Simeco Streamlines Teka Oven Line Assembly with RFID
- Analytics & Modeling - Process Analytics
- Functional Applications - Enterprise Resource Planning Systems (ERP)
- Functional Applications - Remote Monitoring & Control Systems
- Networks & Connectivity - RFID
- Sensors - RFID Readers
- Consumer Goods
- Discrete Manufacturing
- Process Control & Optimization
Simeco is the manufacturer of Teka premium cooking appliances. Teka strives to combine quality, convenience and efficiency in everything they do, to achieve the best solution for its customers. The joint effort to provide “meaningful experiences” for their customers begins at Simeco’s 24,000 square meter manufacturing facility, which has the capacity to build 500,000 units a year, on its six production lines. It is at this site where the company manages the materials used for assembly, the assembly process itself, and also constantly seeks ways to improve efficiency and eliminate errors.
As part of that effort, Simeco wanted a technology-based solution that would automatically monitor the receipt and consumption of materials, as well as the work taking place on its production lines, and automatically detect and prevent any errors in the testing and control processes.
The company wanted the technology not only to bring real time visibility into its product processes, it wanted a way to manage the overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) as well.
Simeco needed an automated system to be able to detect and identify when an error could be made in mounting components, as well as provide support for assembly workers by displaying relevant instructions on the assembly floor. The technology also needed to be able to capture analytical data so the company could continue to improve its processes.
Litum’s UHF RFID solution automatically tracks a tagged component or unit as it moves through assembly. With location and status data from the solution, the software can provide contextualized information to those on the assembly floor and to managers overseeing processes, historically as well as in real time.
To ensure the technology would meet the company’s needs, Litum customized the solution, thereby reducing costs. One example was the engineering of the tags themselves: Litum worked with Simeco to develop a reusable tag, thereby increasing sustainability and reducing cost. The reusable tags, attached and detached with a specialized assisting tool, uniquely identify a component, and can be detached and reused on subsequent assembly processes.
Litum also specially designed the middleware to integrate with the brand's existing manufacturing system. The result is a software platform known as the Simeco Traceability Software.
Litum’s UHF RFID has been deployed at the company’s Teka Vitroceramic (VTC) oven production assembly line where RFID readers, antennas and sensors capture key information about the production process while light stacks and industrial Panel PCs display the information workers need on the assembly floor. To ensure the robust nature of the technology in the assembly environment, Litum installed the RFID antennas and panel PCs onto aluminum sigma profiles, mounted at the workstations in the assembly line. The readers were secured inside an IP 54 cabinet. The station included an RFID printer to print tags as needed.
The technology captures data at the testing station where Teka line workers employ Automatic Test Equipment (ATE) to ensure the quality of each finished product. The light stack, with buzzer and the panel PC thereby provide alerts for workers as they conduct their performance tests.
One of Simeco’s key goals was to create a bi-directional data flow between the RFID technology and the company’s own ERP system. To accomplish this, Litum designed its middleware to retrieve work orders from the ERP and link that data with reusable RFID tags as they are attached to a new product. This is where the automated tracking begins. As the operators affix these labels on the main assembly of the oven, the system begins capturing data to enrich the Teka traceability database with real-time information. The product components and material then travel between each work bench. The solution calculates the cycle time automatically, collecting operators’ key performance indicators (KPIs) by measuring the time products dwell in each station.
Operators use the panel PCs in workstations not only for viewing instructions but also for inputting information such as work stops, product losses, and to provide OEE parameters. These parameters are then reported in the executive dashboard as activity charts, OEE reports, shift and target reports; all to be reviewed in real time or historically.
And as re-work is being performed at two workbenches, a 2-port RFID reader captures tag read data about re-work processes there as well. At the end of the production line, workers simply detach the tag and the information is cleared digitally so that the tag can be reused with the next product. This modification provided a significant reduction in cost.