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July 27, 2020
To stay true to their vision and continue providing best-in-class quality standards, Aurora North America shifted into a lean production method with the help of the VKS Smart Manufacturing approach.
Born from a manufacturing company, we know how complex shop floor challenges can be. For this reason, helping migrate to digital work instructions and accommodate Aurora’s pain points was fast and straightforward. After analyzing their need for a visual user-friendly tool that would be optimized for streamlining their daily inspections and capturing shop floor data, the VKS Pro module was up for the challenge.
Aurora Group specializes in producing HVAC systems for buses and heavy-duty machinery within the agricultural, construction, and forestry industries.
Spanning across five continents, this global manufacturer's passion for innovation and state-of-the-art technologies is reflected in their devotion to improving the efficiency of heavy machinery HVAC systems, while equipping the main cabins with maximum comfort.
If you ever wondered what it might feel like to spend a few hours working in more than 122°F (50°C) on rough terrain, then all you need to do is hop into one of Aurora Group's HVAC-testing climate chambers in Michigan to find out. The North America production and test site takes on projects from the early design stages to assembly, testing, and deployment, while ensuring every unit meets Aurora's best-in-class quality standards.
“Any problem I have - VKS answers it!”
Brian Benson - Manufacturing and Testing Engineer
As a result of the global initiative to reduce the carbon footprint, Aurora identified a clear gap in the market for a cleaner production that would eliminate waste and achieve near-perfect operational excellence.
For starters, switching to using digital and visual work instructions allowed Aurora to determine the immense amount of time and resources that was wasted when their work instructions and inspection booklets used to be printed on paper. The time and effort required to write and print all of these had an immeasurable impact on the performance of the entire facility, which was immediately alleviated upon going digital.
As a result of having one of their biggest test chambers within Aurora Group, the production operators perform numerous inspections during and after assembly to ensure the quality of its equipment. Updating processes while keeping track of checkups using paper checklists had been burdensome for some time.
“By switching to digital work instructions, Aurora was able to eliminate paper waste and streamline the inspection process with fast mass-updates of the shop floor guidebooks.”
Now the facility has a consolidated shop floor with monitors and tablets that display easy-to-access digital guidebooks. Capable of capturing data in real-time, tablets help enhance the internal audits performed daily by making them effortless and centralized.
Using VKS Pro, Aurora Group is now able to capture data throughout the assembly process. This feature allows them to respond to customer requests with speed and efficiency as live data is directly accessible from the shop floor.
Reducing operator errors is now a reality with visual instructions that guide workers, helping them to assemble parts the right way, and more importantly, from the first try.
Forget flipping back and forth through a paper booklet. Aurora’s operators can now tap on a screen to scroll through visual work instructions. On top of saving valuable time, digital work instructions eliminate the guesswork.
With a clear view of their build time and quantity expectations, operators are motivated to excel and drive their own production output.
This made the facility see a 20% increase in the build-time productivity on the shop floor since implementing VKS work instructions.
Aurora is on a continuous path of innovation. For this reason, it is crucial for them to offer regular training to their entire workforce. Utilizing a user-friendly interface that easily guides employees through the digital training checklists greatly facilitates this process.
Uploading pictures and adding job assembly directions together creates excellent training guides for every work process on the shop floor. Both new employees and veterans alike can use them to either familiarize themselves with the updated building processes or just refresh their memories.
By enabling the Certification feature, shop floor managers also have the power to restrict untrained personnel from accessing specific Guidebooks. Along with increasing control on the shop floor, this feature helps to decrease the assembly line’s defect rate.
Both the visual aspects of the digital work instructions and the time-stamping features boost managerial planning and operators' training quality. Using VKS, Aurora cuts down training time and can now ensure its workforce is trained to safely perform its duty on the manufacturing floor.
For Aurora, a critical step to ensuring full compliance with customer requirements is the ability to pull data in relation to when a certain product was built and by whom. Using VKS, they are now able to view all the necessary quality checks.
The North American facility uses scanners to record barcodes and input torque values into the digital instructions. This aids in expediting reporting data on quality to customers while building an internal record on the tools and parts used during each assembly job.
Complete traceability is yet another way that Aurora maintains its production under the company’s guiding principles of trustworthiness and foresight.
Having the ability to access job build data greatly consolidates the facility’s reporting capability. With visual real-time KPIs accessible to all decision-makers anywhere in the world, Aurora can now easily trace efficiency with specific work orders.
Always striving towards excellence in quality, Aurora North America has started a path to revamp its entire production philosophy. By switching to VKS digital work instructions, the Aurora facility taps into Lean Manufacturing principles by standardizing best practices, reducing waste and increasing efficiency. As an added advantage of reducing paper on their shop floor, going digital has also allowed Aurora to reduce their carbon footprint.
All these improvements are possible thanks to the VKS software, helping Aurora navigate towards a clean production model while ensuring best-in-class quality standards.
Read next how VKS helps prepare future engineers and space explorers for McMaster University.
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