To Efficiency and Beyond! Security in Manufacturing
Editor / Provider: BY EIFEH STROM, a&s International | Updated: 7/18/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics
Production efficiency is more than just improving organization and effectiveness in a production facility. It is about saving manufacturers time wasted due to errors and money lost due to mistakes. For these reasons, automotive manufacturers are taking advantage of the beyond security applications of video surveillance cameras in their production facilities.
The automotive industry is considered one the world's most mportant economic sectors. When the global economy went nto recession in 2008, the overall globalmanufacturing output, including motor vehicle production, hit a major speed bump. With less money in the hands of consumers the demand for all types of goods decreased, which caused global manufacturing production to decline. However, now, as the global economy rebounds, globalmanufacturing is slowly starting to see in green again instead of red.
Global manufacturing output grew by 2.4 percent in the third quarter of 2013, according to a recent report published by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). In the first six months of 2013, statistics provided by the InternationalOrganization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers (OICA) showed that global motor vehicle production went up 1.6 percent from 2012. Although both of these numbers are considered low, growth, no matter the amount, is a hopeful sign that both global manufacturing and the global economy have begun to heal. By region the UNIDO report pointed out a slight improvement in overall manufacturing output in industrialized regions such asNorth America, East Asia, and Europe. In the U.S., most of this improvement is attributed to increased production in the electronic goods, motor vehicles, and furniture markets. The report noted that US production of motor vehicles rose at a rate of 5.8 percent in the third quarter of 2013. Specific factors that have contributed to growth in motor vehicle production include low interest rates and the declining unemployment rate. On the other hand, overall manufacturing growth in Europe has been more fragile. Growth in the eurozone has been marginal; however, growth outside of the eurozone has been slightly better. Motor vehicle production in Germany rose 2.2 percent in the third quarter of 2013, opposed to production rate drops in both France and Italy. A sharp decline in production in Russia was also observed where motor vehicle production plunged by 27 percent compared to the same period in 2012. In Asia, Japan saw meager motor vehicle production growth of 1.7 percent, whereas Malaysia saw nearly 10 percent growth from the previous quarter.
Visual Inspection at SEAT Factory
With over 12,000 employees and annual production surpassing 375,000 in 2012, the idea of visual inspection was implemented by Axis Communications at the SEAT factory in Martorell, Barcelona, Spain.
In 2011 the SEAT factory became the production house of the Audi Q3, the first luxury car assembled in Spain. The use of barcodes in automotive factories to keep track of parts during the production process is standard. At the SEAT factory, they wanted to take extra measures to avoid delays and facilitate workflow. As a result, over 100 Axis cameras were implemented to complement the existing barcode scanning system for a visual verification system. By taking images of the barcodes that were identified as possibly containing errors, which were then sent to an emergency data-entry computer, the system provides visual verification that serves as a backup to the scanned barcodes. With images of the barcodes, in the event of a barcode scanning error, vehicles do not have to be physically moved by operators in order to be re-scanned.
Additionally, the cameras were also used to monitor the transport of car bodies throughout the facility.
With unimpressive growth numbers, manufacturers are now more than ever looking for ways to not only improve efficiency, but also reduce unnecessary costs.
PRODUCTION EFFICIENCY SAVES TIME AND MONEY
The automotive industry has many stringent requirements when it comes to production processes. Safety must come first when it comes to parts and assembly. Therefore, it is crucial that even the slightest defects be caught before becoming part of a finished product. Meticulous inspection of a production line, however, can be costly and time consuming, therefore efficiency is key. Time wasted is money wasted and with the economy as it has been, no one has either to waste.
Using video surveillance cameras that are typically used for security applications on the production line to improve efficiency is not a new concept. Nevertheless, as manufacturers become more aware of their benefits and their ability to be equally effective when it comes to improving production efficiency, more and more manufacturers are looking toward this solution.
