Caterpillar is employing a real-time location system (RTLS) at its heavy-equipment manufacturing plant in Belgium to ensure its hydraulic valves and hoses are assembled properly. At the plant, it uses torque wrenches to fasten reinforced tube hoses--made of rubber and steel--to the valves. The valves, installed in the construction vehicles Caterpillar manufactures, are approximately the size of a car engine. When tightening a bolt that fastens a hose to a valve, a worker must apply a specific amount of torque--around 300 Newton meters--in order for that valve to operate properly. Until recently, that tightness was adjusted using a manual torque wrench, and employees had to be trusted to apply the proper amount of Newton meters.
For its assembly process, Caterpillar utilizes software to track each part's assembly, as well as who assembled it, and when. The software, running on PCs installed at assembly locations, enables a staff member to input his identification number and key in details such as the type of work he is about to conduct, and the serial numbers of the components he plans to assemble.
Source: RFID Journal
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