The five steps towards achieving Quality 4.0
Krailling, December 18, 2019 – Industry 4.0 also requires Quality 4.0. DiIT, a specialist for integrated software systems used in wiring harness production, explains how manufacturing companies can establish a comprehensive digital quality assurance process.
Whereas production processes in the manufacturing industry are now highly automated, quality assurance is often still carried out manually. Therefore, digitization further intensifies the requirements placed on quality assurance. The required flexibility and speed cannot be achieved using traditional, cumbersome processes. Industry 4.0 also requires Quality 4.0. DiIT explains how manufacturing companies can establish a digital quality assurance process in wiring harness production in just five steps.
- Equip machines with sensors. The sensor technology forms the basis for Quality 4.0. Many machines now come factory-supplied with online interfaces, via which they can also communicate quality-relevant data to higher-level systems. Older machines that do not have this capability can generally be retrofitted with the relevant sensors nowadays. As these sensors have become significantly more cost-effective, this retrofitting is now also economically viable in most cases.
- Network all systems with each other. In order to evaluate the machine data, all systems have to be networked together with each other. Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) are the ideal platform here. Directly connected to the distributed process automation systems, it is their task to manage, control and document production in real time. This also makes the MES the central data hub for digital quality assurance. However, to do this they must include interfaces to connect to the machines and their sensor data.
- Evaluate quality-relevant data in real time. If the requisite sensors and networking are available, quality-relevant data can be captured during the ongoing manufacturing process and evaluated using algorithms in real time. For instance, the pressure exerted by a press can be monitored and immediate action can be taken if defined limit values are exceeded or undercut. Destructive measurements are then largely irrelevant since it can be traced back to whether the pressing process proceeded correctly and/or which specific parts are defective.
- Utilize predictive quality applications. By capturing more complex information from the machines and their environment – for example, factors such as vibration, noise, lux and CO2 – manufacturing companies can also detect and anticipate disturbances early. Based on this information, predictive quality applications can be developed that prevent the quality defects in advance by prioritizing the maintenance of a machine or tool. This data can also be used to tune machines and let them run faster without sacrificing on quality.
- Implement traceability systems. Finally, networking also enables batch traceability. Finished wiring harnesses often consist of thousands of components – and a suitable MES can provide a full history of each component. This means that it is easy to verify afterwards in which end products – be they cars, washing machines or fridges – wiring harnesses with a wire from a specific batch are incorporated. Any repair measures or even recalls can then be isolated very specifically.
“The requirements of digitization – such as small batch sizes, short product life cycles or a tight time-to-market – must not ultimately be met at the cost of quality,” explains Bernd Jost, Managing Director of DiIT GmbH. “As a result, manufacturing companies now have no other choice but to establish a comprehensive digital quality assurance process. Using this process, they can quickly detect incorrect settings, prevent possible malfunctions before they occur and seamlessly trace batches.”
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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