September 06, 2019

"FROM THE FACTORY OF THE WORLD" --Kusatsu and Ayabe-- (Part Ⅱ)

Various applications that contribute to innovating manufacturing automation

Author : OMRON / Publisher: OMRON

"FROM THE FACTORY OF THE WORLD --Kusatsu and Ayabe--" introduces OMRON Kusatsu Plant and Ayabe Plant continue to challenge to realize high-quality manufacturing similar to mass production of small varieties, even in high-mix low-volume production for realizing the richness of people around the world.

In the part Ⅰ, Koizumi and Benkan, the heads of both factories, talked about the positioning and features of both factories in global.

Click here for the part Ⅰ

In the part Ⅱ, we approached the manufacturing site of the Kusatsu / Ayabe Plant that continues to challenge the innovation while facing the issues of the manufacturing site seriously.


Create added value by visualize on-site data

The manufacturing line changes frequently every time a new product is introduced at a high-mix low-volume production site, but OMRON's mobile robots can handle frequent line changes. The introduction of mobile robots is also progressing at the Kusatsu Plant, but there are issues regarding how workers perform high-value-added work and how to efficiently arrange workers who can demonstrate their skills and level work.

Therefore, "i-BELT Viewer", a tool that visualizes various data on the manufacturing site, was introduced to the assembly and inspection processes such as PLC, and the following three points were visualized.

  1. Operation status of assembly line (40 lines), retention status of finished products waiting to be transported to inspection line
  2. Progress of inspection line (6 lines), retention of finished products waiting for inspection
  3. Operation status of automatic transfer mobile robots (4 units)

Based on the information visualized by i-BELT Viewer, a system was constructed to timely instruct which assembly line finished product is to be transported to which inspection line using which mobile robot. In addition, the skilled worker moved according to the operating status of the six inspection lines, so that the operating rate of the entire inspection line was improved. These efforts succeeded in reducing the overall lead time by 10%.

Click here for details of "i-BELT", OMRON`s IoT Service Platform

OMRON mobile robot automated material handling


Quality innovation by utilizing data of visualization of manufacturing processes

In the "SMT manufacturing line" of the Kusatsu Plant, where electronic components are mounted on a substrate, various devices are placed in a 20m line.
Visualization of process progress has been realized by the introduction of a system, but in many cases, experience and know-how of skilled staff is required to identify the cause of defects and productivity issues.
Therefore, they challenged the evolution of the system so that everyone could grasp the field issues and work on line improvement.

In cooperation with the Inspection Systems Business Div, they have developed a system detects and predicts defects of apparatus by visualizing and automatically analyzing them, and provides feedback to the equipment by using "Q-upAuto" that is productivity improvement support software. This system collects data from the "Printer" that prints solder on the board, "Mounter" that mounts electronic components, and "Inspection machine."
Finally, they succeeded in reducing the defective rate from PPM (parts per million) to PPB (parts per billion).

Click here for details of "Q-upAuto"

"In the past, we would investigate the cause of a failure only after it occurred. By contrast, Q-upAuto enables the inspection system itself to detect minute changes. By continuous detection of changes, it may be possible to prevent a failure even before it occurs. This was the underlying concept of our development project."
(Kishimoto, Inspection Systems Business Div.)

"For instance, to enable autonomousdriving, now a hot topic, the printed circuit board (PCB) is essential. It is a PCB where all the sensing takes place, for speed, obstructions, and everything else. If that important PCB has a defect, in the worst case, a defective PCB can threaten human lives. That is why we must build a process that ensures production of defect-free products."
(Mizushima, Kusatsu Plant Production Dept. PCB Group)

200_01e.jpgBy introducing Q-upAuto, prevents mounting misalignment and measures for improvement is visualized


Visualize the "safety" of quality assurance

The smart sensor manufactured at the Ayabe Plant is a sensor that can perform stable measurements with high accuracy and high speed. In order to provide such highly reliable products to customers, high quality and accuracy are asked into each process (assembly, adjustment, inspection) of the production line. On the other hand, this high quality / high accuracy were supported by judgment work with tension, which was actually 825 times a day by the workers on the production line.

In order to solve these problems, the Ayabe Factory introduced a serial management system (individual management based on a two-dimensional code) that gives a two-dimensional code to the product body and the key parts to be mounted.
As a result, in each process of the production line, it is possible to automatically collate product with information through a two-dimensional code, and by linking with each process data, it is confirmed that all finished products can be guaranteed 100% about performing the correct work. In addition, by establishing a system that alerts workers in advance of work skipping, work mistakes, reference value errors, etc. in the production line, it is possible to realize a production line that prevents the outflow of defects and stops.
These efforts not only improved quality and productivity, but also helped to create workplaces where workers can work with peace of mind because they were able to eliminate judgment work that was a mental and physical burden on workers.

"In addition to ensuring that customers use products that have been correctly inspected, we have been able to realize a "workplace with peace of mind" where workers can confirm that their work is correct. I think that the most important point of this effort is that we can visualize invisible safety. We will continue to expand our activities in order to realize manufacturing that guarantees the safety and security of all people involved in our products."
(Yamashita, Ayabe Plant Quality Control Sec. and Fujii, Ayabe Plant Production Engineering Sec.)

200_02e.jpgSerial management system introduced by Ayabe Plant

OMRON's factory is not just a factory that makes products. In order to realize the optimal manufacturing site for oneself, the site is at the center, and applications centering on in-house products are proactively introduced. And they will continue to contribute to revitalizing the manufacturing industry by making these applications available to customers.
This is the feature of OMRON's factory.