Many of our customers have challenging problems to solve. Through our extensive capability in Process Improvement, we see traceability as being a key factor in improving and maintaining product quality. Whether it is manufacturing, assembly or logistics data, traceability is crucial.
It is all about recording what happened during a process to make it possible at a later date to interrogate and link up each part of the process. For example, if you have a product assembled from multiple components, being able to understand what components were used in a specific product is critical in tracking down other products which may contain faulty components.
If we focus on manufacturing, the core of every Traceability system is identification of each component used in the process. This can be achieved through barcodes or RFID tagging, which are both techniques we have implemented on a recent project. A barcode needs a unique identifier to link it to a particular component included in a product and in some cases the unique identifier can be the same for a group of parts in a batch. Other additional useful information in a barcode is revision number, standard compliances and, where applicable, quantity.
All the data acquired from the components within a product need to be accurately linked together when they are stored. An ideal solution for this is a relational database. If the design is right it enables easy access to the data after it is saved. However, designing an effective relational database is a considerable challenge!
With our recent traceability experience we have developed a solution using a technique we blogged about recently here and here. In this solution we have a LabVIEW application running on a Windows PC acquiring data from RFID scanners and barcode scanners. This information is then transferred to a Web API, validated and saved to a relational database.
Our ability to provide a complete solution with data acquisition (LabVIEW) and management (SQL & C# web development) has meant we are doing more projects combining these two skillsets. Have you got any challenges with process improvement or traceability? Get in touch, we love a challenge!