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Direct connection from shop floor to manufacturing database improves efficiency for Kawasaki

1 September 2011

A single PLC module proved to be the key in unlocking the production efficiencies at a pioneering hydraulic specialist.

The technical support team at LC Automation suggested Plymouth-based Kawasaki Precision Machinery (KPM) would reap numerous benefits by utilising a Mitsubishi MES module (manufacturing execution system).

The Q Series MES module allows the users to interface their production control systems directly to a MES database. It removes the need for an interfacing PC layer, specialist software and simplifies the MES architecture.

The devices manage manufacturing operations in factories across the globe, and KPM, with expert guidance from LC Automation, installed it in three areas of their production facility. Increased efficiencies and improved quality control was evident in all three areas following the installation.

Steve Clarke, process controls engineer at KPM, said: “The introduction of this device has had wide-ranging impacts on our production line, all of which are positive and make the manufacturing arm of the organisation more productive and efficient, both in terms of cost and time.

“The capabilities of the MES module allow us to continue to implement it further on the production line to make live production information and greater control available to a large number of personnel.”

The MES module was introduced on a machining line which produces 60,000 components every year, streamlining the process by which serial numbers are allocated to each component, ready for etching.

On KPM’s hydraulic test rig control panel, the MES allowed the team to retrieve the correct specifications – each with over 350 parameters - every time, reducing cost and potential risk to the customer.

The introduction of the MES on the pumps assembly line at KPM enabled a pick-by-lights system to be introduced. Each unit is scanned; the MES translates this barcode to a database of products, matching a unit to a product. The location of the appropriate product for the unit is then identified in storage as an LED lights up.

Jeff Barnes the LC Automation account manager for Kawasaki, said: “To see our suggestions have such an impressive impact on a single organisation is superb. As one of Mitsubishi Electric’s biggest UK suppliers, we are positioned at the forefront of latest technologies available, and in turn aim to improve our customers manufacturing capabilities.

“We hope KPM continue to utilise this technology and find new ways of improving their processes with its introduction to other areas of its production facility.”

LC Automation with offices in the North West and South West has a proven track record for improving production processes and manufacturing methods for companies throughout the UK.

LC Automation stock products from 21 of the world’s leading suppliers of factory automation and safety products. They offer exceptional support and training programs to a vast range of industries.

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