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Operating in more than 90 countries and with 90,000 employees worldwide, this global leader and provider of reliable energy products supports its customers on their way to a sustainable future.
This company was looking to optimize operations along their entire energy chain. Our client’s production processes include a high-value powder used in 3D printers for additive manufacturing. Using this powder for the production of various parts involves several intensive processing methods and steps. Containers and hoppers holding this powder pass through multiple stations and undergo numerous quality tests. This requires real-time visibility and time-sensitive status updates, recording, and booking of the various containers throughout the entire production process.
Monitoring all this with outdated paper-based methods was very time consuming and error prone for employees. Additionally, the production process extends over several zones and buildings, and the individual stations could only be monitored by manual recording. Detection of important events like if a container is ready for pickup or if a process step deviates from production specifications may only be likely when delays or issues become especially glaring. Production zones are also subject to certain safety regulations, so entry or further processing may only be carried out by authorized personnel.
The company's goal was to digitize the individual production steps and create the most efficient utilization of resources while maintaining high quality and safety standards. To deliver on these goals, the company turned to Inpixon’s INTRANAV smart factory solution, implementing a RTLS solution that delivered real-time location visibility for powder containers, automated workflows interacting with electronic displays, and analytics.
Real-time alerts in case of process deviations
Enable real-time location and status updates with platform-based notifications as soon as predefined processes deviate from target values.
Workflow optimization through process and material flow analyses
Leverage analytics into the location and movements of tagged assets to enhance workflows through optimization of parameters such as dwell times, idle times, throughput times, and trails as structured data exports via CSV.
Location and batch tracking of powder containers
Visualize ongoing production processes with centimeter-level precision through UWB real-time location tracking and digital mapping of powder containers for additive manufacturing.
Initiation of follow-up processes through geofence-based workflows
Leverage geofence-based notifications with event triggers for instances such as process blockers, process releases or notifications for ready-to-go internal transports.
Paperless factory: real-time status updates through E-Ink displays
Implement a paperless factory with real-time status updates via E-Ink displays that show important production details such as status, material number, batch number, batch barcode, quantity, SAP material number, number of reuses, powder container, and container type.
Quality locking and authorization
Leverage location-based information to lock or unlock processes through integration with the SAP MES interface.
Data transfer and interaction from cloud to local edge
Interaction between RTLS TAG and the E-Ink display
Interface to the Mendix App and SAP
The key to monitoring real-time material flow and production status as the powder moved throughout the client’s manufacturing processes, reducing manual, error-prone processes and enabling 100% paperless production was to use Inpixon’s INTRANAV IoT platform, RTLS, and dynamic E-Ink displays.
Powder handler creates new batches in MES
Within an interval of 30 seconds, the E-ink display is updated with the new batch information (material number, batch number, batch barcode, quantity, batch status, container ID).
Alternative via manual update: The powder plater hits the integration function button on the E-Ink display and thereby triggers the update of the displayed content.
➜ Process control: If the container with incorrect status (e.g., Status Not Authorized, Quantity Does Not Correspond to Pre-Set KG, etc.) remains in the transport zone for two minutes, INTRANAV.IO initiates an alert e-mail notification, and the LED flashes red until the container is moved from the defined zones.
➜ Process reliability: If the hopper remains in the wrong zone for two minutes, INTRANAV.IO triggers an alert e-mail and a flashing of the E-LED.
Manual operation: The operator initiates the update of the E-Ink display by pushing the function key to update the E-Ink.
When the print job is finished, the operator posts the corresponding powder quantity by scanning in the MES or manually selects the E-Ink barcode via the MES powder consumption page.
➜ Process control: When the production hopper is moved in the recycling zone, the RTLS initiates blinking of the E-Ink display for alerts. Reverse for recycling hopper.
➜ Process control: INTRANAV.IO initiates an e-mail notification if the hopper remains in the “Transfer Zone” for two minutes.
E-Ink displays can drastically improve logistics and manufacturing processes through access to dynamic operational intelligence. In combination with our INTRANAV.IO platform, customers can send location-based information and instructions to the E-Ink display to automate and optimize processes on the shop floor or in the warehouse. Users can create workflows, rules and generate content depending on real-time information for how production processes are unfolding. (E-Ink tags are a third-party product that works seamlessly with the INTRANAV solution).
Our software suite offers a broad portfolio of pre-built E-Ink applications: