Digitalisation of shop-floor operations in the South African tool, die and mould making industry

Dewa, Mncedisi Trinity (2018-12)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2018.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This doctoral dissertation focuses on the digitalisation of shop-floor operations in the South African Tool, Die and Mould Making (TDM) industry through the development of a Mobile Data Collection (MDC) tool known as a Shop-floor Management System (SMS). Recent results of the benchmarking initiative in the South African TDM industry have shown that most firms struggle on the global market due to intense external competition and internal shortcomings. Digitalisation has been advocated as a possible solution that can improve the competitiveness of tooling companies in the 21st century. The recent rise of digital technologies makes digitalisation an achievable reality now. However, how does one adopt such a factor in a South African tool-room environment? This study aims to answer this question through a systematic method of analysis, design, development and testing of a solution. This research demonstrates the application of systems thinking by implementation of current technology in a tooling factory environment. The theoretical framework established by Professor Schuh for the “Fast Forward Tooling Approach” on digitalisation was employed in this study. A Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) analysis of recent South African TDM industry benchmarking study results was conducted to decide on areas of deficiency which can be improved through digitalisation. A deficiency in the areas of shop-floor data collection and manipulation within most TDM firms was identified and selected as one of the major problems to be addressed. Thereafter, company visits were conducted to finalise the industry specific characteristics in the South African tooling industry and desired system goals were established. Mobile and web-based technologies were selected as a sustainable solution for near real-time data collection in production environments. Furthermore, an analysis followed of the tool production value chain through company visits of firms within the Western Cape Province. The sub-processes of cost estimation, process planning and job-card data collection were identified as areas which can be improved by digitalisation. Key parameters for each of the identified processes were derived through knowledge engineering and the Analytical Hierarchical Process (AHP) methodology was used to rank the identified parameters. Based on a decision matrix for development software platform selection, the AppSheet platform was chosen and utilised in the development of mobile data collection modules for the abovementioned functions. Another decision matrix for selection of hardware tools was used to determine the appropriate input devices to be used for recording of shop-floor data by the tooling factory personnel. The ‘Google Sheets’ cloud computing platform was utilised for the development of the back-end database. Reports on cost analytics, resource performance and order progress status were generated by the system in real-time for process-planning, rescheduling and maintenance decisions. The system also facilitates alerts in cases of event changes within the tooling value stream process. The developed SMS was validated in a selected company for various scenarios and cases. The system outputs show that the use of mobile devices and web-based cloud computing platforms for data collection and manipulation effectively improves the shop-floor real-time data collection and visibility of a tooling factory environment.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie doktorale proefskrif fokus op die digitalisering van werkswinkel bedrywighede in die Suid-Afrikaanse gereedskap industrie, ‘n Mobiele data versamelings stelsel vir bestuurbesluitneming in die gietstuk- en vormvervaardiginig bedryf word ontwikkel. Onlangse resultate van die inisiatief in die Suid-Afrikaanse TDM-bedryf het getoon dat die meeste firmas sukkel op die globale mark as gevolg van intense eksterne mededinging en interne tekortkominge. Digitalisering is 'n moontlike oplossing wat die mededingendheid van gereedskapmaatskappye in die 21ste eeu kan verbeter. Die onlangse ontwikkellings in nuwe digitale tegnologie maak digitalisering in die werkswinkel 'n haalbare werklikheid. Die vraag is; Hoe neem mens egter so 'n faktor in 'n Suid-Afrikaanse instrumentkameromgewing aan? Die studie beoog om hierdie vraag te beantwoord deur middel van 'n sistematiese metode van analise, ontwerp, ontwikkeling en toetsing van 'n oplossing. Hierdie navorsing demonstreer die toepassing van stelselingenieurswese deur die implementering van huidige tegnologie. Die teoretiese raamwerk, wat deur professor Schuh vir die "Fast Forward Tooling Approach" op digitalisering voorgestel is, word in die studie gebruik. 'n Sterk, Swakpunte, Geleenthede en Bedreigings (SWOT) -analise van onlangse Suid-Afrikaanse TDM-industrie se beginpunt-studie resultate is uitgevoer om te besluit op tekortgebiede wat deur digitalisering verbeter kan word. 'n Tekort op die gebied van data-insameling en hantering van winkelvloere binne die meeste TDM-firmas is geïdentifiseer en gekies as een van die belangrikste probleme wat aangespreek moet word. Daarna is maatskappybesoeke gedoen om die bedryfspesifieke eienskappe in die Suid-Afrikaanse gereedskapbedryf te finaliseer en stelseldoelwitte vas te stel. Mobiele en webgebaseerde tegnologie is gekies as 'n volhoubare oplossing vir byna intydse data-insameling in die produksieomgewing. 'n Analise van die waardeketting van die gereedskapsproduksie is gedoen tydens maatskappybesoeke van firmas in die Wes-Kaapprovinsie. Die subprosesse kosteberaming, prosesbeplanning en werkkaart data-insameling is geïdentifiseer as gebiede wat deur digitalisering verbeter kan word. Sleutelparameters vir elk van die geïdentifiseerde subprosesse is afgelei. Die metode van analitiese hiërargiese prosesse (AHP) is gebruik om die geïdentifiseerde parameters te rangskik. 'n Keusematriks is gebruik om die ontwikkelingsprogramplatformkeuse te maak en die AppSheet-platform is gekies en aangewend. Dit is ontwikkel en toegepas op die mobiele data-insamelingsmodules vir bogenoemde funksies. Nog 'n keusematriks is gebreuk vir die keuse van hardeware-gereedskap om die toepaslike sensorapparate te bepaal wat gebruik word vir die meting van werkwinkeldata gebruik deur die gereedskapfabriek-personeel. Die Google Sheets-wolkrekenaarplatform is gebruik vir die ontwikkeling van die ‘back-end’ databasis. Verslae oor koste-analise, hulpbronprestasie en bestellingsstatus is deur die stelsel in-tyd vir prosesbeplanning, herskikking en instandhoudingsbesluite genereer. Die stelsel waarsku die gebruiker in gevalle van veranderinge binne die gereedskapwaarde-stroomproses. Die ontwikkelde stelsel is deur 'n geselekteerde maatskappy gevalideer vir verskeie scenario's en gevalle. Die stelseluitsette toon dat die gebruik van mobiele toestelle en webgebaseerde wolkrekenaarplatforms vir data-insameling en manipulasie die werkswinkelvloer in-tyd data-insameling en sigbaarheid van 'n gereedskap-fabrieksomgewing effektief verbeter.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/104809
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