Hundreds of thousands of pieces are routinely manufactured and handled by rubber manufacturers. Identifying where these pieces are in the various production steps requires continuous counting following each production operation. Therefore, a system was required that would quickly and accurately count in-process production, finished goods, scrap, and salvage quantities.
Existing counting procedures required scale operators to take numerous time-consuming steps in order to accurately weigh count the pieces; scale setup, tare, lookup pack counts, samplings, actual count, and finally handwriting the piece count ticket. Clerical personnel would then have to collect and compile all of the piece count tickets, and key enter the information into several different applications on the business system. These procedures required a large number of scales and operators to be available for counting, and were prone to transposition and clerical errors. Each time there was an increase in production, more scales and operators were added to accommodate the growth.
A PC with a color touch screen, Intermec 1550 laser scanner, and a Intermec 9730 wedge reader is connected to both a Setra CP Series counting scale and a smaller capacity Setra C Series counting scale at the conveyor line on the production floor.
Tare information for all of the box types and totes is loaded onto the system. Each tote is identified with a unique serial number so that it's tare weight can be associated back to it by the system.
The scale operator scans the tote serial number label and the product item number from the production process card that is placed in the tote along with the product to be counted.
The system directs the scale operator to place the parts on the correct scale. Once the parts are placed on the appropriate scale, the system automatically subtracts the tare weight and displays the count quantity. If the parts are finished goods, the system instructs the operator to add or remove parts until the correct pack count is obtained. The operator then scans the operation completed, quality characteristics, quality control auditor identity, production operator, and the machine number where the item was manufactured.
All collected data is fully integrated to the Telesis business system operating on a UNIX system with an Ingres database.
Elimination of hand written count tickets has reduced data entry time and associated errors. Customer satisfaction has improved now that standard pack counts are accurate for finished goods. Additionally, there is no longer any need to maintain employee instructions on the shop floor for standard pack counts. Management is better equipped to identify production problems and take corrective action when they occur due to the immediate access of scrap, salvage and re-work inventory levels. Finally, while production volume has tripled, the labor required has decreased allowing the company to grow while reducing costs.