Industry 4.0 Case Study | Real-time positioning drives process automation and process optimization

Client Background

XX Ink Co., Ltd. is a large modern manufacturing enterprise integrating Industry 4.0, chemical and storage scenarios, focusing on the development, production and sales of high-quality printing inks and related products. As a high-tech enterprise with the mission of "guarding the truth with colour and quality", XX Ink recognizes that the transformation of intelligent manufacturing is an inevitable trend for factory enterprises and the competition of manufacturing technology will be a competition of manufacturing technology in the future, against the background of the smart manufacturing boom sweeping across China.

To meet the different needs of customers, the company has set up several automated production lines and introduced a combination of MES system and UWB positioning system to provide real-time positioning of gravure workshop and offset workshop, etc. It provides data sources for MES production scheduling, capacity analysis and quality review, and further improves management efficiency and product quality through production record reports and production record retrieval.

challenges and needs

1. Provide data source for intelligent MES

As an important practice area of intelligent manufacturing, Smart Factory has attracted widespread attention from manufacturing enterprises and high attention from governments at all levels. XX Ink Co., Ltd. has introduced an intelligent MES system, but still lacks corresponding data and analysis. To improve production efficiency, UWB positioning technology needs to be introduced to provide data support for MES production scheduling, capacity analysis and quality review.

2. Risk of error in the flow of manpower

In the ink production process, personnel are relied upon to manually push the ink drums to the designated process machines and control the automated machines to add, pour, stir and fill the ink. This manual flow of ink drums between processes often leads to errors in the production process, resulting in product quality problems.

3. Wide positioning area and large number of ink drums

In the ink factory production process, the factory area is large and the number of ink drums used is large. The ink drums in each area need to be precisely located and managed, with real-time feedback on the process in which the ink drums are located, the time they enter and leave the process, and the time of flow between processes.

4. Long label standby

In order to reduce the workload of label maintenance, the label needs to support ultra-long standby, when the ink barrel is not in motion, the label is in the ultra-low positioning frequency, when the ink barrel moves, the normal positioning frequency is used to effectively reduce the power consumption of the positioning label work standby, thus extending the use of the label time, reducing the workload and costs of maintenance.

5. Strong signal interference, solvent is destructive

Ink drums for metal texture, the workshop site metal equipment more, strong signal interference, the need to locate the system and equipment has a strong anti-interference. At the same time, the ink drums are cleaned with solvents such as diesel, and the labels are easily damaged.

Woxu solutions

After several rounds of design and discussion with the customer, Woxu decided to use UWB high-precision positioning technology to meet the current situation and production management needs of the ink factory. By deploying UWB positioning anchors in the production workshop, the ink drums are bound to the object tags and the ink drums are accurately positioned in real time. At the same time, the positioning system provides real-time positioning of regional pulling cylinders in gravure workshop and offset workshop to reduce or even avoid the problem of irregularities in workers' operation during the production process. Real-time positioning, production record reporting and production record retrieval through the cylinder pulling positioning system provide direct data and information for MES production scheduling, capacity analysis and quality review. It realises the supervision and process traceability of ink drums and workshops, forming a complete information management to achieve transparent and intelligent production process management. tags are energy efficient based on motion awareness.

To reduce the workload of tag maintenance, the tags are powered by disposable lithium batteries, which only need to be replaced once every few years, avoiding the work of recharging and reducing the workload of user maintenance.

In the tag, motion sensing is added to reduce the tag's positioning frequency when the tag is stationary and adjust the tag's operating frequency to normal when the tag is in motion. This enhances the tag's working standby market.

*Industrial Grade Protected anchor *UT-230 High Grade Protected Tag
Custom tag housing for easy tracking and cleaning

In order to cope with the high number of metal devices in the workshop and the high signal interference caused by metallic ink drums, Woxu Wireless has developed a customised label mounting enclosure that is aesthetically pleasing, easy to install and adapted to the tag's RF performance. In addition, the customised label housing can also be used for the frequent cleaning of ink drums with solvents such as diesel.

*Tag construction and mounting diagram

Technical Architecture

The UWB high-precision positioning system consists mainly of hardware (anchor, tag), positioning engine software (C/S architecture), and the WPAS platform. By accurately measuring the propagation time of wireless pulses in space, the absolute distance between the tag and the anchor can be measured with an average accuracy of 30cm to achieve accurate positioning of oil drums. With the help of an open API interface, information such as oil drum location data, ink drum process abnormality alarms and process time statistics are integrated in a comprehensive manner. Through the return of the position information of the pulling cylinder in the workshop, the binding of the pulling cylinder and the work order information to obtain the production progress status and generate electronic records, the production record report function provides information reference for the MES system production scheduling.

Core functions
01 Precise real-time positioning

The Woxu Wireless positioning management system is used to obtain the position of the ink drum in real time. On the WAPS platform map, the product name and product batch can be displayed visually, and the ink drum number is displayed for drums that are not bound to a record sheet number. The real-time location search box also supports fuzzy queries, including task number, record order number, product name, product code, product batch, etc., which significantly improves the management efficiency and management level of the workshop.

02 Ink drum track query

Through the WPAS management platform, you can input the ink drum number, time and other information in the search box to query the ink drum track in real time. This enables the production process to be controlled and the data to be presented visually, thus significantly improving the management level of the workshop.

03 Time sheet report

Through the return of the position information of the pulling cylinder in the workshop, the binding of the pulling cylinder and the work order information to obtain the production progress status, generating electronic records, providing information reference for the production scheduling of the MES system, and the work hour information provides analysis data for the optimization of production efficiency.

04 Work order abnormality alerting

The UWB positioning system can be connected to the MES system by means of HTML to read the production planning of work orders from the MES system and dynamically adjust the specified route of the ink drum in real time. Non-MES specified work order enters the work station (certain time accumulated points), an alarm message is issued. Through the dynamically bound electronic fence, effective monitoring of the ink drum production and processing route is achieved, and alarm alerts are issued for abnormal processes, and statistics on the process and production progress of each work station are provided, so that capacity can be analysed and optimised.

05 Data visualisation presentation

The data display platform shows real-time data from multiple sources, such as thumbnail real-time positioning maps, real-time statistics on equipment online, alarm statistics, statistics on total workshop production and other big data analysis. The production progress and process routes of each workshop are presented on the big data visualisation screen, providing convenience for production scheduling and management, realising data and refinement management, and truly realising that data can find people.

Customer Summary

Today, XX Ink Limited has a number of fully automated production lines and an advanced information intelligent manufacturing factory. The factory has achieved fully automated production and data tracking management, effectively improving product quality and production efficiency. UWB positioning technology is used and combined with the MES system to provide a basis for production planning adjustments, thus improving production efficiency.

By managing the positioning information of each ink drum, the process of ink drums in each production step is efficiently, accurately and intelligently counted, significantly reducing the loss of ink production due to errors in the production process and increasing the yield rate by 10%. Through the large data screen, the status and data in the production process can be monitored in real time to achieve full control and optimisation of the production process, ensuring the quality and stability of the products, as well as strengthening the collaboration and communication with customers, helping them to better adapt to the market economy environment in the context of Industry 4.0.