13 business benefits of performing a digital transformation of your visual inspection processes in the Automotive Industry.
It’s Time for a Change
If you’re still recording inspection results on paper before entering it in a spreadsheet, or receiving quality reports when the information is no longer useful, then your visual inspection processes could probably do with a digital transformation. Lets look at the different ways in which our customers benefit by implementing ATS Inspect in the automotive industry.
Where can ATS Inspect Be Used?
The versatility of ATS Inspect means it can generate benefit anywhere within your production line. The simplified example below demonstrates the different ways in which it can be used. The green cells represent locations where ATS Inspect is being used to record defects and repairs or to answer questions about build options and other checks using the digital checklist.
In reality an automotive plant will often have hundreds of individual ATS Inspect stations throughout the plant recording quality data manually, receiving data directly from test equipment and vision systems and tracking the location of each vehicle.
Performing a Manual Inspection
Recording Quality Issues
The operator carries out the the inspection using a touch-screen tablet. They’re presented with a 3D model of the vehicle. When they find a defect, such as a scratch on the roof, they rotate the model, zoom in to the appropriate area and click where they found the issue.
Along with the type of concern they can also record further information that can help with analysis and prevention such as the length of a scratch. All of this data entry takes just a few seconds to enter so that the entire inspection can be completed within the cycle time.
Quality data entered directly into the database is instantly available for reporting and analysis.
If required, photos can be taken of the quality issue using the tablet’s camera. These photos, associated to this particular vehicle, can further aid the repair team or could be used when carrying out in-depth investigations aiming to resolve repeated quality issues.
Toyota Case Study
Electronic Quality Checklists
The checklist included with ATS Inspect can include questions checking that the correct customisable options have been installed. It could also include variable data such as oil levels and tire pressure.
The list of questions and possible answers is adjusted dynamically for each vehicle on the line so that all build options are taken into consideration.
Ensuring the correct build options have been installed reduces the risk of warranty claims.
The operator is lead through complex inspections step-by-step. Each step contains a different set of images and questions relating to a different section of the car.
The operator can’t move onto the next step until all the questions in the current step have been answered. This ensures that everything is checked and nothing is overlooked.
Breaking the inspection into simpler steps reduces the training time required by inspection operators.
Quality alerts can notify the right people right away when a serious issue occurs. Scheduled alerts can also be used to update people with the current quality situation.
This communication can take place through email, message boards and overhead displays. The communication can contain details about the type of quality issue, the units on which it’s been found and any other related information.
Quality alerts allow you to react as soon as issues arise so that you can locate and fix the source of the issue and prevent it from escelating.
Every quality concern that is recorded, every repair that is carried out and every question that is answered is stored with the vehicle as it progresses along the production line.
The reporting and analysis capabilities of ATS Inspect make the traceability available to everyone within the plant. Quality managers and auditors can quickly review every inspection a vehicle has been through helping to identify root causes of quality concerns.
Tracing quality issues to their source and precisely identifying vehicles with the same issue can reduce the impact of product recalls.
Navistar Case Study
Incorporating Data from Test Equipment
Data from automated test equipment, such as vison systems, digital calipers and other tools and sensors, can be directly imported into ATS Inspect. Quality concerns identified by the test equipment are recorded within ATS Inspect alongside the manually entered quality data.
All product quality data can be stored in one location, improving analysis and reducing IT requirements.
When a unit arrives for repair the operator can review the recorded defects using the same method with which the issues were entered. The 3D model of the vehicle gives the exact location of the issues. Once the repair has been carried out the operator enters the repair details into ATS Inspect. This includes the type of repair and how long the repair took.
ATS Inspect manages repair operations so you can ensure that every quality issue is fixed to the required standard.
Material that will help the operator carry out repairs is available directly on the tablet. The material made available to the operator is tied to the vehicle model and the type and location of the defect. Reference material can be in any format the station can display. Websites can also be accessed to display documents and videos.
Reference documents improve operator efficiency and reduce training requirements.
A quality manager can confirm that the repairs have been carried out correctly using a handheld device. When they identify the vehicle they are presented with a list of the repairs. They can then select each repair on the screen and review the work that was carried out.
If the repair is okay it can be confirmed. No vehicle will be able to leave the plant without every defect being repaired.
Ensuring repairs have been carried out correctly reduces risk of warranty claims after a vehicle has left the plant.
MAN Truck & Bus Case Study
To ensure that the repairs aren’t simply being signed off by the person that entered the repairs facial recognition can be used to identify the person with the relevant permission. By incorporating biometric security in this way unauthorised personnel are prevented from bypassing essential protocols.
Biometric security ensures protocols are adhered to, maintaining product quality and avoiding product recalls.
ATS Inspect stations can act as a gating point, deciding what the next destination of the unit should be. If everything is fine, then the unit can progress down the production line as normal. However, if there is a quality issue that requires offline repair then the operator can use ATS Inspect to redirect it to the appropriate location. It can also prevent a vehicle from leaving the plant if it contains a defect.
Ensures secure buyoff with an automatic digital record before vehicle is handed to shipping.
Analysing Quality Data
Manually Generating Reports
The online reports generated by ATS Inspect can be accessed anywhere in the world using a secure connection allowing you to review the quality data even when you’re working off site. ATS Inspect comes with a massive range of pre-built reports, developed with customers, that can be used instantly.
Instead of having an out of date, static, printed report on the wall you will always have the latest information in a report which you can easily drill down into to investigate the underlying issues.
The faster that critical issues and patterns can be identified the faster the processes during which they occurred can be addressed and improved.
Automatic Report Generation
With ATS Inspect nobody is tasked with collating the quality data from the previous day, entering it into a spreadsheet and printing off four or five graphs to be pinned up on the wall each morning.
Instead, ATS Inspect can automatically generate reports and email them to all the relevant people. They don’t even necessarily have to receive the same information as the parameters of each report can be tailored to the requirements of each person. For example, shift managers only have to see data relevent to their shift.
Time is saved by avoiding having to re-enter manually recorded quality data into a database and then adjust and generated reports for each person.
Viewing reports on the production line is just as easy. Reports can be viewed directly within ATS Inspect. This means operators can investigate quality issues if they believe a pattern is forming or if they want to see which defects they should look out for.