Changeover is an important component of lean manufacturing initiatives. It is the process followed when a manufacturing line is being changed over from producing one part to another or from completing one workorder to starting a new workorder. Changeovers can last from a few hours to days or weeks, depending on how extensive the changes to the line are. This process requires a lot of attention to detail and can be vulnerable to human errors. Errors during the Changeover process can have lasting repercussions long after the finished goods leave the line. Due to the meticulous nature of doing a Changeover process, specially trained personnel are needed to perform these tasks, which can be costly. Ultimate goal of any manufacturing organization is to achieve the fastest possible changeovers without compromising on accuracy or quality.
Changeover complexity depends more on the process itself—factors such as number of internal steps, and validations required. Rapid changeover is critical to improving flow and maximizing throughput. Use of RFID can go a long way in automating this process, thereby minimizing or even eliminating human errors. Aside from error prevention, the Changeover process can also be expedited, thereby reducing overall downtime of the manufacturing line.
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AssetPulse’ RFID solution has been implemented at various manufacturing facilities to automate the Changeover process. In industries that are strictly governed by compliance requirements, using the AssetPulse RFID Asset tracking solution also allows for automated record keeping. Details about Raw Material or Components including Part numbers, Lot numbers, Batch numbers, etc. can be automatically recorded at each point of the Manufacturing Line during Changeover. Equipment and Tools deployed during the Changeover process can also be automatically recorded.
Not only does the AssetPulse RFID solution help automate recording of tools, equipment and components deployed during the Changeover process, but it can also help with validation and detecting errors. At every step, a validation can automatically be performed to ensure the right tools, equipment and components or raw materials are placed at the right location. On incorrect placement, the user can be alerted, so the error is rectified immediately.
RFID can also help with enforcing the sequence of steps in the Changeover process. E.g. if the Changeover process requires pre-staging to be done, before the items are moved to the actual line, the AssetPulse RFID Asset Tracking solution can ensure the right items are pre-staged and will throw up errors if they are moved to the line without the pre-staging step. AssetPulse customers have seen a much-improved Changeover process, that is faster, more accurate and which allows the organization to meet compliance regulations with significantly lesser time and resources.