Smart manufacturing is the market trend for international manufacturing industries. Whether it is Industry 4.0 in Germany, AMP in the USA, PRISM in Japan or the smart machine policies in Taiwan, they are all focused on IT (Information Technology) and OT (Operational Technology) integration. On-site information visualization and application of different systems extend the value of production data.
Among all the set-up processes of smart manufacturing, machine-to-machine connection within the systems is the first step. Machine-to-machine connection is to transmit the operation status of production equipment to the upper MES (Manufacturing Execution System) platform for managers to monitor the real-time on-site production data. It is collected in a database for storage, computing and analysis. Delta points out that due to the huge amount of equipment in a production line and large quantities of data, the efficiency of the whole system will slow down if it is uploaded directly to the MES without integration.
Low efficiency with the existing structure
The operation method of the existing production system is to generate real-time information while the production equipment is operating. The data is uploaded to the upper MES via communication protocols. In the automation era, the function of an MES is to monitor the operation status and efficiency of each section in the production line. The on-site managers are able to see the information instantly and adjust the production line to achieve the estimated productivity. In the smart manufacturing era, the manufacturers expect the production line to continue the automation work, and enable visualized management and information transmission functions. Equipment data can transmit to each other and the upper cloud platform. However, achieving this smart manufacturing goal based on the existing structure is still very challenging.
First, there is a huge volume of data from the manufacturing equipment. If it is delivered to an MES without processing, the MES is overloaded and the efficiency of the whole system decreases. Second, the equipment from different machine makers uses different communication protocols. Unifying the various “languages” of the different equipment makes the structure extremely complicated. Even though all of the setup is complete, the existing structure is not flexible to meet an instant changeover and possible future production line extension demands.
BCS - smart and flexible equipment management
However, there are solutions for the pain points above. Delta indicates that the Block Control System BCS is not only for smart manufacturing, but is a well-developed solution that has long been deployed in the TFT-LCD industry to solve these issues. After slight adjustment by a professional service provider, this solution can be applied in most manufacturing industries to achieve smart manufacturing,
The BCS is positioned between the M2M and the MES in the overall manufacturing system. It vertically connects the information flow between equipment and the upper MES. The BCS designs the operation processes of production equipment and connects the MES with a unified communication protocol to allow the MES to focus on managing the whole production line. Delta says that since the BCS has been applied in the TFT-LCD industry for many years, it can generate smart functions to meet the corresponding requirements for panel manufacturing. The glass base panel is getting larger and thinner, so the delivering of WIP on a production line has to be as smooth and stable as possible. For manufacturers with high quality standards, the BCS is able to enhance production efficiency and quality.
In addition, the BCS is also equipped with flexibility and edge-computing for smart manufacturing. The TFT-LCD is used in a variety of applications, so it is cut in different sizes. Continuous mixed-line production is common on production lines. The BCS is extendable based on management demands. Edge-computing is also an important function in smart manufacturing systems. After the equipment data is collected, the BCS filters the data for computing and provides the processed data to the upper MES for further analysis. What’s more, the BCS executes management functions instantly based on MES commands for flexibility. It shares the load of the MES to elevate the overall efficiency.
System structure of the Delta Block Control System DIABCS
Delta as a pioneer in the market for BCS solutions
Although the BCS is functional and beneficial for smart manufacturing, it is not easy to implement in a manufacturing system. Delta indicates that the structure of an automated manufacturing system is complicated involving a variety of equipment and processes. To add new functions or machines might impact the whole system. To overcome the two major challenges of quickly implementing the system and meeting functional demands, the assistance of an experienced service provider is required.
Delta has helped more than 100 domestic and international TFT-LCD manufacturers implement the BCS on more than 5,000 factory production lines. It is the top service provider in Taiwan in terms of quantity and experience. Offering complete industrial automation solutions is another advantage of Delta. The DIABCS provides an all-in-one solution, from customer VOC, specification design, system implementation to after-service.
The LCD industry is labor-intensive with advanced and complex production processes. With its larger and thinner glass base panels, damage easily occurs with any minor failure. Chosen to partner with a leading LCD manufacturer, Delta assisted the customer design an automated production line, and implemented Delta’s Block Control System DIABCS for smarter and more efficient production process management.
In the system, Delta not only connects the equipment to monitor real-time operation status and collect data, but it also utilizes the new AIoT concept-edge computing with DIABCS.
In the past, the M2M system structure required two-way communication between the equipment and upper management platform, causing an overloaded MES and a decrease in efficiency. The DIABCS is equipped with an edge computing function to first integrate and filter the data collected by the end equipment, and process or transmit the information based on requests.
This provides two major advantages to customers. First, the data needed to be processed instantly can be done in the end system without back and forth transmission. Second, the data received by the MES is pre-processed for faster and more efficient operation.
In addition, the DIABCS features block control for the automated production lines of the TFT-LCD industry. Categorized by types of equipment, it gathers processes with similar types, and uses logic control for production line conveyance. It can control the simultaneous production of different products in different blocks on the same production line. Unlike traditional production lines that produce one type of product at a time, the DIABCS maximizes equipment uptime to create the most profit with limited equipment.
Delta mentions that seven years has passed since Germany started to promote Industry 4.0. However, smart manufacturing is still a new and unknown topic for most manufacturers. Currently, starting from M2M is recommended, but the equipment IoT structure in the market is still chaotic. To meet the urgent demands of industry transformation, the BCS is suitable for application in CCL, PCB or PCBA manufacturing and other industries. With the integration of the BCS, manufacturers are able to stabilize the first layer structure to gain the most benefits of a smart system. Based on this, they can build a complete smart manufacturing system step-by-step.
Delta has helped more than 100 TFT-LCD manufacturers implement the BCS on more than 5,000 factory production lines. Offering a complete industrial automation solution is another advantage of the Delta Block Control System DIABCS.