Production - SKODA
Wearable technology can allow an efficient, successful working environment by providing ubiquitous, mobile access to production process-related information where and when necessary: at the shop floor, at the assembly line, and at the manufacturing workstations. This allows workers at different levels to improve the training process of inexperienced workers, to improve availability of information, to speed up localisation and detection of areas to be repaired or maintained as well as to improve communication and knowledge sharing.
In order to support the workers within the real assembly line, the final checkpoint of the manufacturing, Checkpoint Number 8 or CP8A, (final checkpoint after cars are wiped dry) has been chosen as a scenario. In this CP8A, the workers check for different mistakes and problems such as problems with the heating, lights and bumpers misalignment, bumps and scratches, spaces between the doors and car body etc.
Technically wise, the assembly instructions are presented via a head mounted display. They contain a textual description of the current operation which has to be performed as well as images. The user can interact with the application by voice (e.g. to go one operation back or to repeat the current operation). The tracking of user's actions is enabled by a special data glove that has been engineered by ETH Zurich and Passau University, and on a set of sensors attached to the car body. The output of the sensors are collected by a stationary system (a laptop), which processes them and make them available for the recognition of user's actions.
This system can contribute to production line by enhancement of:
- On the spot work instructions: The wearable computer shows the trainee how to assemble the parts correctly and which tools and spare parts have to be used. This is all assessed manually. Further, many tasks have to be performed with repetitions for hours. A wearable system could support the workers by reminding them of the next steps or by indicating missing or skipped steps.
- Error detection: The process of reporting any detected fault has been identified as one of the possible topics where wearable technology can be applied in order to facilitate the work of operators, eliminating the need to handle some piece of paper during the full checking activity and reducing the mental workload associated to report fulfillment. The system detects the single operations by dedicated sensors and gives an error message if parts are not assembled in the correct way and sequence.