【Smart Manufacturing】Position-Awareness in Bosch Group's Chinese Factory

In May 2019, the German Bosch Group officially launched the ‘LocalSense location awareness and intelligent terminal information interaction system’ at Changzhou factory in Jiangsu, China. This is the second Chinese factory to access the LocalSense location information system after the successful application of Suzhou factory.


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Bosch, the pearl of the German industrial company, has been searching and testing high-precision positioning systems worldwide for the past 3 years. Due to the high requirements on the maturity, stability, and accuracy of the positioning system on the production line site, Bosch China finally determined the LocalSense system as a mass production application system on the production line after long-term repeated medium-scale system field comparison experiments. During the period, Bosch China, Tsingoal and Integrator of Andon system cooperated closely and successfully applied the ‘Position Awareness and Intelligent Terminal Information Interaction System’ to the Suzhou plant AE / MSE2 production line and Changzhou plant AE / MOE3 production line.


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Bottleneck of traditional Andon technology

       Lean production ideas are widely used in the entire automobile and auto parts industry. Andon technology, as an important supporting technology and system for lean production, can effectively reduce downtime, improve fault response rate, improve data guidance, and improve process quality so as to bring considerable economic benefits to the automotive industry.

As an important TIER1 supplier in the automotive industry, Bosch has strict control over production line efficiency. For a long time, the Andon system has played an important role on the production line. However, the traditional Andon system that was born for decades has exposed obvious efficiency bottlenecks and deficiencies in the application process of SMT production lines with extremely high requirements:

The traditional Andon system can only manually “pull the rope”. The audible and visual alarm prompts the maintenance personnel to immediately find out the place where the failure occurred and the cause of the failure. The cause of the problem may be equipment failure, quality failure, material shortage, etc.;

l  Under the traditional Andon system, the maintenance staff has a long response time. When encountering problems that cannot be solved in a timely manner, it takes extra time to find someone else to help solve it. Long production line downtime reduces production efficiency;

The traditional Andon system cannot quickly and effectively count the response speed, maintenance speed, and the number of tasks of maintenance personnel. They cannot provide too much quantitative data for the performance evaluation of maintenance personnel, either;

The above deficiencies are essentially caused by the mismatch between the age of Andon's invention and the current requirements of smart factories. Andon (Andon) was invented by Toyota Sagiyoshi and started in the era of Toyota sewing machine manufacturing and it is the product of automated production. Then, when entering the era of factory intelligent information, the transmission and response of machines and humans, machines and information, and the information and humans’ response and transmission on the production which solely rely on the methods of information interaction and perception such as the type of ‘rope’ and ‘board’ can no longer meet the requirements of modern factories.


Andon Application of positioning

Based on the deficiencies of the traditional Andon system, Bosch China, Tsinggoal Information Technology Co., Ltd, Andon solution provider has innovatively proposed the application of the Internet of Things sensing technology and information interaction technology to the traditional Andon and reformed it after system level analysis and design It is as an information-based Andon system. Specifically, it uses the LocalSense high-precision positioning tag with smart watch function, and intelligently pushes the line number, device number, and cause of the problem to the designated maintenance personnel through the LocalSense UWB channel according to the location information and status information.

1. The positioning system locates the person wearing the smart watch tag and synchronizes the personnel information in the production line to the Andon system.

2. The Andon system collects abnormal conditions on the production line. When the abnormal conditions need to be handled by the engineer, the Andon system sends the abnormal conditions on the production line to the smart watch label worn by the engineer according to the personnel information provided by the positioning system and the preset permission logic.

3. After receiving the task assigned by the system, the engineer can select "Accept". After the task is processed, he can click ‘Process Completed’. The smart watch label will synchronize the status to the system, and then the Andon system will do further processing.

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Changes LocalSense & Andon have brought

The successful implementation of the combined system of LocalSense and Andon in the two factories will increase the time taken to process the abnormal line stoppage in ‘minutes’ to ‘seconds’. Through the successful combination of lean production Andon system, MES manufacturing execution system and UWB indoor high-precision positioning technology, the entire process of machine autonomous analysis of problems, seeking help, and carrying out maintenance is smooth and efficient. This greatly improved the rapid response to production line failures, shortened the production line downtime, increased the effective operation rate of the production line, the production time, and reduced the production cost; statistics of the response speed of the maintenance staff, maintenance speed, the number of maintenance tasks, etc. The performance evaluation of personnel provides strong data to support the performance evaluation of personnel and improve the work efficiency of personnel; statistics of the causes of production line failures, analysis of common causes of failures in workshops, production lines, and equipment, and processing methods have improved preventive maintenance and maintenance of equipment.


Lean Production and Intelligent Manufacturing

Practicing lean production and pursuing intelligent manufacturing are not two parallel topics. Lean management is the cornerstone of intelligent manufacturing. Lean was listed by Germany as one of the four major modules that make up the smart factory of the future, and it is also the foundation and guarantee for Chinese manufacturing to achieve the 2025 plan and accelerate the transformation and upgrading.

  Intelligent manufacturing is a human-machine integrated intelligent system composed of intelligent machines and human experts. It can perform intelligent activities in the manufacturing process, such as analysis, reasoning, judgment, conception, and decision-making. It extends the concept of manufacturing automation to flexible, intelligent, and highly integrated. It is not difficult to see that it has functions such as customization, personalization, intelligent analysis, forecasting and management.

  The foundation of intelligent manufacturing is lean, and the ‘quick response’ is fundamentally solved in terms of quality, cost, and efficiency to achieve customized and personalized manufacturing. Lean management takes customers as the core and drives the realization of intelligent manufacturing through R & D, manufacturing, quality, and management on the supply chain. Industrial data shows that the profit growth rate of industrial enterprises is declining. There are three reasons for this: product sales are growing slowly, costs are rising faster than sales growth, and prices are declining to squeeze profit margins. Lean management is winning by quick response and improving production efficiency. Therefore, costs can be reduced the value of the business can be maximized.


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