Benefits of Video Surveillance Cameras
Traditionally industrial cameras have been used in manufacturing settings for quality assurance and process control applications. Similarly, video surveillance cameras have typically been used for their video surveillance abilities — monitoring people, ensuring that there are no personnel in restricted zones, recording daily happenings, etc. “Video surveillance ensures safety rules are being followed, tools and equipment are handled properly, and that production personnel comply with defined processes at all times,” said Andrea Sorri, Business Development Director at Axis Communications. However, it has become increasingly more common for manufacturers to combine the use of industrial cameras with network surveillance cameras in manufacturing facilities — classical industrial cameras are used for inspection tasks and network surveillance cameras for process monitoring, according to Ingo Lewerendt, Strategic Business Development Manager at Basler. It is these beyond security applications of video surveillance cameras that have gotten the attention of automotive manufacturers. Wendi Burke, Director of Marketing at IQinVision, pointed out that because “cameras don't take a break, don't have bad days, don't get distracted or fall asleep, they're always on, always performing” video surveillance cameras, particularly high-resolution HD cameras, are extremely beneficial to manufacturers in helping catch costly manufacturing defects and other problems before the problems are repeated. In a similar way to how video surveillance is used in the automotive industry to enhance production efficiency, IQinVision high megapixel cameras have been used in the steel industry. Faults in manufacturing are costly mistakes for steel makers. Therefore, the Ellwood Group, a US-based steel manufacturer, deployed 250 IQinVision megapixel cameras throughout their 10 manufacturing facilities to not only help with video surveillance, but also with identifying problems during production. “As soon as one piece of defective steel is identified,” said Burke, “quality control staff are able to quickly review all video footage of that production process to find the fault.” From there, once the fault is found, it is corrected, allowing production to resume, saving both time and money.
Convenient Integration With Network Cameras
Since a standard IP infrastructure is used in most manufacturing facilities, network surveillance cameras that are built on an open platform can be easily integrated into a facility's existing system. This is one of the biggest advantages of using a network surveillance camera, as pointed out by Sorri. “Network cameras can be easily integrated into industrial manufacturing environments such as production lines to automatically perform visual inspections, to monitor production line efficiency, and to enable remote assistance for maintenance.”
Additionally, “Network cameras can deliver high resolution images at high frames allowing for precise analysis of quickly passing objects on a sliding band in an industrial production line.” Because network surveillance cameras can support intelligent video processing and video analytics on the edge, they can also be utilized to perform visual inspections for a specific step in a production line, alert the manufacturer to labels missing, caps not positions correctly or missing solder, according to Sorri. One of the biggest advantages of network surveillance cameras in manufacturing, as pointed out by Sorri, is that they “can be easily integrated into industrial manufacturing environments such as production lines to automatically perform visual inspections, to monitor production line efficiency, and to enable remote assistance for maintenance.”
After cameras are in place, that is where video management software (VMS) comes in to help manage, access, and control the images and recording; however, its usefulness in the automotive industry has helped to not only do the aforementioned tasks, but also streamline and improve the production process. When Nissan Motor Manufacturing UK was looking to improve production efficiency at their facility, they sought a solution that could not only be integrated with their current set up, but also be installed over 300 network cameras from various manufacturers to monitor the production lines and their facility. Nissan UK has always used machine vision tools, including highly specialized industrial cameras used to inspect individual processes, decide whether the correct part is in its exact location, take precise measurements, and act as “eyes” for the robots. However, these cameras do not give an overall view of a process, as they are designed to focus on one specific movement or task. In order to get a fuller picture, Nissan UK decided to deploy network cameras and Milestone's VMS. The open nature of Milestone's VMS gave Nissan UK the freedom to view footage from cameras from different manufacturers and capture process faults with live-video monitoring and instant recording and playback. This helped Nissan UK prevent production issues and eliminate causes of temporary stoppage on their production lines. Additionally, the convenience of being able to access images all of the camera images via a PC, as well as the ability to compare two videos side-by-side to examine how different employees work on a process, made management of the facility easier. The overall benefits of the VMS helped to not only improve both the quality and efficiency of Nissan UK's facility, but also gave them a system that could grow with the facility.
TO EFFICIENCY AND BEYOND
Efficieny in any industry is important, but in a competitive, high production industry like the automotive industry, efficiency is paramount to a facility's success. While “lean” practices help manufacturers in all industries reduce waste and boost effectiveness, the additional beyond security benefits of traditional security products, such as network surveillance cameras and VMS, have proven that the security industry is not just about catching intruders and controlling access. Offering additional benefits like production efficiency and workflow management show that applications for security products are endless.