Managing faults, tasks and transports
Does this sound familiar?
- The palletiser is at a standstill because the forklift driver is not bringing empty pallets.
- The winder is at a standstill because nobody is aware that the stretch film has run out.
- A machine is at a standstill because nobody has noticed that it has a error.
- The operator must constantly walk through the machine park to check if there are faults or other tasks to be performed.
- The worker often has to call the forklift driver several times until he reaches him to bring or pick up required goods.
- The forklift driver constantly has to drive around to see if he has to transport goods from one workstation to another workstation.
- Residual materials remain in production for far too long because the forklift driver does not realise that he has to dispose of them.
You're no doubt familiar with such situations – and probably many more.
We too have noticed these problems with a great many of our customers. This is why we develop extremely efficient and flexible solutions to solve these problems.
What all the above problems have in common is that they are tasks that have to be handled by a human being.
It's all about
- Capturing information automatically from a machine or at the push of a button by a human being
- Creating tasks from the information
- Assigning the tasks to the right workers
- Accepting, executing and reporting the completion of the tasks on the part of the workers
- Gaining an overview
- Improving the processes through a reporting system
To enable you to perform these tasks automatically and efficiently, we are developing the task management system “TAMAS”.
TAMAS is an Industry 4.0 solution. TAMAS uses the most modern options of app and web technologies and connects them with the classic world of automation.
TAMAS is a software tool that runs on a PC and as an app on employees' smartphones. In this way, TAMAS automates and optimises the cooperation between machines and humans and between humans and humans alike.
The emphasis is on machine and man, since the machine manages the man and not vice versa.
For this purpose, TAMAS integrates the staff into the processes of a production company in an extremely intelligent and yet simple way, regardless of whether you produce manually, semi-automatically or fully automatically. In any case, you and your employees will benefit from the improved teamwork that TAMAS automatically creates.
The working principle
A production plant contains a great many locations where tasks arise that a worker has to attend to. The more these locations are processed by TAMAS, the more efficient your work processes in production and logistics will become.
Capturing information to create a task
To give you a better idea of how to create a task, I'll give you a few examples:
- A packaging machine goes into fault mode. It starts a troubleshooting task and automatically reports the location and fault text to the responsible worker.
- The empty pallets of a palletiser are running out. The PLC starts a replenishment task for Euro pallets with quantity information and automatically reports this task to the responsible forklift driver.
- A container for residual materials is full. The worker presses a permanently mounted button near the container. The button starts a task for disposal of the full container and automatically reports this to the responsible forklift driver, specifying the source location.
- A processing cell has produced enough parts for one load carrier. The worker presses a button on an operator panel. The PLC or MES starts a transport task to transport the load carrier with semi-finished goods to the next workstation and automatically reports this to the correct forklift driver with the source, destination and material information.
- A storage tank has been completely emptied, and the PLC starts a task to transfer the semi-finished goods to the next tank and automatically reports this to the correct worker.
- SAP EWM or an ERP of another manufacturer starts a transfer order to transport a load carrier from the source to the destination. This creates a transport order, which is automatically assigned to the correct forklift driver.
- Employees can also start any tasks directly using the TAMAS app. The task is automatically reported to the correct worker.
In addition, there are many other locations where the use of TAMAS significantly improves processes, e.g. disposing of production machines and lines, re-storage of surplus raw materials, replenishment of various materials for production, warnings and fault messages when the paper supply for EAN label printers or stretch film for packers is running out, in-house transport tasks, e.g. of retained samples to the laboratory and much more.
Assigning a task to a team
If a task has been created, it is output to all smartphones of all registered employees who belong to the configured team for processing the task.
Depending on the location, it may make sense to create one or more teams for forklift drivers, e.g. one or more teams for forklift drivers. This enables you to immediately establish a spatial assignment of the vehicles to machines and systems.
A team can contain one or more employees. If there are several employees in the team, a new task is displayed simultaneously on each of the smartphones. If an employee accepts the task, it is hidden on the smartphones of the other team members.
Status message to the creator of the task
When an employee has accepted a task, this is reported by means of a status feedback to the ordering party, for example a PLC. A PLC could then activate an indicator lamp to show “Euro pallets are on their way”, for example. An MES could output a display on the screen saying “Load carrier being picked up”.
