It is interesting to see that the engineer came to you with the question about the robots. The engineer seemed to only pull some data from a server and did no real root cause analysis. Data is not always the only answer.
The coordination was in the build order documents. Each van was listed in order, and from Ladder I, through all of the Body Shop, Paint Shop, and Final Assembly, the build order document was the 'bible'. The problems happened when the 'bible' was not followed exactly. The spacing between frames was about 90 seconds. It took about 150 seconds for a crew to build a frame in Ladder I, so there were 2 build crews. If those 2 crews got out of sequence, either by skipping a frame or building a duplicate, problems happened. It was easy to spot a long frame / short floor or short frame / long floor mismatch, but others were not so easy.
Agreed. It also sounds like there could be more automation in the coordination of the "Ladders". Another alternative is to tag each assembly so that the stations can get the data from a central repository.
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For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.