6 Keys to Link STARC to Big Data

Six Keys to Link STARC to Big Data

Pursuing data has always been part of the manufacturing process. Remedially it all began with part counts, takt time, and parts shipped. Nowadays, the quest for interpretable, actionable data is on uber speed in every manufacturing plant across the globe. Knowing that data for the sake of collecting data can be non-value added, a new acronym has entered the landscape – STARC meaning Sensors, Thermal Control, Actuators, Robotics, and Computations. Manufacturing enterprise systems have made relevant data readily available using prominent displays and triggers to alert non-harmonious functionality.

Six keys for linking the STARC measurements to systemic data analytics within almost any advanced technology implementation include the following:

  1. The network system – wired or wireless data-collection networks acquire precision data from measurement and error-proofing devices.
  2. Capture the data - automatically or manually compiling the data. Stopping work to record data manually will significantly influence overall productivity. People may make mistakes that have consequences downstream. While automatically capturing manufacturing data is more efficient, it can build inflexibility into the process.
  3. No one-size-fits-all-automation solutions must be both scalable and secure to enable the system to communicate with additional consumer devices such as smartphones and tablets that can hold the data.
  4. Reports – legible reports of relevant data must include statistical readings that allow engineers to make decisions about the manufacturing process. Strong and robust software is the backbone of advanced manufacturing execution systems.
  5. Ease of use and flexibility – intuitive programming is mandatory from user-friendly software environments. Ease of use software empowers both operators and engineers to calibrate the manufacturing pulse within the designed process.
  6. Baseline comparisons - check multiple inputs against known limits so incorrect data can be promptly identified. Without a check & balance methodology, suspect information increases the risk of a process failure and severe crashes causing expensive repairs.

Critical data must be shareable inside the car factory

IoT-enabled vehicle traceability systems, such as (Esfi) or (Eiphis), track the performance of the processes and status of the produced cars, thereby reducing subjective decision making and reducing manual operations significantly. Digital transformation is now commonplace within the automotive industry. It will rapidly expand to all aspects of the supply chain where tasks need monitoring or parts inspected for compliance. To ensure authentic data analytics, companies will begin to institute blockchain technology protecting critical part traceability data and guard automated systems from malicious conditions that may cause downtime.

Digitalization in automotive manufacturing will only grow in the future. Industry leading companies have made it a priority to adopt blockchain technology for part traceability, build completely automated manufacturing plants and invest in manufacturing execution systems.


Total appearance evaluation of car body

For maximum visual impact, an automotive paint finish must instantly produce an appealing visual sensation for the customer. Automotive companies are making an effort to create high-quality finishes. Color management and appearance is essential in many areas of today’s automotive manufacturing environment, and requires the ability to measure subtle differences in color and appearance. The measuring methods used for characterizing the visual impression have been highly complex and mainly the domain of experts.

Steelcase - Office Furniture: Managing an Increasing Amount of Color Variation

One of the ways Steelcase, a leader in office furniture, creates their custom solutions is by providing their customers the option to powder coat their steel products to any color of their choice which created an unforeseen amount of control issues. Konica Minolta Sensing's color experts recommended the multi-purpose, CM-700d Spectrophotometer.

Read this case study to learn how Steelcase's journey did not simply end at the point of purchase and how Konica Minolta Sensing has continued to work with Steelcase to ensure all their color measurement needs are met.

3 Ways Connectivity Lowers Warranty Costs

3 Ways Connectivity Lowers Warranty Costs

Connectivity is driving the reduction in warranty costs for automakers. Critical data is gathered at every step of the vehicle build process, captured, processed, and exchanged at an unprecedented rate never seen before. So too, is that happening with the surface integrity of the vehicle. From what the customer sees to what the customer admires, the painted surfaces must glimmer firmly and resonate deeply. Visually wowing, the customer starts with the e-coat and primer stage carrying through to the final topcoat. Now more than ever, the controlled process of intense detection of flaws and blemishes is providing predictable and manageable data to swart off the potential future warranty claim. For example, defects as tiny as 1.5mm are indicative of dirt particles or paint runs. Both defects are visible to the naked eye and require extensive rework finessing before shipping the vehicle.

