Thanks to central databases and open interfaces, many of these concepts would be possible today, but they are not easy to realise in practice. Often, different production areas, software and systems from a variety of manufacturers must be combined into one digital concept. With the Shop-Floor Assistant app, HEGLA New Technology has closed these gaps, providing operating personnel with key information and helping to reduce process times.
“To a great extent, productivity depends on machine performance and the way they are embedded in the production chain,” said Dr Markus Schoisswohl, Managing Director of HEGLA New Technology. “Beyond that, sideline activities often have a significant impact on the overall process – and such activities can often be simplified and accelerated by means of digital tools.” Searching for racks, transporting them, fetching tools, gathering documents and organising maintenance and service work are all typical tasks that can slow down production. “We asked ourselves how we can support glass processors with such tasks using simple digital means – irrespective of the manufacturer,” said Dr Schoisswohl. The answer: Shop-Floor Assistant in smartphone and tablet versions.
Support for maintenance and service
The “Maintenance” section of Shop-Floor Assistant offers comprehensive options for simplifying and centralising maintenance and service tasks. Whether it’s a glass machine, stacker, roll-up gate, or indoor crane, all documents and maintenance jobs can be filed in the app, which reduces handling time and means the information is available anywhere via smartphone, tablet, or an AR headset.
For example, if a machine has a QR code, one scan provides immediate access to its documentation. “Earlier, staff would have to leave the floor to search for the required documents, but now the app provides not only a time-saving alternative, but a user-friendly one, too,” said Dr Schoisswohl. If a malfunction occurs, the machine operator, foreman, or in-house technician can take note of this in the integrated ticket system and even add a photo. The app informs the service staff immediately, providing an initial impression of the measures to be taken.
In this way, the head of production or service always has an overview of the work to be carried out, can prioritise, delegate, and even have its completion process documented.
Support in production
Missing production documents, glass set down in the wrong location, and the search for a rack are among the most frequent difficulties and delays that plague a smoothly dovetailed production chain.
HEGLA New Technology developed the “PanePro” section of Shop-Floor Assistant especially for such everyday tasks. If a pane is laser-marked or has labels, one scan via smartphone is enough to pinpoint it at any position in the production chain, query its progress, or request a replacement in the event of damage. It is also possible to identify a rack and its load via scan, or configure a repair ticket if necessary. When the integrated rack tracking function is used, the rack only needs to be selected from the display and its current location information will be output.
Digital support for employees
“Our aim is to design simple, practical mobile digitalisation for operators,” said HEGLA Managing Director Bernhard Hötger. All the more reason to design an app that can intuitively provide information without requiring access to a machine terminal. “The competitive pressure is increasing, and it is becoming ever more important to support people with digitalisation, ensuring that their work and expertise can make an optimal contribution to value creation,” added Mr Hötger. In his opinion, reducing the time it takes to carry out sideline activities is an important step toward increasing productivity.
Shop-Floor Assistant has a modular structure and can be implemented in stages, whether it’s to call up machine data or for rack and glass logistics, on-site pane identification or specific sets of tasks that need to be digitised.