Visual factory is an industry term to explain how data and information are transmitted in a lean manufacturing workplace. In a lean manufacturing environment, time and resources are dedicated to projecting information in real time to all levels of your organization, allowing all to obtain a quick sense of the business.
Deeper Look at Visual Factory
When processes become complex, it is crucial that information is communicated accurately and quickly to everyone. That’s exactly what Visual Factory does. Visual Factory can be broken down into two stages:
- Finding out and deciding what information is most important to be communicated to improve your processes
- How and what is the best way to communicate your desired process
Approximately 25 billion connected devices will be in effect within factories by 2020. We know this revolution to be known as Industry 4.0. Industry 4.0 is a concept that touts the value of machine-to-machine (M2M) connectivity—it’s gaining popularity as manufacturers use smart sensors to monitor assets and predict maintenance needs.
This ties directly to choosing which content should be shown and displayed in Visual Factory concepts. Determining what information needs to be communicated is the starting point of Visual Factory.
First, examine the organization’s goals—they will determine what information needs to be communicated to improve a process. Second, the organization must determine how the information is communicated—it all depends on the end goal. Third, the organization needs to select a desired location and method of how the information will be delivered.
Visual Factory Data
Visual Factory Process Metrics
Process metrics are typically displayed at the machine or cell. Process metrics are most valuable and
useful when they are given in real time because facilities can make adjustments immediately. Stacklights (commonly red, green, amber) are used to indicate information. Stacklights are known as “Andons”, which you can read about here. Andons are necessary assets of a Visual Factory to process real-time data. The ability to quickly address process breakdowns creates more efficiency and reduces unnecessary engineering, quality, or maintenance calls. The ROI is quickly earned back as these efficiencies are realized and implemented.
Visual Factory Work Instructions
Work instructions are most commonly found in the production areas. Using instructions that include graphics will make the instructions clearer and will minimize production errors. Systems such as Light Guided System utilize a reality tool for manual assembly and manufacturing processes. These types of systems help minimize mistakes, and in turn it thoroughly “improves the manufacturing assembly processes by projecting a digital operating ‘canvas’ directly onto any work surface and providing audio and visual prompts, guidance, pacing and direction.” The reduction of manual errors and the increased speed make assemblies more efficient. Overall, the reduced waste and the increase in productivity create a larger ROI.
General Plant Information
General plant information should be posted where everyone can access it. Industrial LED Displays and LCD displays show this information to the whole factory and allow anyone at a quick glance to understand how the plant is currently functioning. Visual Factory’s information is to inform, alert, and motivate employees. All critical tools operating at higher efficiencies help the factory make its optimum outputs, which again, creates a higher ROI.
How Can Visual Factory Help Your Business Reach a Higher ROI?
The smooth transition of communication created by Visual Factory allows a business to operate at their fullest potential. This allows for factory machine run rates and uptime to increase. Also, businesses will benefit from reduced errors and decrease work in progress (WIP), all while boosting employee morale.
For more on Factory Vision, visit Factory Vision Industrial LED Displays.