Many manufacturing lines utilize huge manufacturing facilities with thousands of personnel, production work benches and thousands of tools.
Some of these production lines are required by law (or regulatory agencies like the FDA) to regularly calibrate tools in the production assembly environments.
On its face, it seems relatively simple to comply with these kinds of rules, but when looked at more closely, the complexities and challenges of staying in compliance become much clearer and more complex.
Many times these tools must be calibrated on a regular schedule (such as every 30 days). This doesn’t sound too terribly difficult until you consider the challenge of actually finding the tools. For example, it might be hard to know which workbench a particular tool is on, or if a tool was moved to a bench 100 benches away.
Even worse, it might be nearly impossible to know if someone accidentally picked up an expired tool, brought it to the production workbench and started to work. This could prove costly and problematic in so many ways. Many companies employ dozens (or more) people who specialize in maintaining the inventory of tools and compliance regulations. This can prove to be an expensive ongoing personnel cost.
The Senitron Solution
A well-known surgical robot manufacturing company contacted Senitron with this dilemma.
The Senitron team first thought they could install ceiling-mountable RFID readers. But the team quickly realized this isn’t a feasible option since RFID readers would read a wide area, which might contain production and non-production benches. One of the main goals was to alert management if an expired tool ever made its way to a production bench, so this solution wouldn’t solve that particular goal.
Therefore, the ideal solution would be to implement RFID readers at each workbench, segregate each bench and know which bench had which items on it.
But that led to other concerns – the workbench placements on the production floor changes every few months. This created a new problem because each RFID reader requires a POE Ethernet cable to power and provide data from the reader to the central monitoring server. Data wires would be running to thousands of work benches, but then would be re-routed when the workbench layout changes. The economics of this solution would never make sense.
The Senitron team took the challenges of the situation and created a new WIFI-based RFID reader, the “ZM-2000”.
This creates an amazing solution to what was a complex problem. With this product, manufacturers can deploy WIFI-based RFID Reader Zone Monitors over work benches, entrance, and exit points and any other areas of concern to management.
With the new system, the client’s tools compliance and management program became an automated, self-managed system that can help personnel locate expired tools and alert management if an expired tool ever makes its way to a production workbench.
The system solved the primary concern, but also provided unexpected benefits like asset tracking of other valuables and equipment.
They now know where assets are thanks to the history logs kept by the Senitron system. Contact us today so we can get to work on a solution for you!