Traceability, data capture software and connected technologies
Pryor will be showcasing traceability and data capture software and connected technologies; demonstrating the ability to track individual parts throughout the entire manufacturing process, demanded by Industry 4.0.
Laser marking will also be on display, with high speed “on-the-fly” marking performed on parts on a moving conveyor. Used in high volume automotive production, each part can be uniquely identified, logged and traced within 0.5 seconds.
The trace is on
With product recalls at an all-time high, companies across the manufacturing supply chain are under pressure to improve product traceability.
The number of product recalls has shot up over the past six years, manufacturers are now far more likely than in 2013 to call back defective products, in the EU, car recalls are up 150%. One recent example is BMW, in October 2018, the car manufacturer recalled more than 268,000 diesel-engined models in the UK over a potential fire risk caused by a leaking part.
The full costs of a recall can be difficult to quantify, and may be much larger than insurance industry figures suggest. Beyond the direct expenses associated with locating and rectifying or replacing faulty products, companies involved in major recalls will also have to deal with knock-on effects, including reputational damage and the loss of customers to competitors.
Efforts to limit the occurrence and impact of quality-related issues is driving a desire to improve traceability at the component level. Understanding exactly which components have been used in which products doesn’t eliminate the risk of quality problems, but it can transform a company’s ability to respond to issues when they occur: limiting the scale and scope of recalls and corrective actions and aiding the identification and elimination of root-causes.
Full component traceability has been standard practice in the aerospace sector for many years. As demand for the same capabilities expands into other industries, subcontract manufacturers are increasingly facing the need to upgrade their processes and equipment to meet customer requirements.
Introducing traceability capabilities into manufacturing operations can seem a daunting prospect, but Pryor Marking has developed a comprehensive range of solutions applicable to all material types and manufacturing volumes.
Read the full article: https://www.pryormarking.com/knowledge-centre/blog/the-trace-is-on
Industry 4.0 and the importance of product traceability
Raw materials, parts and finished product traceability practices have traditionally been the province of highly regulated operations that are legally bound to demonstrate compliance, such as the pharmaceuticals, aerospace and automotive sectors. Now, as a much wider industrial base wakes up to the promise of Industry 4.0 and its impact on manufacturing economics and logistics, traceability issues have taken on much greater significance for companies operating at every stage along the supply chain.
Traceability has always been a vital aspect of pharmaceuticals production and the supply of military, aerospace and automotive components which carry real risk of harm to end users - not to mention supplier reputation - should a product have been compromised during the manufacturing process. However, Industry 4.0 sets a higher priority for traceability among more mainstream manufacturers; efficient production methodologies demand an unbroken, fully connected supply chain along which participants are able to track not just the movement of parts and materials in real time, but the history of their manufacture, the processes involved and the sources of the raw materials used in that manufacture.
With the evolution of Industry 4.0 and its requirements for the efficient collection and dissemination of manufacturing data, traceability is becoming an essential element of the manufacturing process, no matter at which level it happens to be deployed within the supply chain.
Tracking individual parts throughout the entire supply chain's manufacturing processes and beyond into distribution and the after-market are critical to the functioning of highly-automated 'smart' factories, cyber-physical production systems and interconnected supply chains that define the Industry 4.0 manufacturing operation.
Read the full article and others at pryormarking.com/knowledge-centre
Direct part marking: getting it right
The marking of manufactured parts is often overlooked, though it can have huge ramifications for the whole supply chain.
In these times of end-to-end part traceability, each manufactured component must have a unique identity, which includes its specific manufacturing history. Rather than simply assigning it a code number, manufacturers can apply a machine readable code, such as a 2D Data Matrix, which stores vital data and can be scanned at any point during the life of the part.
This is critical in industries such as automotive and aerospace, where many components are brought together and assembled in the final product, and may later have to be recalled.
Several methods, including chemical etching, dot peening and laser marking, can apply a permanent 2D Data Matrix to a part. The nature of the part, such as what it is made from and its size and thickness, may determine the best method to use.
For instance, lasers apply high contrast marks to any type of material, but may be too expensive for general use. Chemical etching gives similar mark contrast at a lower price point, but can be less reliable. Dot Peen is often an ideal method on metals as each dot forms a square of the Data Matrix.
A 2D Data Matrix stores far more data than a 1D barcode, using a grid of squares to store information both horizontally and vertically. It is ideal for marking using laser etching or dot-peening, and can store up to 3116 numbers or 2335 alphanumeric characters, which can also be encrypted.
Data Matrix codes ensure that, even if partially damaged or obscured, most of the data can still be recovered. However, if the data matrix is not correctly applied at the start, some of this built-in redundancy is lost.
2D Data Matrix codes have revolutionised manufacturing, and complex supply chains. Manufacturers must ensure that they use the best, most appropriate marking techniques to take full advantage of them.
UK Manufactured Solution for Global Traceability
Advances in relatively inexpensive technology with greater networking capabilities are now being exploited throughout the supply chain to ensure reliability and identification of root causes to potential problems. Companies producing even the smallest components are benefitting from increasingly accessible technologies used for marking and tracking components, previously only a feature of manufacturing practices at the very top of the supply chain.
The traceability process begins with marking and coding equipment. Effective marking is central to any successful traceability system; if parts cannot be distinguished it is simply not possible to track them. Whilst traditional methods of tagging parts such as with an adhesive label or a human-readable code are widely used and serve their purpose well, they are not truly permanent and come with their faults. A permanent machine readable code or 2D data matrix code, which stores vital data and can be scanned at any point during the life of the part, can quickly and easily be applied directly to a component, by dot peen, scribe or laser marking.
Marking equipment can easily be integrated within existing manufacturing environments, whether it be a bench mounted marking machine connected to a PC or a fully networked automated robotic production line laser marking system, manufactures of all sizes can find a solution to fit their needs. Purchasing a touchscreen controller or using an existing PC with traceability software installed allows automated creation and storage of unique identifiers such as serial numbers or 2D data matrix codes. Once marked onto a component, the unique ID can be captured by a machine vision system or handheld reader to accumulate a manufacturing ‘history’ for the part as it passes through different processes and operators.
Read the full article and others at pryormarking.com/knowledge-centre