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New in VKS Connect: DataConnect!

By: Sylvie Couture

November 13, 2019

Gather around the VKS water cooler as we proudly announce the newest addition to the VKS Connect line-up: DataConnect! On top of helping manufacturers capitalize on existing data, VKS DataConnect also detects issues that arise during the manufacturing process. With DataConnect, you can rest assured that your standard for high quality is maintained for every assembled product.

How it Started...

It started with just one. One tiny sensor. It seemed harmless enough. And on top of that, it was great to know the temperature of VAT identification number 12-345 by simply querying the database from the comfort of your living room.

Then it happened. They started to multiply.

Soon there were sensors on the machines, sensors on the tools, sensors on the coffee maker (it was a slow Wednesday), all of them pouring information into your databases. Before you knew it, you had enough paper reports to fill an Olympic-sized pool and a team that had become coffeeholics while trying to figure out how to make sense of it all.

So you did what you had to do. You went outside and turned on the Bat VKS-Signal…

And we responded.

The Solution? DataConnect

With the digitization of the manufacturing industry came an abundance of new technology that gave manufacturers access to data that used to have to be recorded by hand. It left companies facing the challenge of making sense of all this information and figuring out a way to correlate it in a profitable way.

As we’re one of the leaders of the Lean Manufacturing movement, this issue struck a chord with us and we developed the IO box and ToolConnect IoT in response. When used with either VKS Pro or VKS Enterprise, both of these products enable users to record and collect data from Smart Tools. The progression of the work instructions can also then be influenced to automatically skip to the next step when specific actions are performed.

Following the massive success of ToolConnect, the VKS development team looked for new ways to use and integrate existing data into the VKS system.

The goal? To create a one-stop data hub. After much research and development, the team came up with DataConnect, a feature that safely imports select data from a third-party database into VKS.


Stored Procedures - The Data Whisperers

Stored procedures, or “sprocs” as we the cool kids like to say, are the magic behind DataConnect. These stored procedures --created by qualified server administrators-- are programmed to search through a database and retrieve specific information. They are then integrated into the VKS system where they are ultimately used to import data into work instructions.

    With DataConnect, you can:
  • Detect faulty items at the start of the production line instead of at the end and save a considerable amount of effort.
  • Confirm the proper functioning of a product at multiple points during the production.
  • Monitor tools and products used during the production process.
  • Help manufacturers increase their accountability in terms of the quality of a product.

As with ToolConnect, the imported data is conveniently added to production reports and can be used to determine the flow of work instructions.

3 Ways to Use DataConnect

This first release of DataConnect focuses on “pass” or “fail” results returned by the stored procedure. The data from each recorded result is stored in the reports along with an XML file containing the result’s metadata. Here are three examples of how this can be applied in the smart manufacturing industry:

  1. Test Bench Collaboration

    Manufacturers who test PCBs using test benches can use the test results to ensure that the board is functioning as required.

    After the board is analyzed by the test bench, the DataConnect query is then launched. If the system detects a “pass”, the operator can continue with the process. If the system detects a “fail”, the VKS Guidebook can be configured to either let the operator adjust the unit and run the test again or stop production on that unit altogether.

    An item can be scanned multiple times during the production to keep the process moving forward.

  2. Tool Calibration Verification

    Manufacturers who maintain their tool calibration records in a database can make it a requirement for operators to have to validate the tools they are using before starting any production work.

    Before the operator starts a job, they may need to scan their tool and launch the DataConnect request. If the test “passes”, they will be able to continue. If the test “fails”, the VKS Guidebook can be configured to alert a supervisor, indicate that the operator must select another tool, or require that the operator file a report on the uncalibrated tool.

    This use of the feature ensures that all jobs will be performed with properly calibrated tools. As all data is included in the report, it also provides you with a record of it.

  3. Status Check

    Sensors and the miracle of IoT can provide a multitude of data that can be used to ensure that everything is running smoothly. For example, if you are using VKS to perform maintenance checks, DataConnect can be used to see if everything is operating in its optimal range.

    Is the VAT temperature within the acceptable range? Are the RPMs hitting their target? Is there any coffee left? There are few limits to the information you can add to your reports.

    Using DataConnect for status checks can be especially interesting for maintaining quality standards. If the returned data is unacceptable according to your company’s standards, then DataConnect can be configured to stop work on a specific Guidebook until the issue is resolved.

Thinking of the Future with DataConnect

We are just at the beginning of what we know will be an exciting and innovative journey. We especially look forward to seeing all the other ways that DataConnect can get implemented.

Will you be apart of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and the future of Industry 4.0? Light up the VKS-signal and book a demo now to find out more about DataConnect and how it can help regulate your data.

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