Improved manufacturing with mobile workstations
13 January 2015
In the past, mobility has been a critical issue for manufacturers as typically operators had to work from fixed workstations, resulting in them walking back and forth to complete operational tasks such as scanning and printing barcode labels. This leads to a considerable amount of time being wasted per employee and can often lead to errors due to workflow interruption, costing manufacturers time and money.
Past research has shown that manufacturers who have implemented mobile solutions have increased real-time collaboration between employees and have cut downtime by 27%. This is evident with the introduction of VisionID’s Mobile Workstations; manufacturers such as Janssen Biologics, EMC, Amgen and Depuy are seeing noticeable productivity efficiency on the factory floor.
VisionID recognised that manufactures had different needs and regulations to meet depending on their industry segment, so they designed vertical-focused mobile workstations for a number of verticals which resulted in the release of the:
- General Manufacturing Mobile Workstation – Designed specifically to meet the needs of a wide variety of manufacturing processes as it can operate full-screen applications with ERP, MES, SAP or WMS applications with printing and data capture through scanning or RFID while on the move;
- Medical Device Manufacturing Mobile Workstation – A clean room approved mobile workstation, the solution uses wireless connectivity around the factory floor for real time communication on a choice of thin client, touch computer, laptop or full desktop of any size;
- Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Mobile Workstation – The mobile workstation for the pharmaceutical industry can operate a single- or twin-screen applications with EBR, MES, SOP, SAP and allowing printing and data capture through scanning or RFID while on the move. As the pharmaceutical industry is highly regulated, VisionID has designed the mobile workstation with fewer groves and crevices for easy clean down surfaces with reduced possibility of cross contamination;
- Warehouse and Distribution Mobile Workstation – Specially designed to be durable and portable around a warehouse facility, this mobile workstation supports dual-screen applications, wireless connectivity to ERP and SAP applications for real-time updates and can accommodate a host of accessories such as scanners, label printers and picking baskets.
The mobile workstation in practice
How you can use the mobile workstation
- Input data at the point of task;
- Scan along the manufacturing line without any restrictions;
- Print barcode labels anywhere in the facility;
- Run a full-screen computer, thin client or touch computer for up to eight hours depending on usage;
- Connect to back-end systems wirelessly;
- Run multiple applications on a single- or dual-screen computer;
- Perform operational training away from the live manufacturing environment.
What are the benefits of using the cart?
- Easily deployed and integrated into existing infrastructure;
- Accuracy of information through real-time updates;
- Time saved as workers no longer need to travel to and from fixed stations;
- Reduces the chance of mislabelling items as printing and applying is done at point of task;
- Wireless and easy connection to back end systems such as manufacturing executions systems (MES) and electronic batch recording (EBR) anywhere within the facility;
- Universal access to information collected on the factory floor;
- Increased productivity through reduction of human error and task accuracy;
- Easily wiped surfaces reduce the chance of cross-contamination;
- Gives users additional workspace and storage;
- Upgrade accessories and equipment on the cart to match growing business needs.
- Reduced downtime through interchangeable batteries;
- Removes the need for costly cable drops for power and Ethernet to fixed workstations.
Powered by the latest innovation in lithium battery technology, the mobile workstation has enough power for an eight-hour shift and can be fully recharged within a two-hour period. For uptime in mission-critical environments, the mobile workstation has been developed to include hot swappable batteries meaning the solution now can be used for 24/7 operations, while extra batteries are on charge. Each aspect of the mobile workstation has been designed with a focus on the end user and this feature is a prime example of the mobile workstation evolution in turnkey design.
According to Cathal Murtagh, sales and marketing director of VisionID, “People are looking for big-screen data capture and data entry on a mobile workstations for on-the-job applications of inputting information into an enterprise resource planning system such as SAP or an MES. The screen size of a mobile computer is unsuitable for this, due to restricted navigation.”
VisionID has developed an online configuration tool to assist users to build their own initial mobile, tablet and laptop workstation solution, which is later refined in a follow-up consulting meeting. When users configure their initial design, they can download a PDF with their workstation images and specifications. Enabling users to show the benefits of the solution and how it can be integrated into their existing infrastructure to their colleagues and associates.
Proven business case
Initially introduced at Jansen Biologics to provide full-screen mobile computing for MES solution, the Mobile Workstation has successfully gone on to be deployed within a number of leading manufacturers such as EMC, Amgen, DePuy and Pfizer. Manufacturers are recognising and also seeing the return on investment and efficiencies of mobility within their facilities and the benefits the mobile workstation can offer their operations.
Janssen Biologics, the first customer who implemented the mobile workstation, had a requirement for operations to capture data via barcode scanning and input directly into their MES. Janssen Biologics stated, “Our MES system is the backbone of our manufacturing process here in Janssen Biologics. A lot of our processes require monitoring and user input of information via barcode scanning of material and equipment information. The mobile workstation gives us the ability to move our EBRs with our process and also to scan barcode information directly into our MES software.”
EMC was the next client for the mobile workstation solution to facilitate data entry and barcode scanning into their ERP system, and allowing them to print labels on the move. VisionID supplied EMC with the mobile workstations which completely met their business requirements. EMC stated, “The mobile workstation solution provides us with this functionality, and we find them excellent and totally met our business requirements.”
DePuy, part of the J&J group, is implementing a global MES cloud solution across 74 sites worldwide over the next three years, also known as the visual factory. Over the lifetime of this project, over 1800 mobile workstations need to be delivered and the first mobile workstations have been delivered to Fuji Japan and Mexico. As a result of the need for global shipping of the workstations, VisionID has developed a flat-pack solution to ship five workstations at a time. Customers can now avail of the online support portal for diagnostics, fault finding and spare parts ordering – shipping the mobile workstation is now a viable option for international companies.
VisionID has multiple locations across Ireland, with headquarters in Clonmel, Co Tipperary. Its technology solution offerings and professional services enable clients to capture and process information in real time through software applications, radio frequency identification, wireless networks and mobile computing. The mobile workstation offers a wireless connected solution which is suitable for a range of industries such as manufacturing, retail, data centres, security, event management and supply chain.http://www.engineersjournal.ie/2015/01/13/improved-manufacturing-portable-workstations/http://www.engineersjournal.ie/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/MD6-Ind.-Hi-res.jpghttp://www.engineersjournal.ie/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/MD6-Ind.-Hi-res-300x300.jpgNewsmanufacturing,Tipperary