Clear and concise detection of dirt particles, scratches, fishers, and orange peel helps paint process teams predictably manage the condensation levels, paint flow settings, and conveyor speeds to optimize the final finish of the vehicle. This level of detection can only happen with connected devices. Digital vision systems on moving paint lines have proven to provide strong ROI for many automakers, some experiencing a complete ROI in under one year of digital adoption. Advanced connected devices lead to reduced rework labor, quality improvements, and lower maintenance costs and savings.

Unprecedented amounts of data are created, with over 10,000 digital impressions per vehicle is being captured, formatted, and digitized for audit reconciliation. The Esfi® paint scanner looks at each surface of the vehicle millimeter by millimeter and digitizes the entire surface rendering the data compliant or non-compliant. This analysis happens on moving lines with short cycle times. The interconnected digital technology tools developed by EINES Vision Systems make the quick analysis of large sets of data possible, thereby enabling managers to respond rapidly to ever-changing conditions.

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Measuring Glass Transmission for Solar Panels

Solar panels are becoming increasingly popular. They are being set up in parking lots at many Fortune 500 companies and are becoming increasingly common in suburban homes. In the past few years, solar panel technology has grown, and the panels are operating at increasing efficiency.

The significance of quantifying color and gloss in one measurement

For many industries, both color and appearance measurements help maintain an acceptable visual quality of various samples. For the appearance portion, the most common, and in many cases, the most critical quantifiable measurement is gloss. Historically you needed two pieces of equipment to measure color and gloss, a spectrophotometer (or a colorimeter for some applications) to measure the color, and a gloss meter to measure gloss. For years, you could find these two products sitting side-by-side in many labs and production lines.

Within many spectrophotometers, there is an ability to present a "correlated" gloss reading. While this is sometimes helpful, the angle of measurement is not common nor available within most gloss meters and is not a true gloss measurement. There will also be some delay as the unit will need to take measurements in the SCI (specular component included) and SCE (specular component excluded) positions, not to mention an added calibration sequence. Due to the nature of its configuration and optics, this is not an option found in a colorimeter.

With new patented technology, Konica Minolta offers the ability to take a true gloss reading at 60-degrees (the universal gloss angle) while it measures the color of the sample. This technology will save the operator a great deal of time, as they will only need to calibrate one instrument one time. In most cases, once you turn an instrument off, recalibration is necessary. By having a true gloss meter incorporated within a spectrophotometer, you need only one calibration cycle. Also, and probably most important, the measurement will be done in the same spot for both color and gloss. Taking two measurements from the same spot is a crucial factor, especially if there is any variation in the sample's surface. Lastly, you will eliminate the need to invest in and maintain two separate instruments, saving you money on the initial purchase and future maintenance and servicing costs.

Products such as the CM-25cG, CM-26dG, and CM-36dG all offer this complete solution of simultaneous color and gloss measurements. Using such high quality, close tolerance equipment will improve your speed to market and time to manufacture while reducing rework and waste due to variations in color and appearance.

Download our whitepaper "Simultaneous Measurement of Color & Gloss" to learn more about this topic.

Maintaining Consistent Color in High-Performance Decking

Composite decking has become increasingly popular with homeowners and contractors over the past several years. Some of the benefits of this type of building material are lower maintenance and increased durability/longevity over traditional wood decking.

However, one of the biggest challenges in this industry has been the look of the material. When introduced, composite decking had a very "plastic" feel about it compared to traditional wood. With experience and technology, companies who produce these materials have replicated a look that better emulates natural wood, offering variants from the base-colors of grey, brown, and red.  After establishing an acceptable look for the product, it is essential to maintain it throughout production, with the consistent color of the product being a key aspect of quality control. Producers of these high-quality products want board 0 to look the same as for board 100, with consumers expecting that all of the decking material be of the same color and appearance. Consistency is of paramount importance in this industry.

