More than a century after Henry Ford started the first moving assembly line, Ford Motor Company is applying smartphone technology to his pioneering development.
Ford has developed a wearable device and a smartphone app that enables production line workers to make faster and more accurate quality checks on new vehicles.
Previously, workers at Ford’s manufacturing facility in Valencia, Spain, used a paper-based system and accessed information from desktop PCs. Now, a new Android app means specification and quality checks can be made on the spot using a wrist-worn Portable Quality Assurance Device, which can assist in making decisions that could require the moving assembly line to be stopped immediately.
“We have varied options and features across our vehicle range and digital innovation in our plants helps to generate lean methods within the manufacturing process,” said Linda Cash, vice president, Manufacturing, Ford of Europe. “The ability to simply consult a smartphone screen to check any aspect of a vehicle’s quality and specification helps to guarantee highest levels of product quality, and improves work processes and manufacturing efficiency.”
The Bluetooth-enabled device recognises the exact quality inspection requirements for each vehicle that passes along the assembly line. These are displayed on the touchscreen of the device. The new system has helped to reduce human error by seven per cent while at the same time making each vehicle check seven seconds quicker. In Valencia alone, where the number of vehicles produced this year is expected to exceed 400,000 units, this represents a substantial time saving that enables additional quality inspections.