Imagine if you worked in an automotive factory and would be given a task to think of a way to save workers from walking more than one kilometre daily, to improve quality of the product and efficiency of the entire production line with only one tool. What would it be? Ford shows that a simple smartphone app is enough for such task.
Ok, maybe it is not that simple. System includes a wearable device, which connects to a smartphone app. It accomplishes something incredible – it allows production line workers to make faster and more accurate quality checks on new vehicles. This innovative solution in the Ford’s manufacturing facility in Valencia, Spain, replaces an old paper-based system that involved walking back and forth more than one kilometre daily to access information on desktop PCs. Now all needed information is on the worker’s wrist and he can even stop the moving assembly line immediately if needed.
Linda Cash, vice president, Manufacturing, Ford of Europe, said: “We have varied options and features across our vehicle range and digital innovation in our plants helps to generate lean methods within the manufacturing process. The ability to simply consult a smartphone screen to check any aspect of a vehicle’s quality and specification helps to guarantee highest levels of product quality, and improves work processes and manufacturing efficiency”.
The system knows the exact quality inspection requirements for each vehicle that passes along the assembly line and displays them on the device on the wrist. This simple solution reduced human error by 7% and made the inspection seven seconds quicker.
Ford says that inspiration for the system is our current lifestyle. We organize our lives on smart devices so why our cars should be made differently? It also has to do a lot with the Valencia plant. It is becoming a major factory for Ford as company builds six nameplates and even more body styles there. Furthermore, with further investments it should soon become one of the world’s most advanced, flexible and productive auto plants. For this, of course, many smart solutions will have to be introduced and wearable smart devices with smartphone apps are just the beginning of a long process.