the right way. If the data received indicates that the actions performed using the tools were not within the acceptable limits, the advancement of the guidebook will be halted, ensuring that no subpar assemblies are released. Of course, ToolConnect’s efficiency is entirely reliant on a high-quality controller and expertly crafted tools that were designed to take their users to the next level.
Smarter tools in no way signifies less performing tools. Sturtevant Richmont has been providing manufacturers with the right tools for the job since 1940. They are renowned for designing, engineering, and manufacturing industrial assembly tools that prevent torque related assembly errors while increasing throughput. Today, Sturtevant Richmont has added a series of Industry-4.0-friendly items to its roster, such as I/O and network driven torque controllers and tools. These tools, such as the Global 400 torque controller and the Exacta 1250 Series digital torque and angle wrenches, were designed to help manufacturers excel. By focusing their design on the eradication of variables, they created tools that eliminated the human influence in torque application and calibration. This protects manufacturers from the errors caused by improper tool technique that can vary tool output in some designs.
The revolution is underway and now the tools are ready to intercommunicate. Not only can data be collected from them in regards to their mechanical output, but additional information can also be outputted that assists operators in their tasks. Sturtevant Richmont systems provide operators with visual, auditory, and kinesthetic guidance with every fastening. Operator technique is important in torque application and helping operators attain the right techniques and reinforcing habits can require behavior modification. The vibrating handle in the 1250 Series digital torque and angle wrench along with the yellow/green/red light sequence helps the operator build the desired techniques. The 1250 Series also quickly identifies if the operator is trying to tighten a previously tightened fastener.
IoT enabled tools have a lot of new and interesting features to offer manufacturers. The best part? This does not affect their quality and durability. Sturtevant Richmont tools still enjoy the reputation of being easy to calibrate, staying in calibration longer, and lasting significantly longer than most other tools. This is the result of the high importance they place on design, engineering, and the use of high quality materials in their tool production.
Many manufacturers are already enjoying the advantages brought by the innovations resulting from Smart Manufacturing principles. An example are the manufacturers who specialize in industrial assembly with highly customized mixed model manufacturing requiring torque application. How do they get started? Sturtevant Richmont noted that companies often start using their IoT enabled line in either the engine, transmission, or hydraulics part of the assembly because warranty costs and rework tend to be the most expensive. Once they see the advantages in throughput and cost reduction, they incorporate other parts of the assembly.
Another example of a manufacturer group who is a regular Smart Manufacturing enthusiast is the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs). The technology attached to Industry 4.0 is particularly interesting to OEMs who want to provide products that meet customer quality and documentation standards. They have an increased peace of mind knowing that they are able to rely on systems such as Sturtevant Richmont wireless error-proofing systems. Also, manufacturers building industrial assemblies that use hydraulics in their build rely on these error proofing systems to stop hydraulic leaks before they start since the cost of warranty and rework quickly drains the bottom line.
Industry 4.0 is taking the manufacturing world by storm and there is no better time to become part of the movement. In today’s market quality is a given. The advantage goes to companies who can increase throughput while reducing rework and warranty costs. There is also much to be gained by being able to provide customers with thorough documentation on their product, such as device history records and complete traceability.
|What exactly do manufacturers have to gain from becoming a Smart Factory that does business with companies such as VKS and Sturtevant Richmont?|
|Benefits of VKS ToolConnect IoT:||Benefits of Sturtevant Richmont tools:|
Smart Manufacturing is anything but static. As the technology behind these principles gains momentum, more and more opportunities and possibilities are made available to those taking part in this industrial revolution. ToolConnect IoT is constantly evolving to meet new manufacturing needs as are Sturtevant Richmont tools. However, no matter the advancements, the importance of offering an intuitive and easy to implement solution is not forgotten. VKS is dedicated to ensuring that their customer’s see the benefits of ToolConnect, both in their performance and on their bottom line. As for Sturtevant Richmont, their reputation for easy to use and durable tools remains unperturbed. So don’t be afraid to take those first steps into Industry 4.0. We can be your guides.