Blog authored by Chet Namboodri, Cisco and Patrick Gilbert, AeroScout Industrial
Last week, at an Internet of Everything event in Chicago, Cisco and its partners showcased how an increase in connected devices is improving lives and businesses in both private and public sectors. From connected energy to more efficient hospitals to smart cities, the Internet of Everything (IoE) is producing real, transformative results. Amongst industries—even considering all of the existing automation and controls implementations from the last 50+ years—manufacturing has the most potential for growth and development by connecting the unconnected, estimated by Cisco to have nearly $4 trillion in IoE opportunity value at stake through 2022.
During a panel on IoE in Business, Stanley Black & Decker announced the results and estimated productivity savings, upside revenue, and risk cost avoidance of a new Connected Factory Wireless implementation conducted with Cisco and AeroScout Industrial. Stanley Black & Decker, headquartered in New Britain, Connecticut, is a leading global provider of hand tools, power tools and related accessories, mechanical access solutions, electronic security and monitoring systems, and products and services for industrial applications. They’re generally familiar to anyone who’s ever tried their hand at remodeling or handiwork. In 2005, Stanley Black & Decker opened a new plant in Reynosa, Mexico, to manufacture dozens of products, such as jigsaws, planers, cordless drills, floodlights, and screwdrivers for the DeWALT brand and lawnmowers for the Black & Decker brand.
Managing this scale of production – the factory produces millions of power tools each year – offers many challenges. Because the factory produces more than 40 different models, with the volatility of global consumer and business demands, the line ultimately requires speedy change over and effective asset management. In the past, schedules and production output, quality control and shift changes had to be tabulated and managed by hand which can be cumbersome and time-consuming. However, the management in Reynosa recognized the potential benefits that real-time production visibility could bring to the plant.
Stanley Black & Decker (SB&D) partnered with Cisco and AeroScout Industrial, introducing Internet of Things (IoT) technology to build out a fully connected production line with Real-Time Location System (RTLS), powered by Cisco’s robust wireless network and AeroScout Industrial’s leading enterprise visibility solutions. The RTLS includes small and easily deployed Wi-Fi active RFID tags that attach to virtually any material and provide real-time location and status to assembly workers, shift supervisors, and plant managers. Because the AeroScout Wi-Fi tag is integrated with the line quality Programmable Logic Controller (PLC), production results are immediately sent to management when the SB&D router box is weighed at final test.
Additionally, the Reynosa plant installed a Cisco Unified Wireless Network infrastructure. Having wireless enabled by Cisco throughout the plant meant Reynosa did not have to spend the resources laying the network, but could use the existing strong connections to better inform its employees and ultimately provide value to its end customers.
After the deployment, the plant saw labor utilization improvements of 12 percent, increased throughput by around 10 percent, and reduced material inventory carrying costs by ten percent. Additionally, management and executives have been able to accelerate more-informed decisions because they can monitor activity and respond in real time, while employees are more empowered to notify supervisors of quality directly from the line.
The plant is now expanding the deployment to all of Reynosa’s production lines, with a vision that the warehouse will eventually be able to track materials and components seamlessly, directing the appropriate materials to any given line.
As you can see, the potential return on investment for greater connectivity, connecting the unconnected in the workplace is remarkable. Stanley Black & Decker joins the ranks of many manufacturers who are reaping the benefits of modernizing their plant environments with future-proof manufacturing IoT solutions, while achieving greater efficiencies, throughput, and significant business outcomes in the present.