Realizing and Expanding Various Forms of “Visualization” Through Demonstrations of IoT Utility at In-House Factories
CONTEC contributes to the growth of all industries though its original technology and manufacturing know-how. One example of that is our CONPROSYS™ series of industrial IoT solutions. Since 2015, we have been conducting demonstrations on the utility of our CONPROSYS™ series models at our company’s main factory, Komaki Office, with the goal of realizing and expanding various forms of “visualization.”
Shown here is an Andon system used to “visualize” production status. This enables production status to be checked in real-time from anywhere in the world.
It can be said that the drive to “visualize” information in industrial fields is a global movement—and that is especially true in the case of processes performed at production bases. Solutions which make such visualization possible include "M2M" systems in which devices operate by communicating with each other, as well as “M2M/IoT Solutions” that integrate IoT technology to collect data from a variety of devices over the Internet.
CONTEC—which possesses its own original industrial computer, measurement control, and network technologies—is the manufacturer of the CONPROSYS™ series of M2M/IoT solutions for device cloud services. This series is the culmination of CONTEC’s know-how up to this point and is designed to enhance convenience while being easy to both set up and use. It was at our company’s main factory in Japan, Komaki Office, which also serves as one of our global production bases, that we decided to demonstrate the utility of our CONPROSYS™ series.
The purpose of performing such demonstrations was to provide immediate support for “visualization”, which had been lagged with delays, while further accelerating “visualization” and performing repeated tests and refinement to achieve a superior product. Still yet another purpose was to create numerous case studies to be used as proposals for customers and partner companies.
Although originally introduced at Komaki Factory as an initiative to improve and reinforce QCD (Quality, Cost, Delivery), it quickly became evident by looking at various numbers that the “visualization” as provided by the CONPROSYS™ series was effective in optimizing production processes.
Three years have now passed since being first introduced. Presently, Komaki Office is also being used as a showroom for customers interested in CONPROSYS™.
Data transmission settings can be made easily just by entering the server address. In the case of 3G models, data transmission is possible just using mobile lines in areas where the installation of wired networks is not possible. Also, our on-premise data collection software can be used to easily collect data from computers.
IoT systems can be constructed from the smallest and optimal scale, while linking with other systems via external APIs is also easy. The CONPROSYS™ can collect and store all kinds of data—including everything from sensors to controllers and cloud servers—making it easy to introduce M2M services. Also, operations performed with an SaaS model feature complete security.
Signal processing can easily be added via a web browser without using a development environment, while programming can be performed with a scripting language just by setting icons from a web browser. In addition, a web browser can be used to easily set task processing, such as the setting of alarms and filters, condition judgments, and external communications.
The CONPROSYS™ Series controller supports a wide range of controllers and sensors and is fully equipped with interfaces for signal input/output. Two types of controllers are available, including an integrated type that is an all-in-one device and takes up a small amount of space, as well as a configurable type that features excellent expandability. Both feature a power-saving design that is highly durable and reliable.
Data collection via communication devices is possible using only simple settings performed without the need for any programming and, by connecting an electricity meter, the CONPROSYS™ can be used as a measuring/monitoring system. Data collection is also possible from up to 30 devices by way of serial or Ethernet communication.
A. PCB production quantity management on assembly lines
Here, a counter function measures production quantity using ON/OFF signals from a phototube installed on the assembly line. Production plans and work information are compared and sent to the cloud service.
Pulse signal input/output
B. Environment management based on temperature/humidity readings inside the factory
Here, monitoring of heat stress indices (WGBT) inside Komaki Office is performed by measuring the temperature and humidity present in work areas. This enables environment management of storage cabinets that require a constant temperature and humidity to be performed by using graphs for visualization and centralized monitoring.
C. Management of cell production operation status
Small cameras have been installed in each work cell, enabling visualization of worker operating times and ratios, as well as whether workers are at their workstations or not. Real-time data regarding operation status and production quantities can also be displayed. Although some workers initially felt some resistance towards this monitoring, any such feelings eventually subsided as the process became routine.
