Manufacturers of every size are always seeking to improve the efficiencies of their industrial operations in order to maintain their competitive edge in the market. Quality and efficiency are vital to any company, and if a company succeeds in uplifting these two parameters, it can not only sustain itself but can actively push itself into new markets. Both these factors are highly reliant on one concept, i.e. Error-Proofing.
An error is simply a deviation from the specified or expected manufacturing process. On the other hand, a defect is an anomaly that’s generated because of a deviation from the proper route, leading to customer dissatisfaction.
Human error is natural, it’s a universal fact. But when something goes wrong, and its traced back to the operator’s system, he/she is often blamed. Operators are often trained to try harder not to make mistakes, but companies often fail to realize that it’s the design, layout and operating procedures that are causing repeated failures. Error proofing can take care of such a situation.
Why should industries implement error-proofing systems?
The reasons for error-proofing can be explained as four vital benefits a company needs to survive and grow:
- Competitive Advantage: the economic climate of the 21st century doesn’t have much wiggle room. The global market is governed by intense competition, where clients are looking to get the highest quality for as little as possible. Error-proofing can drastically bring down costs by eliminating errors, and the complications that surface as a result.
- Knowledgeable Workers: after every employee has been imparted the wisdom of error-proofing, there would be a team effort towards the detection and timely elimination of errors. Design improvement can become a routine process, and proper procedures can be developed for quick remedial actions.
- Predictability: if error-proofing devices are fitted into machines that are likely to cause defects, then assurances can be made regarding the quality of products. This would allow workers to set their mind on other problems, rather than worrying about a recurring issue.
- Reduced Variation: error-proofing can ensure that there’s minimum deviation in the final product. This would result in increased customer-satisfaction.
There are two approaches to error proofing, prevention and detection. Prevention is used when there’s a need to prevent error from creating new defects, whereas detection is used to identify defects and carry out remedial actions before a chain reaction sets off.
As a whole, error proofing can be classified into certain categories:
- Physical: this approach involves installation of components such as fixtures, sensors, lights, etc. to eliminate conditions leading to a failure.
- Operational: this involves making changes to the way components have been installed, thereby altering the procedural sequence.
- Philosophical: this involves identifying those situations that lead to faults, and coming up with solutions for them, e.g. empowerment of workforce.
Error proofing has grown from the quality assurance movement, and today, focusses on production processes and operations. The main aim of error proofing is to prevent deviations and errors in standard operation procedures that may result in greater manufacturing costs, customer dissatisfaction and compromise on quality.
Companies use a broad range of assembly methods, usually falling within the three categories stated above. From manual work stations for operators to highly automated production lines lined with sensors, manufacturers are always looking for ways to maximize production efficiencies. Banner Engineering can help manufacturers with the Physical & Operational aspect of error-proofing by offering their vast pool of expertise in sensors, wireless I/O, safety control and LED lighting. The company has a portfolio of over 30,000 products, which have been developed to solve problems and uplift efficiencies.
EZ-Light K50 Optical Pick-to-Light Series
The EZ-Light K50 Series is a prime example of Banner Technology at work to ensure error-proofing in assembly environments. In order to ensure efficiency and accuracy of an assembly application, it is extremely important for the assembler to be aware of the next pick location. A pick-to-light solution is appropriate for such an application as:
- It can mark the correct bin for picking
- Detect that pick has been made
- Send a signal to the assembler containing the location of the next pick
In such an application, the sensor makes use of different light signals to illicit response from the assembler. For instance, when the job input is active, the light is Green, whereas the light turns red when the assembler moves to pick the item. In a nutshell, the light guides the assembler as to what action is to be performed next, hereby reducing errors in the entire assembly process.
The K50 Series of single-point pick-to-light sensors are designed with highly-visible LEDs. The sensors are built for an industrial environment, and can fit in the tightest of locations, ensuring long-lasting operation in your quest for error-proofing.
Interested in learning more about Banner Engineering products?