When part-marking inefficiencies began to erode customer relations and inflate production costs, this aerospace components manufacturer transitioned to an advanced new laser marking system, with dramatic results.
In 2014, the Honeywell Aerospace operation in Tempe, Ariz., was enduring a costly cycle of quality issues, production bottlenecks, rework operations, and customer returns. In-house analysis pointed to one process step common to products ranging from valves to engine starters to pneumatic actuators: the application of serial and part numbers to product nameplates.
In response, ISC Engineering and Production Quality team at Tempe identified five challenges:
- Bridge the connectivity gap.
Integrate marking directly with Honeywell’s SAP enterprise software.
- Automate manual tasks.
Automate slow, error-prone, labor-intensive keyboarding and nameplate handling.
- Upgrade inspections.
Replace human scrutiny, which frequently missed incorrect or duplicate numbers, with digital verification.
- Boost accuracy.
Prevent errors that drove the customer to demand third-party inspections.
- Minimize marking footprint.
Their bulky YAG-laser flatbed system was occupying too much valuable floor space in the factory.
After selecting the MECCO team on the basis of its factory-integration experience and superior grasp of Honeywell’s needs, Tempe entered collaboration aimed at a “total traceability solution.” Today, the scorecard shows:
- Connectivity gap bridged.
MECCO’s SMARTmark system integrates all data and product-template files directly with the Honeywell SAP database.
- Manual tasks automated.
Reduced handling and SAP-based barcodes accelerate workflow, eliminate human errors, and free up operator availability.
- Inspections upgraded.
The SMARTMark vision system inspects and checks marked parts, providing 100 percent in-machine verification and validation.
- Traceability accuracy boosted.
Marking-related quality notifications and returns from the customer, which had cost Tempe $2,500 per incident, have dropped significantly.
- Marking mobilized.
The new 20-watt SMARTmark Fiber Laser System plugs in anywhere using 120VDC and occupies half the footprint of the old YAG flatbed.