Getting hundreds of datapoints during the assembly process and using that data in real-time to control processes used to be prohibitively expensive. Thankfully, technology leaps have occurred over the last five years. A wide variety of assembly tools now come with connectivity and data output standards. That change, coupled with continued Programable Logic Controls (PLC) advances has led to significant breakthroughs on how products can be assembled. With process and data, quality can be driven to even lower defect rates while productivity improvement activities can be pinpointed. World Class Industries (WCI) is an eager adopter of this technology through its Virtual Assembly Factory solution and is eager to collaborate with customers’ most complex and challenging assembly projects.
Learn more about how the Virtual Assembly Factory can benefit your company.
Effective assembly control starts with planning. Using Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP) techniques, WCI designs processes that meet design requirements and cost goals.
- Smart Processes. WCI is able to reinforce processes using Programable Logic Controllers (PLCs). WCI has taken the standard application to another level by developing a technique that allows proven and standard processes to be reused and re-sequenced. This development reduces upfront cost on new projects, and greatly increases flexibility when design changes occur.
- Visual Display. Technology built and deployed by WCI emphasizes the ease of use by our professional assemblers. The goal is to implement technology that is in partnership with our assemblers. One of the ways WCI reinforces this collaboration is the use of visual displays and cues to understand the current process state as well as pertinent feedback information.
- Data Sets & Reporting. Collecting and analyzing data is also important. WCI has developed a system by which process control system data is written to industry standard, cloud-based databases. This enables targeted improvement activities to reduce cycle-times and improve quality.
Data Equipped Tools
The tools available to effectively and efficiently assemble are growing daily. Below is a partial list of the tools WCI has used on previous projects.
- DC Torque Tools. In projects where the consistent and precise installation of hardware is critical, DC Torque Tools provide a robust solution. Dozens of settings and datapoints can be collected in real-time and drive assembly process control when connected to PLCs.
- Electric Servo Presses. Precisely seating a bearing or shaft often means the difference between expected performance and future issues. Innovation in Electric Servo Presses has made repeatability in this task much more robust. With hundreds of configuration settings and dozens of datapoints on each actuation, dialing in a robust process has gotten much easier.
- Digital Leak Testers. End-of-line leak testing can be used in a number of ways to ensure robust product performance. Testers can be integrated into the designed process and can often cycle concurrently with other assembly processes so that testing can be performed for little additional cost.
The emergence of common protocols and various tools provides great promise and opportunity. The trick often is in the integration techniques used to make the process coherent and tied to all tools deployed in a cell or system. WCI maintains assembly process and tool knowledge in-house with a dedicated team available to work on new projects, quickly troubleshoot downtime, and ensure proactive maintenance is being done. Having this built-in capability provide confidence that WCI has the knowledge and experience to successfully unlock value on the most complex and challenging assembly projects customers have.
The assembly data revolution is here and WCI’s expertise makes our Virtual Assembly Factory solution an effective way to unlock the associated value. Our team is experienced in implementing assembly technology in ways that matches our customers’ goals. Most important, data-rich assembly is also full integrated into the other portions of WCI’s proven processes: procurement, order fulfillment, and project management.