Phoenix Contact, a German-based market leader of device connectors, electronic components and industrial automation technologies, has adopted the Mentor Graphics® Valor IoT Manufacturing solution for factory automation. Phoenix Contact, headquartered in Blomberg, Germany, manufactures over 60,000 products and serves more than 100 countries. They selected the Valor® IoT Manufacturing and Valor MSS products for their manufacturing processes to help achieve zero-defect operational results. The Valor technologies enabled Phoenix Contact to collect and utilize traceability data from a variety of surface mount technology (SMT) machine vendors and workflow processes to ensure manufactured product quality and optimum productivity and profitability.
Phoenix Contact uses SMT machines in their factories from different vendors (ASM and Fuji), which provide their own detailed and accurate traceability data; however, their data is not compatible with each other, and difficult for Phoenix Contact to integrate. This is a problem for the company since its products have been produced using both vendor machines at different phases in the manufacturing process. Committed to quality and engineering excellence, Phoenix Contact sought Mentor’s Valor technologies to manage a central, single repository of traceability information that can combine data from the two machine vendor platforms, to include the ability to collect additional data from the company’s other processes, such as manual assembly and repairs.
“Before we used Valor MSS with Valor IoT Manufacturing, we were always conscious, like almost every other company, of mistakes that may be made when attempting to construct the overall traceability data for a product. Now, with the Valor software and hardware solution working in full integration with the machine vendors’ hardware and software solutions, the entire work is automated,” said Stefan Schnake from PCB Design and Product Support responsible for Manufacturing Data Support at Phoenix Contact.
He added, “As well as knowing the integrity of the data, it is also available immediately as production is running. This means that we can use the data for our zero-defect quality initiative, for which it has proven to be invaluable. We are getting continuous value from it. I can say that we are saving significant manpower for the data collection and reporting, as well as a reduction in defects quality due to the use of the traceability information in real-time.”
Valor MSS Traceability Software
Phoenix Contact is realizing true zero-defect manufacturing enabled by the Valor MSS Traceability software, which provides the infrastructure for shop-floor materials including a unique identification of materials used for manufacturing products. Each individual material has a specific tracked history associated with it (when and where it’s used, part number, supplier, batch code, incoming delivery date, manufacturer, etc.), so this unique tracking system allows Phoenix Contact to precisely track each material used for production. Automatic tracking ensures the accuracy and total count of Phoenix Contact components, and the Valor MSS tool also helps manage other things, such as manufacturing, supply and distribution (MSD) or LED binning.
The Valor MSS software provides the unique material tracking information to the machine platforms as they perform their operations (material set-up verification, materials reels on smart feeders, confirmation of feeder position on the machine, etc.).
Thus, Phoenix Contact’s verification processes are mistake-proof, optimizing the hardware and software features available in the different SMT machine platforms. As production runs, the machine vendor software compiles the material traceability information in their native format, which is then communicated to the Valor product through a single connection.
Data Consolidation Enabled by the Valor IoT Manufacturing Solution
The Valor IoT Manufacturing hardware, comprising embedded advanced interfaces for both ASM and Fuji vendor platforms, receives the production data and automatically normalizes it into the single Open Manufacturing Language (OML) format. The Valor MSS traceability software then takes the OML format, processes the combined information and stores it into a traceability database. The Valor IoT manufacturing product can collect data from any other manufacturing process in various ways: another embedded advanced interface, flexible connections from machines without interfaces, or manual data collected from processes such as repairs. The Valor IoT Manufacturing solution includes a software development kit (SDK) for these purposes. Accurate traceability reports can then be generated immediately to analyze any suspected defects, document production compliance, understand the exact cause of defective materials (including counterfeits), if discovered. This provides Phoenix Contact with the ideal traceability solution to help achieve zero-defect manufacturing with optimum product quality.