|A project to improve production-line productivity started with the use of intelligent feeder system (IFS) technology in Juki production equipment. |
Hager Security Agency, headquartered in France, is a key part of the company's larger Hager Group, supplying printed circuit board assemblies (PCBAs) for security alarms and other electronic products. With approximately 50 employees, Hager Security Agency supports a variety of electrical safety installations in residential, commercial, and industrial buildings. To handle the wide diversity of products, Hager Security needed the appropriate technology, and began working with Juki and their dependable production equipment in 1999. Hager Security current has eight of Juki's parts placement machines, each incorporating intelligent feeder system (IFS) technology. The IFS control system, which was co-developed by Juki and Cogiscan, tracks components from initial receipt through placement.
Avoiding Misplaced Parts
According to Damien Agnellet, Production Process Department of Hager Security, "when we decided to implement intelligent feeders, we chose IFS because this system prevents misplaced components, ideally corresponding to our needs and it seemed very flexible."
Agnellet added: "Also, in the future, if we have other machines, we will be able to extend the use of the Cogiscan system. Additionally, it is adaptable to manual processes and is the only intelligent feeder system that works with Juki."
Encouraged by the benefits gained from the IFS-based placement machines, Hager Security began a project in September 2011 to incorporate additional Cogiscan technology into their production processes. The project was divided into several phases, in order to test and validate different functionalities of new systems to better manage their production materials. Agnellet felt that breaking the project into phases helped their operators to learn the new approaches: "The system requires operators to change their way of working, so this 'step-by-step evolution' also permitted them to adapt more easily. This way of managing projects is in line with our group's continuous improvement policy."
The first phase of the project was designed to prevent component misplacement, and included hardware material implementation. This consisted of radio-frequency-identification (RFID) feeder tags and feeder bank antennas to aid component identification, and docking stations to read information being supplied by the antennas. The phase of the project has been fully functional since March 2012, and it is quite effective at avoiding component misplacements: when a component is not properly placed, the machines stop and cannot be restarted until the error is fixed.
The second phase of the project, aimed at controlling component supply reel quantities, has been functional since July 2012. Production component consumption is controlled on the IFS system with the aid of data from the Juki pick-and-place machines. During production, the system warns an operator when a component supply reel is approaching an empty condition by indicating the identification (ID) and part number for the reel, its position, and the approximate time when the reel will be empty. This helps an operator run the production line efficiently by anticipating the need for a change of supply reel. It has also helped Hager Security's productivity to increase.
The next phases of the project will also seek to boost production-line productivity by helping operators avoid delays through proper component preparation. Because Hager Security's production lines handle so many different products, with a significant number of component changeovers, component preparation is a key step in avoiding delays and optimizing production-line productivity.
The Hager Security project was originally driven by a quality issue, due to frequent errors in loading wrong reels on placement machines. These errors were eliminated by the IFS technology. As Agnellet explains: "We have no misplaced component errors when the system is in use. That was the main object of the implementation project and it has been reached." He added: "Before using IFS, we tried different systems but the results were not so good. Indeed, the previous systems depended on human factor, so the risks were still there. The IFS system ensures us that no one can start a machine with a reel in a wrong position."
Using the IFS technology has resulted in numerous benefits for the Hager Security production line, including productivity gains from reduced downtime during reel/feeder replenishment. The firm has realized a 5-percent improvement in its surface-mount-technology (SMT) production line and a 9-percent increase in its component preparation process as a result of the Juki/Cogiscan systems.
Making the Transition
The transition from their previous (MYDATA) systems to the Juki machines was smooth for Hager Security, and the employees had no problems in adapting to the new machines and technology. Still, a learning curve was required for the Hager operators since the Juki machines are IT tools, and required some initial training. As Agnellet notes: "Indeed, some of them were unfamiliar with the computer. However, after some initial training, they said that they could not work without the IFS system and they continue saying that today."
The transition was also made simpler by the service and support of the Juki and Cogiscan teams. Agnellet explains that the support was an important part of using these new machines in production: "We receive extremely quick and comprehensive answers to our questions about incidents or new functionalities. This is important to us because if there was an incident with the system, the production could be stopped or could run with a quality risk such as misplaced components." He admits that there is a certain amount of comfort in dealing with their new partners: "Through our exchanges with Cogiscan, we see that we are supported by very competent people who are experts concerning their system and who know and perfectly understand our needs as well as the constraints of our process."
Contact: Hager Security Agency, (Damien Agnellet), 140 Rue du Pre l'Horme, 38920 Crolles, France; +33-476453276, E-mail: Damien.firstname.lastname@example.org, Web: http://www.hagergroup.net. also
Contact: Cogiscan, 28-B Airport Blvd., Bromont, Quebec, Canada J2L 1S6 450-534-2644 E-mail: email@example.com; Web: http://www.cogiscan.com