Calling a colleague, mechatronics technician or supervisor for help
When the employee has accepted a task and needs help, say, to correct a fault, he can call for help on his smartphone at the touch of a button. He has the choice of calling a colleague, a mechatronics technician or his configured supervisor, e.g. the team leader, for help. The task in question is also displayed for information on the smartphones of the employees called for help.
Processing several tasks simultaneously
If the worker is currently processing a task and another task with a higher priority is received, the worker is notified of this. He can ignore, reject or accept this new task.
If the worker accepts the task, then he has two or possibly more tasks open simultaneously.
If he is overloaded, he can return one or more of the tasks already accepted. These are then automatically submitted to all team members for processing.
Time-controlled call groups
TAMAS supports groups for temporary on-call duty.
For example, if a sewage treatment plant goes into fault mode, the PLC starts a task for troubleshooting.
The task for troubleshooting is automatically reported to the maintenance personnel present in the plant during the day shift. Outside working hours, the task is automatically reported to the group or the on-call duty call chain.
Call groups and call chains
“Call group” means that the task is offered simultaneously to all team members.
In contrast, “call chain” means that the task is offered to the team members in sequence. You can configure the order of the team members and the time for advancing to the next employee if the last employee did not accept the task.
You also have the option of configuring an escalation level.
Once a task has been completed, the employee confirms this by tapping on the corresponding button in the TAMAS app. The display of the task is hidden on the smartphone, including the smartphones of the helpers who were called.
The ordering party of the task, for example a PLC, MES or SAP is informed of the completion via the status channel.
Reporting system for the continuous improvement process (CIP)
Each task is stored with its data for an adjustable duration. The storage can be performed anonymously.
The executed tasks are displayed in tabular form. The view can be filtered and sorted according to various criteria.
The reporting system allows a complete export of the data to MS Excel.
Required technical infrastructure
To operate the TAMAS system, you need
- A Windows PC with Windows 10 or Windows Server 2016 for the TAMAS software
- Smartphones for the TAMAS app for workers and forklift drivers
- WLAN, LTE or 5G illumination for the communication of the smartphones with the Windows PC
- The appropriate interface software (OPC server) for the connections from TAMAS to the PLCs of the machines
TAMAS only needs to be installed and configured on the Windows PC and the smartphones. No programming work is required for purely manual production. When PLCs are connected, the information for the tasks to be started must be available in the PLCs. The information is conveniently provided via OPC variables (OPC nodes).
The benefits for you
- TAMAS is developed to enable you to configure any tasks. This means that with TAMAS you can have absolutely any task in your production plant automatically reported to the right workers. Even if you only produce manually. This makes TAMAS extremely efficient to use at any location of a production plant.
- Cooperation between man and machine is significantly smoother this way. The employee is informed in real time about faults and tasks to be performed. Delay times are reduced, and thus downtimes.
- Human to human cooperation is also significantly optimised. Time losses and tensions caused by unnecessary phone calls are eliminated. Downtimes are also reduced to a minimum.
- The work of forklift drivers is also significantly improved. Forklift drivers receive their tasks in real time. Depending on how you configure your TAMAS system, the forklift driver is offered either only one task or a list of tasks. When working with the list, forklift drivers can choose which task they want to carry out next. The list is always displayed in descending order of priority and remaining reaction time.
- A task for a forklift driver need not always be a transport order. In many plants, for example, forklift drivers are also responsible for troubleshooting pallet stretch wrappers and EAN printers. TAMAS thus shows the forklift driver tasks for transports as well as for troubleshooting in the same app. It's up to you which tasks you configure for the team of the forklift driver.
- The reporting system brings transparency to your operation. You can see which faults and tasks occur how often and how quickly they can be processed. The quality of the cooperation between machines and humans as well as between humans and humans becomes measurable, thus supporting the continuous improvement process. TAMAS reveals improvement potentials that could not be identified before.
- To ensure that TAMAS is used economically and efficiently, especially in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), we have developed TAMAS so that it can be installed very easily and configured very easily via website.
- You can combine TAMAS with our LOMAS WMS module. All material movements commissioned by TAMAS are then automatically transferred from the source locations to the target locations. All your warehouses and production-related storage locations are thus automatically equipped with inventory management and tracking & tracing.
There are so many more advantages that we cannot list them all here. For example, simple integration of automatic guided vehicle systems (AGV/AMR), automatic order triggering when a spare parts warehouse becomes empty, simple implementation of Kanban racks in production, etc.
Scope of services
- Support 24/7