Specialising in producing advanced high-tech machinery, AAE caters to machine manufacturers in the medical, pharmaceutical, automotive, consumer goods, semiconductor, solar, and food industry. In order to fit the needs of their varying customer base, manufacturing of their high-tech products is done in a build-to-order approach with batch quantities ranging down to one.
Optimised production planning is a time-consuming daily challenge. This is due to over 1000 active orders at any time, all in various stages of production and containing numerous processing steps spanning in and out of the clean rooms with variable routing, as well as the involvement of subcontractors. Keeping track of processes with respect to all contributing factors while prioritising efficiency was the primary goal.
AAE has successfully implemented a solution, and the automated tracking of all orders is now made possible. In collaboration with the ISAH ERP production planning and control system and real-time locating system (RTLS) technology from the Quuppa Intelligent Positioning system, this digital solution was found based on the INDUTRAX location-aware application PRODUCTTRACKER.
Transparency in process status and whereabouts of orders is enabled through the INDUTRAX PRODUCTTRACKER. Implementing a digital shadow of the factory allows for reliable data on execution events to be created in real time. As many as 2.500 production orders are tracked simultaneously indoors by the Quuppa real-time location system using Quuppa-certified Bluetooth® Tags from BlueUp. The logging and storing of these daily production order movements are used to generate pattern-based reports. In turn, these pattern-based reports serve as a reference for business analytics and allow for schedule-based production planning to be imposed.
The location data retrieved from the Quuppa system is processed by INDUTRAX Software Core Services, which precisely monitors and records the events executed in daily operations and stores these events in a database. The recorded events can be viewed in report format to view the production comprehensively from start to finish. This also makes identifying and troubleshooting idle times and bottlenecks possible and can, therefore, further optimise production flow.
With this solution, the following are enabled:
- Automatic update of order locations
- Automatic recording of work in progress and inventory
- Determining idle times in the process
- Automatic recording of movements
- Planned vs actual process flow comparison
- Lean reports.
Headquartered in Helmond, the Netherlands, AAE is a family firm aiming to facilitate customer production faster, smarter, and cost-efficiently. In order to deliver high-quality products, manufacturing and engineering standards must be in-depth and meticulous. With a team of 350 employees all operating between three halls on one site, manufacturing involves collaboration on many fronts; as typical order processing involves machining, micro-laser processing, 3D printing, sheet metal processing and design, assembly inside and outside the clean room, and measurement and QA steps with variable workflows.
Production transparency achieved through locating technology allows for increased productivity in daily operations. Through an improved overview of order status, individual order tracking capabilities, and faster response times to delays, AAE is equipped to optimise their productivity while reducing costs.
“We are convinced that location-aware solutions have to be an integral part of our digital transformation journey and are essential towards our goal to decrease throughput times in operations. We selected INDUTRAX because of their sensor-agnostic software product and their highly motivated and experienced staff. By introducing the location tracking application as an extension to our existing production control system, we wanted to gain insight into things we cannot get hold of in classical ways. Now we are profiting from the solution to enable a more streamlined production to better serve our customers.” – Kurt Wils, Manager Improvement/Strategy at AAE bv.