Especially for small medium-sized companies effective ERP-systems are decisive elements for their success to be able to keep on track with the competitive mass production from Asia. The magic word is called Production on demand – the fast adjustment of the production in cases the order situation changes. The success occurs when the EPR-System supports that effectively. To provide this PANMOBIL got together with two other companies for a joint development project. The goals: a strong simplified communication between production facilities and EPR, the better integration of the staff into the production steps and their support through an integrated RFID technology.
EPR and flexible staff assignments
How could small medium-sized companies with a limited workforce create production processes more effectively? That has been the main question brought
to table from the three companies, advanced PANMOBIL systems, SALT Solutions and the project group of resource efficient mechatronic processing machines (RMV) of the Fraunhofer IWU. The idea: a smaller number of employees can be compensated, if they could be involved in multiple production steps at the same time by an intelligent EPR-system. The assignment, that led the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy to promote this cooperation project.
The worker of the future: mobile and multitasking
The concept provides to equip the employees with an individual RFID capturing device, which is connected via Wi-Fi to the central system. That way the employees can be called to the location, where they are currently needed. At the working station the employee captures a RFID-Tag, which carries all the information of the machine and the production section and the RFID device transmits this data to the ERP. Data about the qualification of the employee could be also saved. The ERP can assure those critical working and maintenance processes through clearance or sealing and inform the appropriate employee. Therefore either the displays of the mobile RFID device are used or the already existing terminals in the production. The aspect “human being” is decisive in this context: the proper employee can immediately make the right decisions for the production success.
Low inhibition threshold for the investment in new technology
To provide especially the small medium-sized companies the assignment of the RFID technology for these tasks cost-efficiently, in the project solution bricks are recombined, which have been approved in other applications already. For example the embedded Middleware in the firm data capturing tools of advanced PANMOBIL systems in combination with a communication framework of SALT Solution enables a simple but still flexible connection between ERP and the RFID systems. A combination carrying two advantages: On one hand not only mobile, but also stationary applied RFID devices in the automated material flow can be connected to the ERP. On the other hand this communication platform is justified, if there are modifications in the production processes the necessary adjustments in the company can be quickly provided, without using external services.
Direct and simplified communication with the ERP system
From the technical point of view standardized web services are applied for the flexible integration of ERP systems and RFID devices, which connect with the embedded Middleware in the devices. The communication framework ensures that stationary and mobile used RFID devices can be perfectly used for the individual application. For the stationary application with default written and reading operations the framework contains the proven bricks of SAP Plant Connectivity. For mobile applications with which information should be shown flexibly from the ERP for the employee, the framework provides an APP-Store. From there the production steps for the suitable application can be downloaded to the RFID device. The Apps consist of simple modified LUA scripts, which will be carried out from an interpreter to the mobile devices immediately. With this solution medium-sized companies are able to integrate their employees flexibly in work processes, during changing production processes effectively.