What does Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition mean? Why is it important?
SCADA, or Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition originated in Sweden at the Volvo Truck plant. The concept is a system to ensure consistent quality levels while increasing throughput.
SCADA can be found everywhere in industrial assemblies. Each robot is a part of SCADA. Robots are designed for specific tasks and only perform those tasks when directed to do so. A DC nutrunner is also a part of SCADA. That nutrunner only works at the functions for which it is designed, and does nothing else. Like the robot, it cannot do things it is not designed or programmed to do. That control is a key element in maintaining quality levels. (For more information, see Finding the Balance, and Six Error Proofing Scenarios)
Automation in industrial assembly is easy to control. But what about torque hand tools? How can you control both the tool and the operator? Controlling the operator is particularly important because humans are the most variable factor in any torque equation.
To provide supervisory control for torque hand tools, Sturtevant Richmont created our wireless error-proofing systems. We mounted radios on torque hand tools. Those radios communicate with SR torque controllers. The torque controllers communicate with your MES or your PLC. This is all part of the Factory 4.0 or Industry 4.0 movement.
The tools are paired with specific parameters. MES or the PLC tells the torque controller which parameter is active and which tool to use. It also tells the operator how many fasteners are in any given batch.
If the operator selects the wrong tool the system does not advance to work mode. Tools that are not paired with the active parameter are in suspend mode so the controller does not recognize any work that would be attempted. All work is date and time-stamped.
Many companies have excellent operators assigned to specific tasks. But what if your best operator goes on vacation or calls off? What if you have staff turnover? Should your quality suffer?
This is another place where supervisory control is so important. Ensuring that inexperienced operators select the appropriate tool for the job is critical. Plus, the system helps shape operator behavior and reinforces proper technique.
The operator is informed of the status of each fastening. If it is OK the operator can move on. If the fastener is non-compliant, the work must be redone.
When the batch is complete the operator moves to the next batch or next work instruction.
All the work is tracked with a digital date and time stamp and transmitted to a data repository or back to the MES or PLC.
Information in a robust data repository can be useful in business intelligence. It can also be used in cost-saving procedures.
A good data repository will allow you to parse data on any field, including workstation, date and time, and tool serial number.
For example, if a work cell produces 254 parts a day and a wrench is deemed to be "SOOT" or significantly out of tolerance, production data can be parsed to identify only those pieces where the offending tool was used.
This saves an incredible amount of time and cost.
We have seen another use of data repository information. Some OEM companies are printing the torque data and shipping that report with the product to document quality. This provides documentation that the work was done properly.
If you are ready to talk with your Sturtevant Richmont sales professional about SCADA and how Sturtevant Richmont wireless error proofing tools can help with your assembly challenges, contact us.