To maintain consistent color and appearance, the use of a properly maintained, multi-featured instrument, such as the Konica Minolta Spectrophotometer CM-26dG, can be highly beneficial. A spectrophotometer is a scientific piece of equipment that easily allows users to objectively measure, monitor, and help control the color of their products. While maintaining color is very important, so too is appearance. The CM-26dG also has a built-in gloss meter that provides true gloss measurements at 60-degrees (also known as the "universal angle"). Varying levels of finish can affect how we perceive color, and sustaining proper gloss levels will ascertain the composite materials' overall desired appearance. This instrument allows for simultaneous measurement of both color and gloss, minimizing the risk of inconsistent readings.

Creating a process based on standards using this type of equipment allows for communicative consistency throughout the production life cycle, from development to production to consumer. These standardized values are digitized and sent to other manufacturing facilities using the same equipment allowing all locations to produce materials using the same acceptance criteria. Having the ability to maintain and control the color and gloss of composite decking material allows manufacturers to sustain quality, reduce waste and rework, and most importantly, give their customers the finished deck they have envisioned.

Color evaluation of aluminum material in anodizing process with a portable spectrophotometer

With the increasing demand for customized color and appearance needs in private houses and office buildings, aluminum architectural material suppliers present various kinds of color and gloss/matte variation in products, such as window frames, doors, curtain walls, etc. Controlling color in the anodization process is important to maintain uniformity and quality.

From color development to appearance maintenance in stucco

From color development to appearance maintenance in stucco

Stucco is energy efficient, durable, fire-resistant, low maintenance, rot-resistant, sound dampening, and adds great curb appeal to a building’s exterior. Stucco is used as a decorative coating for walls and ceilings, external building siding, and sculptural and artistic material in architecture. It can also cover less visually appealing construction materials, such as metal, concrete, and brick.

How Ceramic Manufacturers Set Color Standards for Raw Material Suppliers

Every manufactured product has multiple processes that produce the final product, and ceramic tiles are no different. Making ceramic tiles involves raw materials such as clay, silica, quartz, feldspar, or zirconium. High temperatures from kilns then make these non-metallic solids (also known as Ceramics) harder, denser, and less porous. This process results in a tile suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. Before this process begins, raw material suppliers procure impure clay materials.

Obtaining the raw material used in the ceramic tile creation process happens in one of two ways. The traditional way of acquiring these materials is through mining natural earth deposits. The more "modern" approach uses a chemical fusion that produces 'ultra-high' purity powder.

Ceramic manufacturers work with suppliers to ensure raw materials meet tight specifications. Manufacturers set quality standards and grades for their suppliers using color measurement instruments and tri-stimulus values using a color space, such as CIE L*a*b*. Taking accurate color measurements is critical to both the manufacturer and supplier as raw material prices are set based on a material's color classification.

Determining the quality of raw materials requires creating ceramic bisques from the raw material samples. The bisques are then sent to the lab for physical analysis and sorted according to their lightness (L*) and yellowness (b*) values. Color shade is one of the primary indicators used in classifying ceramic tile quality. Shade difference among ceramic tile is inevitable. Almost every ceramic tile has some degree of shade variation. Using shade classification systems to define and sort tiles into different groups can help solve issues caused by shade variation. Using shade classification systems to define and sort tiles into different groups can help solve issues caused by shade variation. When developing a shade classification system, a standard value (using L*a*b*) is established for each shade group. To determine which group the ceramic tiles fall under, they are measured.

The Konica Minolta Sensing Spectrophotometer CM-26dG can measure the ceramic bisques based on their CIE L*a*b* values. With high repeatability of σ∆E*ab 0.04 and good inter-instrument agreement of ∆E*ab< 0.12 (average of BCRA 12 Tiles), the Konica Minolta Sensing Spectrophotometer CM-26dG ensures measurement result remains consistent even between multiple units.