– GENERAL ELECTRIC (GE) –
Productivity and Quality Advances
in Generator Manufacturing save Millions
GENERAL ELECTRIC (GE) is a manufacturer of large generators sold to private and government run power plants, tasked with a complex manufacturing process that demands accuracy under a strict environment. Part of the manufacturing process entails building, forming and wrapping very long copper bars each weighing hundreds of pounds. These bars are ultimately designed to carry extremely high currents when installed in generators. Each copper bar is mixed on the production line with hundreds of other bars in varying sizes and shapes moving through dozens of manufacturing stations, and a successful assembly of these complex systems requires a precise identification at all times of each bar during the manufacturing process. Prior to the deployment of PenFact’s XMD software, GE manufacturing plant engineers kept and circulated this complex manufacturing process via multiple paper forms as the initial data was entered manually and thereafter re-entered on spreadsheets and, finally, recorded for the third time into ERP for the final analysis and summary.
Nearly 20 years ago, GE decided to replace the existing paper forms’ system with an electronic system; GE awarded Penfact this contract and vested the complexity of creating a seamless transitional manufacturing method with Penfact. After a successful installation of Penfact’s XMD Software, GE manufacturing plant profitably replaced their old manufacturing process with an electronic one: Penfact’s XMD Software. This software is capable of simultaneously carrying out multiple tasks while collecting all of the evolving data at each step and instantaneously identify each bar and distribute the necessary information at all times. With our software, GE's Management team can easily identify at all times each of the hundreds of copper bars laying all over the floors and determine with 100% accuracy what person is working on each of these components. Penfact’s XMD Software ultimately replaced a three-step manual manufacturing process with one seamless, accurate computerized manufacturing process.
Penfact’s inventory tracking software includes the PenFact Router™, designed with flexible links and multiple decision trees such as “send back to main station rework and/or use as is”. As each component makes its rounds during production, it is easily traced prior and subsequent to inspections, rework signoffs and the like. Decisions made by operators are recorded by the PenFact Router™, while inspectors can easily transition inspected components in and out of the production line and rework process; this entire process offers management a full on-floor operators’ accountability as PenFact Router™ records in real time the different decisions made by operators at each production step.
Collected data is subjected to Penfact’s ad-hoc Pareto analysis, a software component of PenFact’s XMD, which allows root-cause analysis for inspected data without data extraction and manipulation, and enables customized reporting, summary data retrieval, and the detailed Oracle production database. For the final touch, the system generates daily snapshot reports of progress on in-process rework and e-mails them directly to the management team.
The hardware for Penfact’s system is a combination of fixed workstations with touch screens, wireless pen tablets, pocket-size PC/PDA units, and interchangeable mobile computers capable of communicating wirelessly. PenFact’s XMD software supports total off-network operation for any computer at any time enabling uninterrupted, 100% availability while eliminating the possibility of database loss. This powerful system is the nerve center directly linking all shop operations and all without paper, wires and worries over loss data or system downtime.
General Electric currently employs in its generators’ manufacturing plant hundreds of mobile workers equipped with Penfact XMD Software as it is the right tool to report, record, control, track, and manage every single step and component in their production line. Penfact’s revolutionary technology enables the precise analysis and collection of data all with high reliability as a fundamental starting point, so users can rely on collected data while maintaining the necessary control of the production process. Engineers can now analyze any part of the process by zooming down to any level of detail, choosing from a range of software products and custom tools to aid their data research and accurate product development. With Penfact XMD Software this GE plant has now true end-to-end quality information with the same quality embedded into and throughout the rework process. General Electric realized an immediate and complete payback on its investment in our software. Our software proved to be an accurate, reliable data collector and transmitter with absolute traceability. Substantial engineering and labor hours were saved in production and report processing on all levels, with complete elimination of reporting lead times, reduction in rework and immediate return-on investment in Penfact’s XMD Software.
PenFact’s XMD software enables General Electric generators’ manufacturing plant to:
• Scan and record any copper bar coded data with unique identifiers for each bar
• Guide operators through data entry and work steps at each process point, providing process information, selection lists, and pictures as needed
• Link process points into a factory floor work flow for sequential manufacturing operations, including configurable user driven decision trees
• Capture ad-hoc inspection data when and where needed
• Link rework processes into a work flow, including configurable decision points
• Store production and inspection data, including data not previously available, in a central database (Oracle)
• Keep working when network fails
• Enforce electronic revision control for all shop documents
• Generate Pareto (frequency) analysis for fast, ad-hoc reporting
• Automatically produce and e-mail daily reports of shop activities
• Provide on demand, up-to-the-minute reports of production activities to supervisors
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