Quality Control at Line-Side
For a Tier 1 automotive manufacturer supplying to Honda, making sure only “good” parts were shipped was the end goal. However, the difference between a "good" part and a "bad" part was only thousandths of an inch, leaving the supplier little room for error.
Getting the Green Light from Honda
The supplier manufacturers only one part, but faced two key challenges in delivering the part:
- Delivering only good parts to Honda
- Delivering the right quantity of good parts to Honda
One key dimension is the singular factor that determines if a part is good or bad. The measurement is taken with an electronic micrometer to validate a part has been produced to spec. A green light on the micrometer indicates a good part.
In both the old and new systems, this process is the same. However, under the old system, what happened next was completely on the operator who had to visualize the light indicator for each part and act accordingly:
- A good part, indicated by a green light, was labeled and put in a tote
- A bad part, indicated by a red light, did not receive a label, but was redirected to be reworked
Due to its repetitive nature, the process was prone to errors. Distractions and interruptions in the process also added to the probably of errors occurring.
Smart Printing is the Solution for Line-Side
adi POWERPRINT Solo provides a stand-alone, smart printing solution for production labeling. In this case, the Honeywell PD43 smart printer was used. Smart printers run independently of a host computer and are programmable. These capabilities make smart printing ideal for line side printing, where environments are not suitable for PCs.
For this supplier, the solution consisted of 2 stand-alone printers, providing checks and balances for the following printing processes:
Printer 1 is responsible for printing the item label. Through the POWERPRINT Solo program, the printer receives input from the electronic micrometer and will only print an item label if the “green light” was given for that part. This ensures that a bad part is never labeled or put into a tote for shipment to Honda.
Printer 2 is responsible for printing the tote labels. Through the POWERPRINT Solo program, the printer keeps count (by scanning the barcode on the item label) of the number of parts going into the tote (all of which have been previously verified as “good” parts) and will only print the tote labels when the tote has received the right quantity of parts.
By automating production labeling with adi POWERPRINT Solo smart printing, the supplier was able to automative production labeling and eliminate errors.