How to Eliminate Step-Away Time with Mobile Electronic Process Control

Mobile electronic process control has proven to be a highly valuable tool for manufacturers that employ manual processes in their production operations. Many such operations will continue to be performed most efficiently by human operators, because people have better visual and tactile senses and greater mobility than automated systems. Even as robots and cobots continue to advance, human operators will likely outperform them in these regards for some time to come.

Mobile electronic process control not only helps your operators rapidly and correctly perform value-added operations, it also eliminates an important hidden cost: step-away time.

Nonvalue-added step-away time is incurred every time an operator must move away from the work-in-progress (WIP). Without mobile process control, this occurs each time they need to advance to the next process step, each time they need to stamp a buyoff, and each time they need to consult work instructions. That’s a lot of travel time, and a lot of time added to the production cycle.

The two keys to eliminating this step-away time and raising manual productivity are (1) familiar smart mobile devices – tablets and phone-size touchscreens – and (2) control software with an up-to-date user interface.

Aligned Vision developed our mobile electronic process control technology to extend the functionality of our pioneering 3D industrial laser projection solution. Proven in exacting composites layup operations for flight-critical aerospace components, 3D laser projection imports CAD data and accurately projects locations in 3D space across large, complex WIPs. Electronic process control enables this technology to advance step-by-step through a build or assembly process, including steps that do not require projections, such as vacuum debulks.

Devices developed by other vendors to advance through a laser projection build sequence are pretty rudimentary – retroreflective bands or TV-style remotes. In contrast, the smart mobile devices that deliver our electronic process control information use Android technology to provide operators with a familiar touchscreen user interface. Without leaving the WIP, these operators advance the laser projector to its next projection, review CAD-like representations of the WIP and projection pattern, consult detailed work instructions, initiate automatic inspections with the touch of a button, and stamp buyoffs before moving on to the next process step.

Our mobile electronic process control devices are equipped with ALIGN 4.0 advanced software and BUILDGUIDE process control suite. Up to 8 devices are supported by one controller, equipping 8 operators with independent control of their electronic work instructions.

We would love to show you firsthand how our new ALIGN 4.0 control software and smart mobile devices eliminate step-away time, improving operator productivity and accuracy. Contact us for an onsite or online demo: learnmore@aligned-vision.com.