Beyond Customer Expectations for a Fraction of the Typical Cost

7 min video  /  3 minute read

Project Scope

  • 178 tags
  • 13 screens
  • 5 clients
  • dynamic alarms based on out-of-spec signals
  • 2 serial barcode scanners
  • 2 wireless digital calipers
  • Standard Ignition Architecture
  • MS SQL Server database
  • scripting records 17 tags for each measurement point

Project Overview

This was a SCADA/HMI pilot project for automated statistical process control (SPC) with in-line data capture of incoming and outgoing quality of vehicle-door and hood-gap measurements using wireless digital calipers. The customer — a large automobile manufacturer — was seeking a solution that would help it improve the manual process of measuring door and hood gaps by team members on a moving assembly line.

The customer wanted to capture data for various points and store for later analysis. The first approach was to utilize fixed and moveable 2D profile lasers to provide a fully automated data capture, but the cost for this type of implementation far exceeded the budgetary requirements for the project. A semi-automatic solution was proposed which did not eliminate the manual labor involved, but greatly simplified the data capture using similar tools the team members were already using (a digital Vernier caliper).

Automation Station knew Ignition had the ability to provide multi-monitor visual dashboards for operators and supervisors, powerful reporting capabilities for post analytics, and real-time data analysis. Automation Station also knew that Ignition could handle direct connection to the new wireless digital caliper devices and barcode scanners using the TCP driver. But what Automation Station really wanted to show off was how it would be able to provide real-time data visualization, an easy-to-use interface, and with the help of Sepasoft and its SPC Module, provide out-of-spec and out-of-control notifications and alarms.

The implementation had two clients, one for the driver side and one for the passenger side. Each client used two monitors — one overhead for the operator to view what measurements to take, and one for the supervisor to view current status or run ad-hoc reports.

Anyone could run reports or configure vehicle profiles from their desk away from the production line. Both client stations had a wireless barcode scanner and wireless digital caliper so they could work asynchronously and independent of each other. Each side scans the next vehicle and begins taking measurements as indicated on the overhead displays.

Any measurements that fell out of spec for that particular vehicle model and cab type would be shown on the screen. The team member then had the opportunity to correct the issue and re-measure. Both incoming quality and outgoing quality measurements are captured, providing feedback for the previous station and traceability for the next station. Each measurement point is graphed to show trends and SPC information on the fly.

Ignition allowed Automation Station to exceed the customer’s expectations at a fraction of the cost of the original approach. The only modification to the existing process was to scan each vehicle and review the overhead displays as the team member performed tasks using new wireless calipers. The customer was immediately able to detect trends — which resulted in quantifiable and actionable insight into its process.

This project caught the attention of managers from other areas and has already generated additional project plans throughout the facility. Ignition proved to be a powerful platform on this project.

Project Information

Created By:   Automation Station

Automation Station offers unique industrial SCADA solutions, visual management tools such as KPI dashboards, facility/energy management, Andon systems, OEE/productivity systems, and custom product test development. Located in Texas, the company delivers high-quality solutions to companies on both sides of the U.S./Mexico border. Automation Station is dedicated to helping industries continually improve their processes through automation, and aims to exceed their ever-increasing expectations.


Project For:   Automobile Manufacturer

The customer is one of the largest automobile manufacturers in the world.

Posted on September 1, 2017