D. Andon system for visualizing production status on large monitors installed at Komaki Factory
This easy-to-use and low-cost Andon system uses HMI functions to enable visualization of everything from individual work cells to higher-order information for processes, factories, and management data.
E. Online torque driver pre-work checks
Before starting work, torque drivers are checked and results stored on a server linked with a work instruction management system that permits only torque drivers that pass testing to be used. This system has been packaged for sale as CONTEC’s Alpha Series of appliance products.
F. Improving quality and productivity through monitoring of aging device internal temperatures
Here, temperature control is performed using a heater with monitoring performed constantly to ensure no deviation in temperature conditions. Aging test data is then stored and utilized for traceability management, with analyzed data being used to implement quality and productivity improvements.
G. Maintaining quality and worker health simultaneously using static electricity and body temperature checks upon arrival at work
When employees arrive at work, a static electricity checker is used to discharge any static from their bodies, while an infrared camera is used to measure their body temperature. This prevents any ill effects on quality and enables workers to start work in a healthy condition. CONTEC’s Alpha Series is even used for static electricity checks.
Monitoring of body temperature abnormalities using infrared cameras
H. Online management of soldering iron tip temperature
Using the convenient functions provided by the CONPROSYS™ series, Komaki Factory has been busy implementing numerous initiatives based on “visualization.” At first, they started with the management of PCB production quantities on assembly lines. With this initiative, PCB production status is monitored in real time using CONTEC’s cloud server, enabling production plan progress to be ascertained and managed at a glance. Following the success of that initiative, other various visualization-based initiatives were started within the space of a single fiscal year, including power consumption monitoring on assembly lines, environment management based on temperature/humidity readings, management of the operation status of cell production, and the creation of online systems for static electricity checker measurement results, torque driver pre-work checks, and soldering iron tip temperature management. All these initiatives yielded vast amount of useful data and information, which could be analyzed and verified for findings capable of being used to achieve consistent enhancements in productivity.
In FY2018, three years after the start of such visualization-based initiatives, we decided to tackle the monitoring of power regeneration statuses of aging devices used in wireless power transfer systems. At Komaki Factory, power regeneration via aging devices is implemented as an environmental measure, designed not only to improve productivity but also to reduce CO₂ emissions while saving energy. The power regeneration capabilities obtained via this initiative yielded reusable energy totaling 2.4 million yen in value per year, a fact that would never have been known had we not monitored regeneration statuses and a true testament to the effects that can be realized through “visualization.”
With various “visualization-based” initiatives such as those above, data and information collected thereof can also be viewed wherever and whenever using an “Andon System.” Enabling factory managers and management, as well as on-site managers, workers, and other parties related to manufacturing, to check production statuses in real time has had a significant effect in ensuring production plans are achieved.
Future initiatives include combining CONPROSYS™ with infrared cameras, such as those used to measure employee body temperature during static electricity checks and achieve a higher level of health management. This new initiative is currently in its trial phase for implementation.
Introducing the new “Alpha Series”—all required functions in a single package
In 2015, Komaki Factory had been lagging in terms of using IoT for visualization and an immediate need for its introduction was evident. The intended purpose of its introduction was to yield innovations for IoT factories tasked with small-lot production of numerous products, while at the same time demonstrating the utility of our in-house developed solutions.
We initially started with visualization initiatives that were easy to achieve and continued along a process of testing and verification while continuing to introduce other various initiatives. With this, events that could only be ascertained via on-site experience or based on mere hunches could instead be realistically visualized, enabling problems and issues that had been hitherto unseen to be ascertained, permitting truly effective countermeasures to be implemented.
Both integrated types supporting various standard communication protocols and configurable types for connections with various controllers in various combinations are available.
A safe and secure one-stop solution for collecting, storing and visualizing data
Various software to enable numerous possible system configurations is available free-of-charge.
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