This is #newtk: hands-on performance with Pro Gloves
Automotive-sector | Digitalisation and industry 4.0 | future of production | Smart factory | trends of technology | All over the world, our colleagues at thyssenkrupp are working to safeguard the future of our company by making it more flexible, more efficient, and more high-performance. In our new #newtk strategy, we are putting performance center stage. Often, even small but clever changes are enough to significantly optimize operative processes – for example, the use of innovative scanner gloves.
There is always a lot going on at our automotive locations: Our component experts manage up to 1,200 individual components from around 150 suppliers from over 12 countries at each location. And every year they coordinate around 70,000 transports across four continents. And so it’s no wonder that we need employees at all our plants who can help with the assembly and logistics of our products.
In order for everyone to keep an overview the local team records all components in the system. This process is called sequencing. “In the past, we used standard scanners to record to record safety and multi-variant components to be assembled. In fact, it took us more time to pick up the scanner and put it away again than it did to actually scan it,” recalls Elsa Schneider, project coordinator at our Hambach axle assembly site in France. This was a cumbersome process for the employees because, in order to have their hands free for the scanner, they first had to take off the respective components. And when it came to assembly activities, they often had to work with their hands above their heads – a posture that is not only uncomfortable, but also leads to painful muscle tension.
Small change, big effect: introducing ProGloves
Together with her colleagues, Elsa Schneider decided to solve these problems. They introduced a simple but highly effective solution: the ProGloves – gloves with an integrated scanner that Elsa’s colleagues in Hambach can use for many tasks now. And they no longer want to do these tasks without them. The reason is simple: With the new tool, assembly staff have both hands free and are able to lift and put down even heavy components such as cardan shafts quickly and easily. This saves them up to 50 percent time in the scanning process.
With the upcoming next generation, the gloves will even provide employees with direct feedback at each completed process step: The scanner will then use light and vibration signals to draw the user’s attention to the most important system information. The colleague thus knows immediately whether the work step carried out is correct. This reduces errors, improves quality, and even provides the valuable input to continuously optimize the process.
The scanner gloves can be put into operation directly at any station via plug and play, especially because of their practical size. Thanks to the compact design, the digital helpers can be used for various assembly tasks – no matter if robust front axle or small piece.
Practical experience has shown that this innovation, which literally comes in handy, significantly improves work processes. This has brought the location a big step forward in terms of efficiency, flexibility, productivity, and, last but not least, occupational safety.
“Keeping it simple” – a successful approach for a better performance
For Elsa Schneider, who is currently setting up a competence center for innovative ideas with some of her colleagues, the introduction of ProGloves is a logical consequence of her team’s local innovation approach: “In Hambach we use to say ‘keep it simple,’ and I believe that this is a smart way to improve our performance. Because our experience has shown us that in order for all our colleagues to be involved and for the project to be successful, we have to think simply. With ProGloves, we have followed exactly this approach.”