Powerful data : The driving force


Technoset Limited, the subcontract precision engineering company based in Rugby, has expanded its customer base into new markets with the digitisation of its business. The company has centred its manufacturing operations around PSL Datatrack production control software since 1999 and has invested in additional modules over the years as the business has grown or requirements changed. The most recent addition has been dynamic Status Boards that deliver instructions to the shop floor and provide key management information.

Part of the Techno Group, Technoset’s successful core aerospace business is based around its AS9100 accreditation. PSL Datatrack has been used to collect, record then report on data from production jobs to build a complete history of the processes associated with customer components and assemblies. The history includes details of production machinery used, inspection equipment/results and certification of materials alongside other key quality information. Complete traceability and the storage of precise digital documentation throughout ensures certification standards are achieved and audits completed with minimal disruption.

The company is now offering its expert engineering solutions in precision milled and turned prismatic parts to other industries including automotive, fibre optics, laser and medical. Technoset has increased productivity by embracing automation through investment in a range of state-of-the-art machine tools, including automatic billet loading. To ensure the continued success of Technoset, succession planning has seen many new apprentices taken on board who are comfortable working with, and adapting to, the latest machine interfaces.

Operations Director Adam Land has also taken a fresh look at the full capabilities of PSL Datatrack. “We wanted to take advantage, not just of the individual modules but of the way PSL Datatrack can drive our entire business. From generating an initial quotation for a new customer through production on the shop floor, quality control and traceability to final delivery and invoice, the software can give us complete control over our processes. We can then refine them on the road to continuous improvement,” says Adam.

As part of the company’s complete digitisation policy, Status Boards have already become a crucial resource for Technoset and replaced the handwritten manual boards located at each manufacturing cell. The aim is to remove all paperwork from the shop floor and be paperless within two years, preventing delays and inaccuracies within the production environment. Operators now receive visual works order instructions and can view live production information whilst management obtain real time data on production progress to assist in making informed priority decisions and schedule changes.

With visual displays and fast navigation becoming more important than ever, PSL Datatrack have developed a number of new interactive home screens to display either the system flow as a ‘Roadmap’ or module-based key performance indicators (KPIs) that can be refreshed automatically or on demand. This provides all users with more information at the push of a button.

Development of the Sequential Scheduler module has also been the subject of close collaboration between PSL Datatrack and Technoset. It was becoming important for Technoset to schedule operators, as well as machine capacity, to maximise production by ensuring shop floor staff are in the right place at the right time. To create the optimum schedule, Technoset can now allocate a machine setter using PSL Datatrack, based on their experience of certain jobs or machines. This is a real “gamechanger,” according to Adam, and ultimately enables the company to provide customers with more informed delivery information.

Naturally, management wants business to flow as quickly and seamlessly as possible. Technoset therefore approached PSL Datatrack recently to find a way of supporting its operators with the input of information into the system. In conjunction with the creation of customised process layout documents that can be read by barcode scanners, the Shop Floor Data Collection (SFDC) module was fully implemented.

The SFDC clocking on/off facility has helped ensure that the most up to date production/operator information is available. “This has been typical of the ongoing support that PSL provides. We contact them and they come up with a solution, through customisation and recommendation of what is readily available within the software,” comments Adam.

Indeed, there are some 1500 configuration options within PSL Datatrack. Rather than just straight yes/no settings, the majority of these options are able to be defined to work in a specific way, depending on the preference of the user. This means there is plenty of scope in future when Technoset needs to consider further functionality to improve productivity.

Adam concludes: “Data is powerful and we are using the information derived from PSL Datatrack to measure the business as a whole and drive it forward. We will continue to invest in PSL Datatrack as it captures everything we need in a subcontract world, providing powerful data accurately and quickly..”

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