Factory automation with limiters and Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) form a pretty satisfactory status quo as long as production lines run smoothly and products pass acceptance levels. Nevertheless, some companies are starting to realize that upgrading to a modern Industrial IoT (IIoT) process is unavoidable if they want to stay competitive.
The Manufacturing Quality Management (MQM) Testbed in the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) provides an example of the way forward. The testbed helped upgrade the quality control of Haier’s air-conditioner production process and helped reduce labor on the production line.
The partner that provided the air-conditioner production line to support the testbed was so satisfied with the outcome that it deployed the testbed for its kitchen air-vent production line six months ago.
First, the developers learned that there was no easy way to stick sensors into a welding station due to the sparks, high temperature and the electrical signal interference caused by the arcs and magnetic field. The team had to change the testbed design, refocusing on the Quality Check station.
Second, an analytic engine with deep learning technologies was modified to replace the experienced QC examiner, but the site manager worried how this would disrupted the production line. Fortunately, the testbed followed the IIC’s reference architecture, so a document from the IIC could map that architecture to the production line.