Error Proofing System for High Demand Automotive Assembly

One of the world’s largest automotive manufacturers was looking for a way to improve quality, throughput and workflow.  Automotive manufacturing is a fast-paced, high demand environment in which seconds of downtime, translates into thousands of dollars of lost production.  Error Proofing Systems interact with many different personnel groups that each require their own unique data and functionality.  These solutions must be integrated, updated and maintained in ways that have zero impact on production.

Key Benefits:

  • Reduce Warranty Costs
  • Greater Uptime
  • Higher Product Quality
  • Real Time Production Visibility
  • On-Time Delivery
  • Verification of Parts, Tools, & Processes
  • Improve FTT
  • Provide Accurate Data for Root Cause Analysis

A system was developed to interface with the customer’s scheduling and quality systems.  Vehicle tracking systems were integrated into the customer’s conveyance and build processes.  Operator Interface Stations provided real time build information directly to the Operators and linked real time build status back to the customer’s quality system.

Interfacing with Existing Customer Manufacturing Systems

The customer already had systems in place to gather order information and log quality concerns that were encountered during the build process.  The challenge was getting this information down to the manufacturing floor in real time.

Custom software interfaces were developed to read the information that was already available via these systems and deliver it to plant production equipment.  Additional interfaces were developed to gather real time production information and deliver it to the plant host for logging and traceability purposes

Tracking Technology

A critical piece of any MES Solution is to know what vehicles are being built, and exactly where those vehicles are at in the build process.  The customer’s conveyor and production systems were provided by a number of different OEM’s and none were designed to provide the precise data needed.

Barcode reading devices were added to the beginning of the lines to identify what vehicles were entering the conveyor.  Positioning devices were added to the conveyor to measure how far the conveyor had traveled.  PLC programming was used to collect this data and present it in a format suitable for the MES solution.  

User-Friendly Interface for ISPC (In Station Process Control)

Once the conveyor was able to provide each vehicles location that information needed to be presented to each of the Operators building those vehicles.  Once the Operator performed his/her required task, that status needed to be logged.

A cost effective Operator Interface Solution (OIS), using readily available, off the shelf components was created.  The OIS provided the Operator with information that was specific to what he/she was building.  Smart Tools that were tied to the OIS collected information regarding the tasks the Operator had performed.  Tasks that were not completed by the Operator, were logged by the OIS and flagged in the Customers quality system.

A Fully Integrated and Flexible Solution

Providing information to and collecting information from plant production equipment was only half the battle.  This information needed to be made available to both plant and corporate personnel in a common format that was easy to understand and presentable across the customer’s entire organization.

A website was created to provide a central point of access.  Reporting tools were developed to gather and display critical data in a format that was easy for everyone to understand.

In addition to reporting functions, the website included tools to configure, monitor and troubleshoot OIS’s.  A central website provided the plant with a user-friendly means of scaling the overall system to meet their ever changing production demands.

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