Ford has introduced a new smartphone-based wearable device that will enable production line workers at its Spanish plant to make faster and more accurate quality checks on new vehicles.
Workers at Ford’s manufacturing facility in Valencia, Spain, previously utilized a paper-based system that involved walking back and forth more than one kilometer daily to access information on desktop PCs.
Believed to be an industry-first, Ford’s new Android app means specification and quality checks can be made on the spot using a wrist-worn Portable Quality Assurance Device; moreover, moving assembly line can be brought to an immediate halt as and when needed.
“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, Ford Europe’s vice president of Manufacturing. “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 recognizes the exact quality inspection requirements for each vehicle that passes along the assembly line. These are displayed on the touchscreen of the wrist-worn device, and team members are then able to instantly follow up and approve.
According to a company press release, the new system has helped to reduce human error by 7 percent 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 allows additional quality inspections.
Ford builds six nameplates and even more body styles in Valencia that include hundreds of different vehicle specifications. These include the Mondeo sedan, the Mondeo Vignale, Kuga SUV, and the all-new S-MAX multi-activity vehicle, and Galaxy seven-seat people-mover.
The company recently announced it is completing the final part of a $2.5 billion investment in manufacturing operations at Valencia, transforming the facility into one of the world’s most advanced, flexible and productive auto plants.
Valencia is also among Ford’s European facilities that has introduced an advanced wi-fi network for the flexible installation to vehicles on production lines, making use of a voice activated connectivity system called SYNC 2. This enables assembly workers to download vehicle-specific language and navigation packs as required for each vehicle.
Image credits: Ford Media