Cost-effective, customized WISE wireless solution to establish production line monitoring systems
To slowly change their passive factory into an Intelligent Factory, a renowned panel manufacturer which supplies different sizes of thin-film-transistor liquid-crystal display (TFT-LCD) panels and touch panels was keenly improving their factory’s production and management. By modifying its Nanjing factory in China it would pose as a demonstration site prior to copying intelligent applications to other production bases around the globe.
At the start, the factory used the staff for management of all production equipment. If there was an equipment failure, they had to wait for the operator to solve the problem, arrange maintenance and repair. As there was no record of the machine status, managers were very little aware of the production line situation like the position of the equipment.
In the end, the panel manufacturer decided to take benefit of networking equipment and data acquisition to execute a production line monitoring system. By gathering information of the machine’s three-color warning lights and adding, counting and timing sensors, managers can excel in the production quantity and operating speed of every machine. The collected information is used as a base for improvising production scheduling and complete productivity.
Along with watching of machine’s status, the data is sent to a monitoring station. As the Nanjing factory is a complex environment, it’s not possible to have a wired network. It requires using the factory's already existing wireless network system to collect and transmit the on-site signals to the management center. The wireless device is compact and easy-to-install to avoid occupying too much space.
As the work in process (WIP) pass through the workstation every 3 to 5 seconds, the wireless module is responsible for collecting data. It must give enough speed to get signals (precisely to 0.1 seconds). As for the software, the panel maker did not want too many human resources to create the system and decided to buy an off the shelf remote monitoring software which assures integration with the factory management software.
Advantech is offering a production line monitoring solution with an easy architecture by joining the WISE-4050 IoT Wireless I/O Module with HMI/SCADA software WebAccess. In the production site, the multi-channel digital input/output WISE-4050 is responsible for connecting the three-color light and counting/timing sensor, and then uploading data to the system wirelessly. In the control center, WebAccess immediately and dynamically shows the front-end information on the computer screen. It helps the managers to watch the equipment status of the production line without actually going to the equipment in real-time. The recorded data and periodically generated reports help users in analyzing the equipment utilization.
The WISE-4050 is a wireless module. It has a log function with an RTC time stamp which accurately handles more than 10,000 data samples. The internal flash memory stores data temporarily when network disconnection occurs. It can even continue to upload the data after the network connects without any about data loss. The counter function present in it records the number of WIPs and allows users to calculate the time difference through software programming, therefore evaluating the production efficiency. Supporting numerous communication protocols (including TCP/IP, DHCP, HTTP, etc.) and RESTful Web API makes software programs effortlessly get the captured data. With its compact size of 80 x 148 x 25 mm, the WISE-4050 doesn’t take enough space to transmit data without wiring. By granting DIN rail, wall and stack mounting options makes the crowded and complex factory environment have an apt on-site installation.
The WebAccess is compatible in desktop and mobile devices and be accessed at any time, in any place. Advantech even provides professional version with 600 tags to tie in with the scale of the panel factory. It allows users to have an enough access rights to view the production line monitoring system. Additionally, Advantech even offers customized software services to clients on request making by making it even more in line with the panel maker demands.