Improving assembly lines with smart tools with the operator in focus
Atlas Copco has a long and well proven legacy in providing efficient and ergometric tools to operators. This experience has been used when designing tools for the factory of tomorrow. One of the biggest difficulties factories are facing today is maintaining an adequately trained staff. Adapting to multiple new product lines requires training both old and new personnel to handle the production process. This takes time and leaves the business vulnerable to any dramatic changes in the workforce. It is also getting more and more difficult to recruit new employees skilled in advanced manufacturing work.
To ensure continued competitiveness, there is a need of constant changes in production. It means that you also must invest time and money into training staff so that you can produce the best quality products possible. This can be costly.
One well-proven way around this is to pair experienced operators with less experienced, meaning they can be mentored and guided when appropriate. But with shrinking workforces and increased dispersal of labour across the factory floor, this is often unrealistic. The ideal is to be able to ensure that operators are doing their jobs correctly without training.
With Atlas Copco Smart Connected Assembly, managing all the issues with training and recruiting has never been easier. In this fourth industrial revolution, or Industry 4.0, we are seeing the rise of the smart, interconnected assembly lines.
Smart tools can support your operators by detecting faults and errors and providing guidance to the operator on how to correct them. This means that less time and money needs to be spent training employees as they will have constant, real-time guidance as they work. This is true not only for new employees but also for shifting experienced operators onto new product lines.
One leading automotive manufacturer found that by implementing Operator Guidance they could reduce their training time and costs by 30% when introducing new models. Direct instructions and instant correction are some of the benefits with Atlas Copco’s Smart Connected Assembly.
All tools have operator feedback built directly into them. This allows the operator to verify that they have achieved the desired result or to correct any mistakes. The tools and all their connected systems are also designed to be easy-to-use and intuitive, meaning that less time is required for training.
Atlas Copco tools have the TurboTight® solution to improve operators’ ergonomics. This control algorithm lets the tool absorb the reaction force of tightening and makes it significantly easier on the operator, shortening cycle times and improving flexibility.
With Operator Guidance, the personnel get direct instructions with pictures and text on a screen which reduces the need for operators taking decisions. By providing continuous directions, the operator can work efficiently, avoid mistakes and the need for training can be reduced. The lightweight, ergonomic and wireless design of Atlas Copco’s tools significantly reduce the risk of injuries to operators and equipment, making smart tools a favourite among production staff. These kinds of smart, integrated solutions define the usefulness of Smart Connected Assembly.
The bottom Line
As part of upgrading your manufacturing plant and take steps towards Industry 4.0, it is essential to focus on the operators and their working environment. In implementing Smart Connected Assembly solutions like smart tools, you not only give yourself an edge in production, but you are able to rapidly train new staff or shift experienced operators onto new production lines as needed.
Smart Connected Assembly is the Atlas Copco concept to support Industry 4.0 becoming reality. A reality where technology is easy to use and quickly delivers value.
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