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COMPETENCIES - NOVEMBER 2022

DIGITAL TRAFFIC LIGHTS IMPROVE PRODUCTION EFFICIENCY AND QUALITY

Green, orange or red - when a FlowFit production station breaks down, employees know immediately. A new screen with a traffic light system provides information about efficiency and quality in production.

Daniel Jozepovic and Mevljudin Memedi
Daniel Jozepovic (left) and Mevljudin Memedi introduced the system to help employees. (© Seraina Boner)

Screens are the magic of the modern age. If you switch off the TV for a child, you provoke trouble. Employees of the FlowFit production in Rapperswil-Jona (CH) reacted somewhat similarly when their brand new screen disappeared for a few days due to an update.

A screen in production makes more sense than one might think at first glance. Digital science doctoral student Arne Seeliger, master's student Elia Donno and automation engineer Markus Kälin recently developed a dashboard that helps to increase quality and efficiency in FlowFit production.

Detailed data evaluated
The dashboard is based on the data of the individual production lines: injection moulding machine, cooling line, assembly elements and packaging line. On the screen, each component can be seen as a rectangle in green, orange or red. “The system recognises how reliably the individual components are running and evaluates the data in real time,“ says Elia Donno. The traffic light colours provide information about this.

According to Arne Seeliger, the test phase already proved to be a success. “That was clear at the latest when the employees complained because we removed the test display for a short time.“ So it didn't take long until the permanent installation was hanging from the ceiling.

"Now we have more precise information and often see before a failure that there is a problem."
Daniel Jozepovic, Head of Product Line 22

Precise information - short reaction time
According to Daniel Jozepovic, Head of Product Line 22, this is worth its weight in gold. “Previously, we had one little light per production line that lit up green or red.“ In the case of a fault, this was not immediately noticeable - and where exactly the fault occurred was also unclear. “Now we have more precise information and often see that there is a problem before an actual failure.“

Reaction times are much quicker, failures and rejects of FlowFit fittings are lower, he says. “Today we can permanently operate the machines at the ideal utilisation level of between 80 and 85 percent. Previously, we repeatedly had drop-offs to as low as 70 percent.“

The old traffic light system
The old traffic light system: red or green for the entire system. (© Seraina Boner)
The screen makes the dashboard visible to all
The screen with traffic light system – of course, everything should be green as often as possible. (© Seraina Boner)

Customised development
For him, it is not only the benefits of the new installation that are a reason for enthusiasm, but also its development process. “We expressed the desire for such a dashboard,“ he says. “But it was developed by a team that did not know how to work on our line.“

The fact that this team was able to implement the needs of the employees so precisely is not something he takes for granted. “Of course, there were several versions until the final solution. But what we have now is excellent.“ And because the system is so good, the two want to expand it to the second production hall. The magic of screens - it is impossible to imagine FlowFit production without them.