Acumen was selected by a well-known North American ball-bearing manufacturing company to deliver a shop floor control solution for many of its locations. This company’s product range includes needle roller bearings, linear solutions, actuation systems and engine components. A roller bearing is a machine element that transmits, with a minimum of friction, a load between two surfaces moving in opposite directions. It consists of two rings: the inner ring and the outer ring. Between these rings, the rolling elements run in raceways. To prevent contact between the rolling elements, they are guided and evenly spaced by a cage.

Acumen provided not only wireless inventory control and shop floor data collection but also matching software to authenticate ERP’s BOM.

Acumen provided Time and Attendance, Inventory Control and Shop Floor Control with enhancements to provide a matching ability beyond the BOM in the ERP for this company. Typically, rings and rollers need to be matched by size, material type and lot. These jobs, which were once manual, are now automated by Acumen.

Requirements & Objectives

  • Real Time
  • Wireless
  • Inventory Control

Inventory Control Mission Statement

To significantly increase inventory control and tracking accuracy, speed and quality by incorporating the latest technology in automatic data collection.

To implement the Inventory software package using RF handheld terminals and barcode labeling to track the movement of materials in and out of inventory and to assure the correct components are used within the manufacturing processes.

Inventory System Overview

Items enter the inventory in a variety of ways. Balls are received from outside vendors, checked and entered into inventory. Rollers are machined in house, measured, packaged and entered into inventory, and cages are machined in house, then entered into inventory. Inner and outer rings are machined in house, staged in inventory, measured, then entered into inventory. All finished goods are assembled in house, packaged and entered into inventory.

Items primarily exit inventory in two ways:

  • As a build package for assembly. Items are picked and kitted to be sent to the assembly floor.
  • As a finished goods delivery.


Balls are received in their completed state. After being received, they are to be entered into the inventory system, capturing part, measurement and quantity information. A tracking label is then printed and applied to the container.


After machining and measuring the rollers, they are to be entered into the inventory system, capturing the part, measurement and quantity information. A tracking label is printed and applied to the container.


After machining the cages, they are entered into the inventory system, thus capturing part and quantity information. A tracking label is printed and applied to the container.


After machining, the rings are entered into the inventory system, capturing part and quantity information. A tracking label is printed and applied to the container. Rings will then be measured, the container will be split and new labels will be provided for each new ‘container’. For each split, measurement information is captured.


Items are scanned out of inventory based on a ERP build order. Items may be released to the floor or entered into a reserved location against the order. After assembly, finished goods are labeled and scanned back into inventory.

Serialized products are entered into the inventory system that allows for cross-reference of component items to the finished good.

Finished goods labeling may be a two-step process, labeling both the inner sealed package and the outer box.

ERP Interface

Polling for transactions is to be used for inventory transaction updates. PutDATA will create the file and move it to the proper location on a prescribed schedule. Inventory updates from ERP will be performed through the use of database triggers placed on the appropriate tables within the ERP database. PutDATA will also have a function for reconciling the ADS database to the ERP database on a scheduled basis.

Inventory Functions

  • Physical Inventory
  • Pick
  • Put Away
  • Print / Re-Print
  • Status
  • Assembly Pick
  • Job to BOM Verify
  • Move
  • Item Lookup
  • Container
  • Make
  • Load
  • Fill
  • Split
  • Reserve
  • Change
  • Ship
  • Receive

Shop Floor Control Mission Statement

To deploy a real-time shop floor data collection and tracking system for jobs and labor. The system will be able to operate without the support of the integrated counterparts (ERP), by virtue of running its own database. The database will then need to be replicated with the appropriate data from either system to perform validation. From that, replication will synchronize the appropriate data between the ADS system and ERP within a 5 to 10 minute timeframe. In the event the ERP system goes down, the ADS system will allow work, to continue what is already in process as well as allow temporary work order entry and traveler printouts. When the system recovers, temporary work orders will be reconciled by entry into ERP and release from ADS.

The design components of job tracking are available in Shop Floor Data Collection.

The components of labor management are available within Time and Attendance.

The design of replication between ERP and ADS is required, and is a function of the replication service.

Shop Floor System Overview

The system is comprised of wireless data collection terminals connected via Access Points to Ethernet, back to a server; resident on the server is the data collection and data replication service. The active server pages and web server IIS is resident on the server. Administrative personnel will have client software load on their desktops. Payroll will use Time and Attendance and operations will use Shop Floor Control (these users are likened to “super user” status). Supervisors can access data using Internet Explorer 5.0 or better.

Job & Labor Data Collection

The terminals are strategically located throughout the shop floor. At manufacturing operation points the employee can START or STOP a shop order.

Employees clock in to start their work day, and clock out to end their day. They use the lunch start / stop keys and break start / stop keys to identify unpaid stops in work and paid breaks in work respectively. Employees use operation / setup / rework / teardown start and stop keys to identify work performed against the shop orders, and the task key to identify indirect (non shop order) labor time.

SFDC Functions

  • Clock In/Out
  • Create Note
  • Task, Start Job
  • Manager Override
  • Machine Up / Down
  • Machine Status
  • Start /Stop Operation
  • Activity
  • Accept / Reject / Reason
  • Close Operation
  • Start / Stop Maintenance
  • Task
  • Lunch In /Out
  • Break In / Out
  • Department Transfer
  • Cell In / Out
  • Job In / Out of Cell

Software Components

Data Collection

When “live”, Data Collection captures terminal transaction. The transaction is logged in a circular file named Log.txt, usually found in the same directory as Data Collection. Next, the transaction is written to the Raw Table in the database, then the Time Table. Data Collection looks ahead to the schedules and will start processing transactions from Raw transactions to Processed. Processed transactions will be color coded black if “OK”, red if in error, and blue if waiting processing. Once processed, the transactions are also “tagged” with appropriate system generated messages, such as “Early”, “Late”, “Good”, et cetera.

Terminal transactions are validated via Data Collection. Regardless of positive or negative results of validation the transaction is logged into the LOG.txt file. Validation levels are the presence of the data in the appropriate table in the database, as well as validation to schedules, job operation sequences and quantities.

Time and Attendance

Time and Attendance is the labor / time and attendance administrative module. Rules and information from the company level through that of the employees are configured and maintained via this module. Editing and reporting can be performed and produced via this module.

Shop Floor Control (SFDC)

Shop Floor Data Collection is the manufacturing order administrative module. Standards are maintained within this module, and orders can be reviewed and entered. Parts and operations can be viewed, edited and entered via SFDC Machine centers can be maintained, Job Time Cards can be edited and Job reports can be produced within this module.


Inventory is the inventory control module. Inventory locations, items, reorder levels and reporting are administered within Inventory.

Data Replication

Data Replication is the ERP integration module. Data replication and synchronization is performed within this module.

MRP Interface

Many MRP interfaces are supported.