Cyber Tester® Uses CTO-compatible Controller
Iwasaki Electric Mfg. Co., Ltd. developed Cyber Tester to help eliminate malfunctions from occurring. To achieve this, this system uses the Contec CTO-compatible controller. This is helping to enhance quality management.
Iwasaki Electric Mfg. Co., Ltd., headquartered in Sasayama, Hyogo Prefecture, has been working with wire harnesses for 40 years since the company was founded. The company developed its own automatic wire harness inspection device, Cyber Tester, that uses a computer, and it is working to improve quality. In addition, to produce products with the same quality as Japan but at a lower cost, the tester was introduced to the Vietnam plant, which had been operating since 2002, to maintain and improve quality.
A wire harness is a bundle of electric wires that plays a very important role in providing electricity and relaying signals within an electrical machine, such as an industrial robot or automobile, in much the same way as blood vessels and nerve bundles do in the human body. Harnesses come in a variety of types, from models with a simple construction in which both ends of the cable have connectors to bundled cables of varying lengths and thicknesses.
Cyber Tester controller
Creating a product inspection to prevent defects increases the number of check items and can take time and money. The defect occurrence feedback system normally involves an inspector issuing a correction form for a malfunction, the manufacturer person in charge analyzing the source of the problem, and the manufacturing department lead drafting measures to solve that and providing feedback to the manufacturing department. However, this process tends to be deferred, and the report may not be submitted until one week at the earliest and sometimes up to one month. Not only does this require labor expenses, but when an action is finally determined, it may already be obsolete.
Iwasaki Electric developed Cyber Tester to help eliminate malfunctions from occurring. In 2006, the company started implementation in its domestic plants as well as its Vietnam plant, and the result of continuing functional improvement while accumulating know-how was that the defect rate drastically dropped from 2008. At the Vietnam plant, in particular, they are an accepting people and are very willing to incorporate new ideas, and they positively made use of the Cyber Tester, thereby boosting quality up a notch to maintain a higher level of quality than in Japan. The Vietnamese workers are diligent and skilled with their hands, which is ideal for detailed harness work. However, it was difficult to educate them on how to take measures after a defect occurs. The introduction of the Cyber Tester enabled an accurate understanding of defects and easy correction, thereby greatly contributing to improved quality. (See Figure 1.)
To perform a harness inspection, the data between harness terminals to be tested is registered in advance to a data table called a "reference". The Cyber Tester checks that the signal output to one pin is input correctly to another pin while referring to the reference, and cable malfunctions (incorrect wiring, short circuit, disconnection) are detected automatically. At the same time, the results of external and other visual inspections are input manually.
When the Cyber Tester discovers a malfunction, a report of the malfunction location and repair item are issued, and repair instructions are sent. The results are stored in the database at this time. After a certain amount of data is accumulated, trends are extracted from that data, and the worker is cautioned that a certain part in the product is apt to malfunction, enabling a reduction in the number of malfunctions. In other words, the device used to detect malfunction is being used to construct a system that prevents malfunction.
Fig. 1 Comparison before and after implementing Cyber Tester
Our efforts to automate harness inspection become well known in the industry, and we had businesses asking us to sell it or market it on our behalf. In the past, we compiled a tester using multiple Contec digital I/O boards (mounted on I/O expansion units) on a commercial computer.
Looking to market the system, in October 2009, together with Contec, we jointly developed a dedicated multi-signal I/O controller with the required functions for Cyber Tester. The implementation cost was nearly half, and the size was made compact (W182 x D456.5 x H35 mm) (See Figure 2).
In addition, the software is improved by immediately incorporating suggestions for improvement from workers, and it has already been polished with over 100 updates.
Fig. 2 Cyber Tester Configuration Diagram
Quality Assurance is Creating Quality in the Manufacturing Process
Quality Control Instructor,Union of Japanese Scientists and Engineers;Kansai Branch Director,
The Japanese Society for Quality Contro
The multi-signal I/O controller for the Cyber Tester was produced by Contec as a product that integrates input and output functions required for cyber testing (256 digital input channels, 256 digital output channels) based on the general-purpose CX-100n cTEST controller. Contec was praised for not only meeting in-house demand as a harness tester created by a harness shop but also for creating prospects for sales. Contec is working to provide optimal equipment with a Configure to Order (CTO) system to solve customers' problems. The company will continue to create products with the customer in view.
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