DiIT and FAU conclude a joint traceability project
Krailling, November 6, 2019 – DiIT, a specialist for integrated software systems used in wiring harness production and the Chair for Production Automation and Production Systematics (FAPS) at Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have presented the results of their research project into wire harness traceability.
With the introduction of autonomous driving vehicles, the requirements placed on quality assurance and documentation in the production of wire harnesses are rising rapidly. As a safeguard and proof of quality standards, manufacturers must now ensure the continuous traceability of every component used.
This was the background to the research undertaken by DiIT and the Chair for Production Automation and Production Systematics at the FAU into the implementation of “digital twins” in wire harness production. These twins map a continuous process data chain of wire harnesses thus enabling 100% traceability.
The key results of the project are as follows:
- Continuous traceability cannot be guaranteed with current process flows. The entire assembly process of customized wiring harnesses is still exclusively manual and without IT support. In order to be able to provide the requisite data for the digital twins, processes must be adapted.
- Currently different data models and logic are used for each production area. A standardized data model from cutting to just-in-sequence delivery is required for continuous traceability. The data created must be linked semantically so that track and trace queries can be performed across all processes and products at all times.
- Track and trace includes two concepts: handling real time data to make production processes transparent, controlling them directly and improving them along with data management after delivery in order to safeguard the data basis for recalls and warranty cases. Both functionalities should be based on the same data model yet be managed differently in production.
- Work processes should be expanded with steps such as scanning products or documenting quality check results. Ideally, this is made by stationary scanning systems or automated documentation via the machines. The introduction of principles such as FIFO and Poka Yoke can considerably reduce the number and complexity of additional process adjustments here.
- By adding further quality-related process data such as machine parameters or sensor data, the data records can be comprehensively expanded step by step. This enables manufacturers, with the assistance of predictive analytics, to further increase the quality of their products and thereby improve their competitiveness.
“Wire harnesses manufacturers are now facing an upheaval,” says Marlene Kuhn, Research Associate at the FAPS at the FAU. “There are already automated processes, such as an MES, which implement software support and traceability data processing. However, now it is also a question of incorporating the manual production areas from a technical data perspective into the automated areas in order to create cross-process documentation as quickly as possible.”
Bernd Jost, Managing Director of DiIT, adds: “This transition phase is likely to take a few years. It is the task of software manufacturers such as ourselves to provide flexible support to the wire harnesses manufacturers and enable them to respond quickly to changed requirements at every stage of their transformation process.”
The entire research project undertaken by DiIT and the FAU entitled “Cross-Process Traceability” ran over an 18-month period, under the leadership of Professor Dr.-Ing. Jörg Franke.
DiIT GmbH, based in Krailling near Munich, is the world’s leading provider of integrated software solutions for manufacturing execution (MES), customized wire harness production and logistics. DiIT‘s competencies are bundled in the “4Wire Solutions” software suite, which is primarily used for the production of wire harnesses and wiring systems in the automotive industry and other industrial sectors. By digitalizing the value chains, the company‘s innovative software optimizes and controls complex manufacturing and logistics processes and supports quality assurance and traceability. DiIT was founded in 1990 and has a subsidiary in Berlin. DiIT is also represented in the key markets Mexico and China. The company offers a comprehensive services package to both large and small customers which covers consulting, project management and customized implementation and training. The DiIT support line is available during 24 hours and 365 days. DiIT is a wholly-owned, independently managed company of the Schleuniger Group. Schleuniger is a globally active technology company and a leading solution supplier in the wire processing industry.
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