Maximizing the efficiency of the lamp testing facilities is an enormous challenge when there are thousands of testing sockets of various types that must be both monitored and kept at full capacity. Relying on visual inspection and manual record-keeping to determine available test socket locations was inefficient and resulted in under utilization of the testing facilities. In addition, no records were available to inform test personnel about the condition of test sockets. Therefore, if the test station required repairs, they were not initiated until the station was needed, delaying test activities until repairs were completed.
Using an Intermec 7421 bar-code label printer connected to a PC, bar code labels are printed with information that uniquely identifies each individual socket location. Specifically, each location is assigned a unique ID that pinpoints which rack and panel it is located. When the ID label is applied to the location, it is associated to the assigned ballast and timer serial numbers that will be used at the test station.
An Intermec 2420 hand held bar-code reader is used to enter information regarding the availability of the test socket and repair status of each location; this information is then uploaded to the PC's database. The PC system is integrated with the VMS based, VAX test request system so that test personnel can download required test requests from the VAX to the PC database. The PC system generates a report that compares the test requests with available space in the test room. Test personnel then access available space with test requests to determine what tests will be conducted and where. Personnel then assign tests to open locations in the test room. As tests are loaded to the sockets the test personnel enter on the Intermec 2420 hand held that the socket is now in use with the specific test being conducted. This information is then uploaded to the PC system to update the open socket database.
In addition to determining where to conduct required tests, test personnel now use the hand held to make routine periodic inspections of the test center in order to record open unused sockets and to identify sockets that are in need of repair. All collected socket status information is uploaded to the PC and a repair report is issued to the electrician. This permits more timely repairs of the test facility thereby improving utilization.
Management is now able to evaluate tests that are currently underway, view the backlog of tests that need to be conducted and accurately schedule tests. Test coordinators are now able to associate tests to timers, timers to cycle life, and ballasts to lamps, improving their efficiency. Automated collection of socket status, accompanied by the immediate issuance of a repair report is resulting in more timely repairs to the test center. This improves the integrity of tests being conducted and the room utilization. In addition, structured periodic inspections are now being conducted resulting in proactive repairs to failed components. Elimination of hand written socket information is significantly reducing the clerical errors and time previously spent by test personnel for entry of socket status information.