Original Date: 06/05/2006
Revision Date: / /
Best Practice : Communication With Factory Automation
Rockwell Collins has evolved its translation of engineering data to production data needed to support automated and manual processes through an integrated process that standardizes data format and production-date development processes across all facilities and product lines. This approach is supported with an enterprisewide production community of practice that supports commonality of equipment and technological capability across all facilities, resulting in greater consistency, flexibility, and quality assurance within procedures and machine code.
Rockwell Collins has evolved its development and production engineering processes in the past decade to take advantage of improvements in software products and process integration. With a vision of model-based manufacturing, the company has taken significant strides in migrating the translation of engineering to production data from a nonintegrated, manual process to an efficient automated/semiautomated approach. This approach is applied to both the generation of machine code driving the automated processes and the production of work instructions (WIs) that govern manual labor. The original state at Rockwell Collins existed as a stove-piped process for generation of production machine code and personnel WIs. A federation of corporate entities existed with no coordination between facilities, no standardization in processes used to generate engineering data or the subsequent production support products, and a manual change-control process.
The first stage of evolution saw the development of common file formats for machine code coupled with an enterprise communication approach regarding commonality of equipment technology and infrastructure. Consistency emerged in processes concerning transfer and control of data from engineering to production, and a common tool was developed to prepare routing and a bill of materials for the SAP-based enterprise resource planning system. A common approach to base work instructions on bill of materials (BOMs) and routing was established, and the WI development process begins using electronic images from computer-aided design processes. Finally, automated generation and printing of WIs within MS Word-based documents was initiated along with software-managed revision control of documentation.
The current state at Rockwell Collins is defined as the Master Data Integrated System (Figure 2-3). Use of third- party software to convert engineering data into machine code is used along with a formal integrated process for releasing and controlling engineering data used for automation. Commonality of technology across facilities is a priority. A monitoring process has been established to ensure infrastructure exists to support this approach that includes the establishment of a procedure to support transfer of machine code data and programs between all major facilities. An in-house-developed software program links engineering design data and product data to created electronic WIs that allow for embedding intelligence in graphics and hyperlinks. This approach uses existing WI notes and instructions for efficiency and consistency. Revision and change control is tied directly to routing and BOM data aligned with SAP. A real-time representation of information is provided to operators, including notification of the last time they worked on the specific part in process, recent changes to the WI, revision and change history for the assembly, and progress toward completion of the WI content. Electronic WIs provide access to the latest configuration of supporting technical documentation.
The benefits realized by Rockwell Collins from this growth and progression include: Engineering data from most design tools accepted by the Master Data Integrated System
Obtaining engineering data has become consistent, with proven process for transferring data and programs between facilities
Disaster recovery requirements are supported by facilitating transfer of workload from one facility to another in the event of a natural disaster (e.g., flood, hurricane, or tornado)
When fully implemented, electronic WIs eliminate 1½ tons of recycled paper per year, creating 1,000 square feet of available floor space
Electronic WIs ensure the latest versions of technical information are always available and used by operators
The existence of standardized guidelines for creating WIs facilitates the migration of production between facilities
Progress for Rockwell Collins in moving toward its corporate vision of a model-based manufacturing environment
Figure 2-3. Master Data Integrated Systems
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