Quality optimisation through illustrated worker guidance: Visual instructions let producing companies implement new work processes quickly and easily while avoiding errors
Visual instruction for the necessary operating steps in the production process with integrated control mechanisms produces high-quality work results and remarkable quality improvement. This is the second of the six golden rules, the software provider CSP GmbH & Co. KG has defined for quality assurance measures in the manufacturing industry. Even untrained employees and unskilled temporary workers can apply new processes quickly and without errors thanks to the individual operating sequences that are optically displayed on a screen step by step. The option of using simple clearly arranged photos or also CAD graphics, stored, for example, in the Manufacturing Execution System (MES) is provided. Visual instruction for workers in production is suitable for new production steps on the assembly line and also for rework tasks. If position detection is integrated the software even checks whether the tool is positioned at the correct angle. For example, making a screw joint can then be blocked until the correct position of the tool has been selected. Furthermore, wireless communication between tool and software via tablets may constitute a means of practical and flexible support depending on the work environment. The companies benefit from the quick introduction of such worker guidance and save the development of new training concepts and documents for changed or new processes.
“In production we are often confronted with changes in operating sequences. Whether new requirements or components, the established routine is disrupted and necessitates readjustment of the employees to the change. Because organising training programs is often rather elaborate and employees need to participate in segments, visual instruction of the workers at the workplace is an effective solution. Solutions such as IPM Production Guide produce success much more quickly – without any need for training”, informs CSP project manager, Alexander Cocev.
The task of process planners in a factory is to translate operating sequences into comprehensible visual instructions. Based on the digitalised work plans they can generate a uniform sequence where the order of the operating steps is defined as fixed. The result of such worker guidance is process reliability with low production costs.
In addition to the straight instruction of the employee in the respective process step, integrated Poka Yoke functionalities are an essential success factor of worker guidance. “Poka Yoke” is a Japanese term and a worldwide accepted method of avoiding or indicating errors by means of technical fixtures or means. The measures are part of the work process. Amongst others, this includes preventive precautions: For example, the employee may only use a specific tool for a particular operating step or must first acknowledge some information before starting with the next step. The integration of such a “zero-error concept” also helps manufacturing companies to avoid errors. Especially errors due to human inattentiveness can be ruled out nearly completely in the scope of worker guidance with Poka Yoke.
Worker guidance based on visual process support is an important element of quality assurance in many areas of production, for example, with rework tasks. The aspect of integrated automated documentation of the process must not be underestimated here as well. Amongst others, documentation can be used as evidence for quality assurance in the production process in the event of claims according to the product liability act and warranty claims.
With the IPM PG solution CSP GmbH & Co. KG has specialised in worker guidance in production and also plans the integration into existing MES.
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Author: Leonie Walter, Walter Visuelle PR GmbH