The Terminator is famous for saying, “I need your clothes, your boots, and your motorcycle.” We still have a long way to go until robots achieve this level of sophistication, but they are now starting to replicate the skills of experienced craftsmen at a growing rate. Although process improvement through robotic automation continues to be a hurdle, an even larger robotics industry challenge currently rests within the setup and maintenance of robotic equipment.
But if your company is still using paper-based work instructions, then you’re operating at a significant disadvantage. Given the complexity of manufacturing machines, capturing best practices in machine installation and preventative maintenance with VKS digital work instructions can mean billions of dollars in savings.
With the implementation of visual step-by-step instructions, companies can rest assured that all the required manufacturing steps and operations are followed as outlined. In the event of any human discrepancies, the VKS software offers the unique advantage of guaranteeing employee accountability through Efficiency Markers that track productivity.
Having work instructions available in digital format also minimizes expert travel time. Safeguards can be created and steps put in place to troubleshoot any issue that may arise with concrete steps on how to solve them.
Elon Musk once stated, “There will be fewer and fewer jobs that a robot can’t do better.” And while –despite recent news of the beginnings of it—we’re still far from powering our brains with computers, another robotics industry challenge remains ensuring that people who work alongside robots stay safe.
Although industrial automation is on the rise because of the provided boost in productivity, the human hand in these cannot be removed just yet.
This is where the VKS software comes in. As one of the pioneers of visual work instructions, we make it our priority to ensure the safety of anyone who uses our software. Using our versatile Smart Forms, you can easily set up checklists to appear on the screen at any point during the manufacturing process to verify that the station or machine has been properly set-up before use or that all the necessary equipment is being worn at the moment (safety glasses, boots, gloves, etc.)
By applying the VKS Auto-Advance feature, safety is further assured by enabling the software to automatically cycle to the next step in the operation after a pre-determined amount of time. Combined with VKS Connect, it also has the exclusive advantage of advancing on its own when a given torque value is achieved.
Along with machine setup and maintenance also comes the challenge of getting the right product manufactured on time. At the end of the day, robots are by no means perfect. Post-manufacturing inspections are required even for the output produced by the most advanced machines on the market.
More specifically for the robotics industry, supervisors may configure the aforementioned Smart Forms features to display a visual inspection checklist to acknowledge before proceeding to the production of the next item or next step in the procedure. Likewise, the Rule Engine helps confirm that actions are only displayed when specific conditions are met.
To ensure that the right operators view and use the appropriate work instructions, the Certifications feature locks Guidebooks by only allowing operators with specific certificates and clearances to access and perform the necessary repairs or machine changeover.
As an infinite quantity of work instruction guidebooks can be created and duplicated with the VKS software, finding a particular process is as simple as finding the right steps through the help of tags.
Reducing errors and increasing quality throughout the assembly lines then becomes as easy as monitoring KPIs and viewing SPC charts. As a result, you can implement modifications early on in the manufacturing process by tracing the exact root causes of defects.