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Maximizing Error-proofing in Manufacturing with MES/MOM Controlled Assembly Tools

This document summarizes the error-proofing solution a leading heavy machinery manufacturer implemented and standardized on in order to greatly reduce product defects due to improperly fastened bolts in transmission systems. Electric assembly tools called nutrunners are used by assembly line workers to fasten bolts to a predetermined torque measurement. Their decision to implement a manufacturing execution system (MES) or manufacturing operations management (MOM) software to both ‘monitor’ and ‘control’ all aspects of the assembly tools and line worker processes yielded unprecedented results by reducing bolted joint failures and Warranty claims by 94%.

  • PINpoint Information Systems Inc.
    Lean manufacturing is about eliminating waste, reducing cost, improving efficiency, and quality: PINpoint Information Systems takes you there. Working alongside and pushed-forward by leading manufacturers, we've been championing "Continuous Improvement" since 1997. We are a leading manufacturing execution system (MES) / manufacturing operations management (MOM) software developer.
  • Heavy Vehicle
  • Discrete Manufacturing
  • Caterpillar Inc.

  • Cellular
  • The solution was to integrate a manufacturing execution system in order to error-proof all processes on the assembly line, be it by tool or device, or human. Further, the system contributed to a paradigm shift in that a culture of ‘full-accountability’ was born into the customer’s manufacturing operations. PINpoint MES/MOM provided the customer a web based ‘configurable’ plant floor management system with the added-value of integral manufacturing optimization features. The MES/MOM filled the void between the customer’s Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system and the processes on the assembly line themselves. With the capabilities to both ‘monitor’ and ‘control’ the assembly line processes the MES/MOM ensured no one bit of information or action was unaccounted for. In-turn the process history recorded served to allow for the query of data and output of valuable manufacturing reports which were used to further optimize their manufacturing processes. Concerning their specific physical problem of bolted joint failures the MES/MOM provided full-control over the electric tool itself, with the capability to ‘lock’ the tool should an installation parameter not be met. Locking out the nutrunners eliminated any chance of the line worker from attempting to pass the defective part.

  • Cycle Times, Downtime, Fault Detection, Job Scheduling, Production Efficiency
  • Mature (technology has been on the market for > 5 years)
  • Impact #1
    [Efficiency Improvement - Quality Assurance]
    Manufacturing Execution System (MES) software both ‘monitored’ and ‘controlled’ all aspects of the assembly tools and line worker processes; yielding unprecedented results by reducing bolted joint failures and Warranty claims by 94%.
    Impact #2
    Impact #3
  • Benefit #1

    94% reduction in bolted joint failures, and Warranty claims.

  • Process Control & Optimization
    Process control and optimization (PCO) is the discipline of adjusting a process to maintain or optimize a specified set of parameters without violating process constraints. The PCO market is being driven by rising demand for energy-efficient production processes, safety and security concerns, and the development of IoT systems that can reliably predict process deviations. Fundamentally, there are three parameters that can be adjusted to affect optimal performance. - Equipment optimization: The first step is to verify that the existing equipment is being used to its fullest advantage by examining operating data to identify equipment bottlenecks. - Operating procedures: Operating procedures may vary widely from person-to-person or from shift-to-shift. Automation of the plant can help significantly. But automation will be of no help if the operators take control and run the plant in manual. - Control optimization: In a typical processing plant, such as a chemical plant or oil refinery, there are hundreds or even thousands of control loops. Each control loop is responsible for controlling one part of the process, such as maintaining a temperature, level, or flow. If the control loop is not properly designed and tuned, the process runs below its optimum. The process will be more expensive to operate, and equipment will wear out prematurely. For each control loop to run optimally, identification of sensor, valve, and tuning problems is important. It has been well documented that over 35% of control loops typically have problems. The process of continuously monitoring and optimizing the entire plant is sometimes called performance supervision.
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