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    numerous large lcd screens are attached to a brand-new light partition wall. they display real-time data of plant machinery currently in operation in great detail. screens of all sizes in this “cloud war room” provide a firm grasp of machinery parameter settings, temperatures, pressure conditions, operational monitoring for copper wires as thin as hair, operation reports in different formats, and real-time connectivity to work stations
    every floor of taya electric wire & cable plant buildings features a “cloud war room”. traditional operator-machine configuration concepts have been revolutionized and production capacities and efficiency of assembly lines have been further enhanced through remote monitoring. this “cloud war room” system marks the first venture of the company into the field of smart manufacturing and represents a key driving force for industrial transformation.
    a 60-year-old enterprise must rely on smart manufacturing as it ventures into the future
    taya is a traditional enterprise with a 60-year history” states mr. chiu, jung-kun, deputy general manager of the magnet wire business group of taya electric wire & cable, who appears as a high-spirited teenager despite his grey hair. he dedicated his golden years to the taya family and has been with the company for 33 years. he has faced many bottlenecks and challenges and achieved numerous breakthroughs together with the company. in a bold move, he replaced the whole machinery of the magnet wire business group plant areas three years ago
    machinery updates and enhanced production capacities and yield rates do not signal that managers can sit back and relax. mr. chiu once spent 3-4 days tracing a non-conforming product from the production units and qa units to technical units to retrieve the reports for the whole process. “however, these reports only presented operating conditions and did not allow further analysis of causes or identification of errors during the manual creation of reports by relevant personnel.” mr. chiu therefore constantly contemplated how to develop a system that allows automatic collection of machinery data and further analysis of accumulated data to enhance machinery performance and yield rates as a long-term plan.
    following the increasing maturity of information and communication technologies, mr. chiu had a flash of inspiration and suddenly realized that the realization of his project was now possible. two years ago, he visited numerous companies that were engaged in the field of smart manufacturing and attended relevant courses together with his colleagues. he gradually developed a complete blueprint in his mind for the smart transformation of taya based on relevant details of smart manufacturing. he points out that “taya is divided into four business groups and has set up plants in china and vietnam. our magnet wire business group spearheads the transition to smart manufacturing. upon completion of planning and installation operations, the concept will be replicated in other business groups.”
    industry-grade wifi mesh allows transmission of production data to cloud
    the scope and framework involved in the initiation of smart manufacturing is extremely extensive. mr. chiu did not give in to the arduous challenges he faced and gave himself only five years to come up with a viable solution.
    he actively searched for suitable cooperation partners with an unwavering determination. “only the industrial technology research institute (itri) possesses sufficient manpower and cross-disciplinary technologies required for the incorporation of the data for so many machines into the system and extension of the system to the whole group.”
    taya therefore joined hands with itri in the adoption of a “cloud war room” system. mr. mao-liang zhou, project manager of the cloud computing business development dept. of itri information and communications research laboratories, explains that the system is not only capable of retrieving data of numerous machines regardless of their manufacturing year and brand but is also able to transmit relevant data to the war room and automatically compile it into reports through the industrial-grade wifi mesh developed by itri. this platform is highly expandable and allows the addition of automatic measurement, monitoring system, and visualization system services in accordance with the needs of the company.
    traditional operator-machine configuration concepts are revolutionized through integration and visualization of manufacturing data
    ”in a nutshell, employees can gain a full understanding of all machines in the plant at a glance from the war room”, says mr. chiu. the most remarkable feature of this system is that it revolutionizes traditional operator-machine configuration concepts viewed as an unalterable law developed over many decades. mr. chiu gives the following example: “air-conditioning cannot be installed in plant buildings to prevent negative impacts on the operating temperature of magnetic wire machinery. on-site temperatures therefore reach 40 degrees in summer, which creates unbearable conditions that plant personnel are helplessly exposed to. now we can stay in the war rooms on every floor to monitor machinery conditions and report detected problems to mobile teams which conduct on-site inspections to solve reported problems.”
    the original intent of smart process upgrades is to show consideration for employees even if relevant processes are highly complex.
    mr. chiu points out that “our finest copper wire products have a thickness of 0.02mm which is thinner than a human hair. the development of a “visual identification and wire breakage detection system” required to achieve the dual goal of rapid and precise inspections takes six months.” light interference is always present despite the fact that a factory is an enclosed space. light rays enter the building at different angles depending on the time of the day. in addition, the sun path is different in winter and summer. this system must therefore be capable of measurement and detection at every time of the day and under all lighting conditions to serve as a last line of defense for quality issues.”
    due to the large number of machines, it is difficult to use wired network devices for data transmission. wireless devices, on the other hand, are affected by interferences. mr. chiu explains that “our wireless devices are affected by the metallic factory floors and products, the large number of free electrons in the air, and the electric currents and voltages all over the site. we have put in a lot of effort to overcome these interferences in cooperation with itri.”
    all taya operators will turn into engineers
    the large investments of capital and manpower are worthwhile due to the numerous benefits generated by the powerful big data analysis capabilities of the cloud war room system. this includes schedule optimization, pre-diagnosis of equipment, minimization of losses generated by machinery malfunctions without warning, and significant reduction of the risk of late delivery.
    “taya is firmly committed to being a leader instead of just following trends. we are the first company in the electric wire industry to have adopted smart manufacturing concepts.” mr. chiu points out that the company’s vision is not confined to management (he freely admits that manpower and cost savings are limited) but rather aims at an all-out transformation and upgrade from bottom to top.
    mr. chiu, who was born and raised in southern taiwan, fuses his passion for work with his love for his hometown. he firmly believes that “taiwan should no longer produce low-end products since labor-intensive industries will eventually all relocate to other countries.” he is convinced that the job designation of “operator” will disappear at taya and that there will only be process engineers in the future. the enhancement of workplace values gives young talent a future and hope!
data source/ business today, issue 324 “industrial and information technology”-cover story- “transition of traditional industries to smart factory concepts”