April 26, 2022

User Story – Easy Performance Tracking at Manual Stations 


User Story: Easy performance tracking at manual stations 


One of our Blackbird customers assembles electronics. Many of their assembly stations are manual, and here it is often hard to get the performance data. Operators are packaging finished goods into carton boxes or assembling parts in trays. Usually, the production result is reported on paper and only available after one batch is finished or at the end of a shift. Data that falls between these times, such as cycle time, downtime, etc., are almost impossible to retrieve on manual paper-based systems. 

The customer has more than 30 manual assembly stations, with each of them staffed by one operator. The operators are well-trained and skilled, yet their experience and knowledge could not be utilized further as no objective data is available to discuss.  

Each order has a different target run speed between 60 to 90 seconds, but it had never been met based on the paper-based report. The operational director was left frustrated because he had no idea why the actual performance never met the target. That’s when the Blackbird solution was found. The customer decided to try the simplest solution for a pilot: Blackbird with a standard digital sensor.   

Factbird Duo with an Omron smart digital sensor was received after just few days and the installation was easy; the scanning the item counts was operational within a few hours. Once it was up and running on a pilot station, the real time data was immediately available on the director’s PC and smartphone. It was eye-opening to see the data in real-time and it was the first time he was able to see what is happened in the station - in real time. The first time they obtained objective data.  

One significant benefit is that this solution provides data that can be analyzed and compared. For example, why the cycle time on the live graph is low. It can also answer the question, “why are the item counts not running smoothly each morning?” These are only a few of the many questions this solution can help answer. 

By installing a sensor and Factbird Duo, the customer can now compare small and big batches, analyze the stop reasons, and follow the production progress without waiting for the end of a shift. The operators can also see the progress in real-time, based on objective data from the sensor.  

The customer is planning to roll out this solution over many stations so that a whole department will be visible and all team members can work together for better results.  

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