To mitigate the problems arising from the lack of visibility into quality processes, the client engaged Birlasoft intending to modernize its quality control function and transform its manufacturing facilities into plants of the future. Birlasoft has been delivering cutting-edge Industry 4.0 solutions to manufacturers over the last several years.
With significant insights into such challenges, Birlasoft quickly mobilized a team of IIoT experts to build a world-class quality control monitoring solution. Ultimately, the quality monitoring solution was a major step in transforming the client’s manufacturing facilities into plants of the future. Read the architectural and functional details of this solution below.
#1. Real-time monitoring solution for 85+ processes spanning in-house and supplier locations
To mitigate quality issues at the earliest point of occurrence, Birlasoft implemented a solution that offered insights into critical quality parameters for both in-house and supplier processes. The solution offered intuitive monitoring with color-coded criticality measure indicators to track key parameters of the processes. For instance, the parameters where quality levels fell below thresholds were flagged with red as requiring attention, whereas those approaching the threshold were issued as warnings.
The solution offered extensive insights into the quality parameters of each process. For instance, paint shop pre-treatment quality was measured with parameters like Recirculation with De-mineral water (RCDM) micro-conductivity, spray flow, degreasing temperatures, fresh DM pH, and so on. These parameters brought extensive insights into quality at each stage of product manufacturing and assembly, which enabled shop floor engineers and technicians to respond promptly to quality issues.
#2. A scalable and secure IIoT solution based on the PTC ThingWorx Platform
One of the key challenges in building profitable IoT solutions is ensuring scalability and security. In fact, the former aspect of IoT projects has been captured in terms like pilot purgatory which is now well-known amongst tech executives of manufacturing businesses. To avoid these challenges for our client, Birlasoft created the IIoT solution on a highly scalable and secure foundation by deploying it on PTC’s ThingWorx IIoT Platform.
The platform offered a powerful data architecture to stream, ingest, and analyze real-time data from hundreds of connected assets across multiple locations. This enabled us to build complete visibility into the current state of quality processes for the client while ensuring data security at rest and during transit.
#3. Integration with PTC Kepware and OPC connectors to minimize the cost of maintenance
When building IIoT solutions at scale, integrating data from manufacturing assets, IoT devices, and SCADA systems can prove challenging due to the lack of uniformity in the communication protocols used by these systems. Creating connectors for each interface not only adds to the cost of the solution but also to the long-term maintenance expenses. Some connectors may need to be rewritten as other technologies in the stack evolve over time.
To mitigate these issues, Birlasoft leveraged PTC Kepware, a solution for building connectivity with SCADA and MES systems with a unified architecture. Moreover, Open Platform Communications (OPC), an interoperability standard for data exchange, enabled us to connect machines and assets from different vendors without having to write and maintain custom Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) for them. This simplified the solution architecture and reduced the overall costs of maintaining the solution in the long run.
#4. Vendor SOP tracking to enable built-to-specification manufacturing
By tracking vendor SOPs continuously, manufacturers can hold vendors accountable for non-compliance or deviations from the committed quality standards. With early detection of these deviations, manufacturers can then prevent rework at the later stages, reduce the amount of scrap, and mitigate a significant chunk of the burden of those costs. This not only results in improved end-product quality but also enables a more efficient supply chain.
To this end, Birlasoft devised a solution to help the client continuously monitor and track vendor SOPs. This enabled them to forgo inspections at the later stage of assembly and testing, which resulted in significant cost savings and reduced scrap volume. Moreover, it contributed to reduced defect rates after the implementation of the solution.
#5. Customized quality performance monitoring dashboards with role-based access
Finally, the solution offered real-time insights into quality control metrics through live dashboards and reports. These were customized to quality management roles of varying functions and seniority, which enabled improved decision-making and brought significant productivity gains. Moreover, the dashboards delivered the necessary quality metrics pertaining to a function, eliminating the need to go through various roles to evaluate quality control effectiveness.