Integrating Industry 4.0 for Haworth’s Dynamic Conveyor

Local furniture company Haworth, Inc. provides office furniture solutions worldwide, manufacturing some of those solutions right here in Holland. When their conveyor line for cubicle frame walls became labor intensive and proved difficult to perform quality checks, Haworth consulted the Hyperion experts to create cutting-edge solutions using Industry 4.0 technologies. 

The Challenge

Much like stretching a canvas over a wooden frame, line workers at Haworth provide the final tuck of fabric around cubicle panels. This step also serves as a quality assurance check as employees attach any final parts and verify frame specifications, quantities and fabric color. 

The process was labor-intensive, and eyeballing fabric colors and measuring dimensions of every panel was also time-consuming for employees. 

The conveyor that produced these panels was much like any other conveyor you’d find at the grocery store. It could move panels up or down the conveyor but did not provide any other capabilities. Workers would also hand-scan barcodes on the products to help with inventory and quality control. 

Industry 4.0 Solutions

Our familiarity and established trust with Haworth allowed us to upgrade their previous simple conveyor and create a “smart” conveyor. Using the latest technologies and custom solutions, we created a dynamic conveyor system to decrease inefficiencies and increase quality.

Our team of experts created two identical 50-foot long dynamic conveyors installed side-by-side to reduce labor time and opportunities for error. Built-in controls automatically measure the height and width of the panel, checking the dimensions against what the system expected.

Seamlessly integrating with Haworth’s ERP via the conveyor controls, cameras first read the barcode data for a part number, which is sent to the ERP. Then the ERP responds to the conveyor with part specifications for the conveyor to verify. Once the conveyor has measured the part and determined whether or not it complies with the ERP specifications, it responds back to the ERP with the end result. 

The dynamic conveyor alerts employees through a system of signals when a product does not match the expectations given by the ERP. Employees can then double-check these measurements and approve them or override the machine and move the product through if needed.

Efficiency

With the dynamic conveyor taking measurements and scanning barcodes, quality assurance requires less labor and fewer employees while speeding up the overall process to perform these checks. Eliminating these inefficiencies saves long-term labor costs and minimizes the need to hire additional employees in a tight labor market.

The new conveyor system also automatically moved pieces along to the next step of the process once a dimension or fabric was verified, keeping processes accurate and efficient. 

Accuracy

Equally as important, the dynamic conveyor significantly reduced the number of errors on the line. By automating the process and checking laser measurements against the data provided by the integrated ERP system, the conveyor eliminated the opportunity for a mismeasurement or misidentification of a fabric.

This automation also helped correct occasional errors in quantities by connecting with the ERP.

Make Automation Work for You

When manufacturers come to us, they’re often looking for a solution to a problem. We provide creative, customized solutions that use cutting edge technology including Industry 4.0 standards that bring automation and just-right solutions for your line. As experienced engineers and problem solvers, we can confidently guide you through ERP integrations that find the right solution at the right time and price point.

Want to learn more? Give us a shout.

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