In-line manufacturing of products and goods in different shapes and sizes there are many things that can change, but according to basic principles, reducing waste is not something that differs.
When it comes to packaging, many organisations follow what is known as the overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) principle – getting the most return on your investment (ROI). One of these ways is reducing the waste that machines or processes are creating, whilst ensuring that products and goods are being created within conformity and safety standards. In-line sampling and inspection is the best way to monitor what is happening within an organisation’s business processes. Any time that is spent producing an inadequate item, any time that the machine is not running or any time that a process has been running on the wrong configuration is time lost. This has a negative impact on OEE and ROI of an asset as potential capital gained is lost through processes not operating correctly.
Digital inspection solutions are today helping businesses keep on top of their manufacturing methods and processes. Through the standardised checklists, these inspection applications allow managers or inspectors to perform in-line inspection with ease from the floor. Whilst historically occurring at the end of the process via a pen and paper method, digital in-line inspections can be performed quicker during the manufacturing process. This helps save the material lost if something fails conformity before all the steps of a goods’ manufacture have been taken. The problem or issue can be rectified higher up the chain stopping material and time being spent on goods that are not conforming to standards. Performing inspections with digital solutions also allows the root of a problem to be identified quicker. By taking inspections at different points of the manufacturing line it is easier to firstly locate the problem. The method of treating the issue can be either suggested by automatic corrective actions built into the inspection software or be notified to other employees. Sharing of inspection data and reports allows different teams to use this information to perform their task better; i.e. maintenance teams who can see what inspectors have observed during the machine running.
In-line inspection running on mobile applications can make use of all the features of a modern mobile device. Run on iOS or Android, the smartphone or tablet can take pictures using its camera, as well as use it to scan barcodes for rapid information capture. Any images recorded for a checklist can be annotated retrospectively to highlight certain aspects or just to add notes. Inspectors can likewise use speech-to-text services to add information if they would prefer or are required to keep their eyes on a process. This allow inspectors to record data in real time live as a process unfolds. Management can view in-line inspection reports from a collated database with historical data and past inspections. This ensures that they can take a more holistic approach when considering whether a good OEE or ROI has been achieved in their strategic decisions