Eurotech helps improve process control and error detection in automotive production processes

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Process Control, error detection and correction is a critical part of the automotive manufacturing process. A key aspect car manufacturers use to differentiate themselves from their competition is build quality. Up to date and accurate error detection is therefore of paramount importance.

Some companies rely on traditional Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) based error detection but this is dated, expensive and inflexible. PLCs also have limited data capture capabilities and data traceability. As technology advances and demand for higher quality and quicker production processes increase, companies are now searching for better solutions that offer flexibility, reliability, providing traceability while remaining cost effective. Companies like Pivotware continue to turn to Eurotech Ltd to produce new improved automated solutions. 

Pivotware design and build innovative error detection solutions to satisfy the requirement of car manufacturers wishing to ensure production line build quality remains high, the manufacturing processes are efficient and their return on investment is quick. Pivotware recognises that inflexible and expensive process control systems, with their lack of full traceability continue to hold back organisations. Pivotware approached Eurotech to help provide a solution for their customers wanting to move away from traditional PLCs and implement a more cost effective and flexible method of process control. Pivotwares SmartBox suite of products, provide automotive manufacturers the flexibility they demand allowing them to have visibility, traceability and the process control they need to stay ahead of their competition. SmartBoxes are rugged industrial PCs that support most production line devices providing connection and support for electrical and data devices whether connected by Ethernet, RS232, USB or general I/O. Devices supported include Barcode Scanners, sensors, label printers, tensors and light beacons.

Each Pivotware SmartBox incorporates a Eurotech SBC-GX1 embedded processor board enclosed in an Industrial Compact Enclosure (ICE). The SBC-GX1 board used is a 300MHz processor providing PC performance using a low power embedded fan-less design. The SBC-GX1 includes all standard PC interfaces, and a full range of multimedia features including a Graphics controller capable of driving high resolution modes on CRT and TFT panel displays simultaneously, and a 16-bit Soundblaster/Pro compatible interface.

The system is a fully CE/UL compliant high performance multimedia EBS format compact enclosure running Pivotwares application software.

Pivotware SmartBoxs are positioned throughout the manufacturing process to provide production staff with high visibility error detection. As components are added along the manufacturing process a SmartBox system identifies whether the component has been added correctly or not. If a wrong component is added the system detects a problem and stops the production line. Production information captured is transmitted back to both an operator and the central control room so any problem can be rectified and production resumed. When components are added correctly they are individually bar-coded enabling full traceability. 

SmartBoxs also instruct operators, via a display, exactly what is needed next in the production process according to the process plan. This allows operators to operate a number of different processes without extensive training being required.

Visibility however, goes beyond operational aid. It can provide production management with the ability to view in real time what is happening on the production line. SmartBoxes can be accessed via a desktop PC, wireless pocket PC or any PC with internet access. Detailed information on production progress at any assembly station can be monitored allowing errors to be detected and dealt with quickly before a problem stops the whole line.

Build quality and efficient error detection are key to keeping Pivotware products ahead of the competition. This is why they chose Eurotech Ltd to provide a hardware solution for them. Eurotech products are reliable, rugged systems that meet their requirements but also have the flexibility of customisation if required. Good after sales support was also an important factor that led Pivotware to choose Eurotech Ltd.

Since the initial SmartBox suite of products was rolled out to automotive production lines, Eurotech has worked with Pivotware on other key products in their range. All aimed at error detection purposes but designed for different tiers of the manufacturing process. These products are now used in car manufacturing plants such as BMW, Ford and Landrover, all over the world.

Eurotech design and manufacture a range of innovative Embedded Single Board Computers, Application Ready Platforms and Configurable Systems for customers who operate within the Transportation, Communications, Defence, Security and Industrial engineering industries.

Eurotech is present in Europe, North America, China and Japan. Eurotech develop digital technologies for a better world making every day life safer and more comfortable, today and for tomorrow.

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