The Barden Corporation
Barden is the pre-eminent leader in super precision ball bearing manufacturing in the world today. Barden super precision bearings excel in applications where bearings of lesser quality have failed. The Industrial Division supplies rolling bearing and plain bearing solutions and linear and direct drive technology for around 60 different industrial sectors. Comprising more than 225,000 products from miniature bearings only a few millimeters wide, e.g. for dental drills, to large-size bearings with an outside diameter of several meters, e.g. for wind turbines. The renowned “Aerospace” Business Unit manufactures high- precision bearings for aircraft, helicopters, and rocket engines.
Use of multiple, un-integrated Legacy time collection and shop floordata collection systems (SFDC).The software provider dropped support for non-integrated SFDC.The host was a mainframe, which required employees to transfer data manually by carrying media to and from terminals, affectionately called “Sneakernet.”
- Indirect connections between employee clock ins/outs and job starts.
- Unproductive time needed to be captured to quantify indirect labor costs.
- Breaks not automatically deducted from job time, which became cumbersome upon employees to clock out and then interrupt jobs.
- A need to understand “true” efficiencies rather than “guesstimates,” particularly with multiple employees running multiple job processes.
“ACUMEN DATA SYSTEM’S SOLUTION SOLVED ALL OF OUR INTEGRATION PROBLEMS. OUR SHOP FLOOR DATA COLLECTION SYSTEM NOW SEAMLESSLY FLOWS WITH TIME AND ATTENDANCE—SAVING TIME AND MONEY AND INCREASING PRODUCTION AND OUR BOTTOM LINE.”
Acumen provided a certified interface that allowed bi- directional communication. This included Time and Attendance, Inventory Control and Shop Floor Control with enhancements to provide a matching ability beyond the BOM in the ERP. 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. They needed it to be real-time and wireless with inventory control sand with shop floor data collection.
Barden—the leader in super precision ball bearings— came to Acumen Data Systems with a variety of challenges. Its Industrial Division comprised more than 225,000 products from miniature bearings only a few millimeters wide, e.g. for dental drills, to large-size bearings with an outside diameter of several meters, e.g. for wind turbines.
Barden’s renowned Aerospace unit manufactures high- precision bearings for aircraft, helicopters, and rocket engines. It needed Acumen to help it continue to accurately meet the challenge of manufacturing to super- precise/super-critical tolerances, for which Barden is recognized as an industry leader.
Working with a non-upgradable time and attendance system that failed to communicate effectively with its job floor, Barden needed a solution for its high volume inventory control and manufacturing environment with multiple inputs and outputs. It needed a precision tool to not only manage its supply chain, but bring together its SAP with its BOM and ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning).
“WE‘VE USED THEIR TIME AND ATTENDANCE AND SHOP FLOOR DATA COLLECTION SOFTWARE FOR OVER 10 YEARS. ACUMEN HELPS US CONFIGURE THE PRODUCTS FOR OUR SPECIFIC NEEDS AND PROVIDES THE NECESSARY TRAINING. WITHOUT ACUMEN, OUR DAILY MANUFACTURING PROCESSES WOULD BE VERY DIFFICULT TO MANAGE.”
And as supply chains grow in complexity and evolve into supply networks, they become more obscure. Acumen believes that identification of waste is paramount as inefficiency grows and critical visibility decreases. This, in turn, can cause frustrating delays, bloated inventories and higher costs. A proprietary, standardized and certified SAP interface with an ERP provides firms like Barden fast access to supplier information, creating a transparent supply network that fosters efficient collaboration for a more agile and responsive network. So Acumen set to designing such a system for multiple locations.
The roller bearing assembly for which Barden is famous, is of course, like every other widget that’s manufactured, a complex device. Simply put, a bearing transmits, with a minimum of friction, a load between two surfaces moving in opposite directions. And like everything else, it has many parts.
First, two rings: the inner ring and the outer ring. Between them: the rolling elements—the ball bearings themselves—run in raceways. To prevent contact between the rolling elements, they need guidance, and evenly spaced. That’s the job of the part known as the cage. Typically, the rings and rollers need to be matched by size, material type and lot. What used to take an employee all day, now takes seconds once automated. With Acumen-supplied RF handheld terminals and barcode labeling, every part and component, its movement, in and out of inventory, is tracked and blended seamlessly into the total job.
Acumen brought the PC onto the shop floor with touchscreen, RF WiFi, and electronic time data terminals. They provided not only wireless inventory control and shop floor data collection, but matching software to link and authenticate the ERP’s BOM.
With time and attendance, inventory control and shop floor control seamlessly integrated, the Acumen- designed system provided a matching ability beyond the BOM in the ERP. Now, when the employee with several heat-treat batch jobs needed to take lunch, he didn’t need shut down his jobs and then use the “sneakernet”—walking the data storage device from a computer at one part of the plant over to a computer at the other end of the plant.
Acumen ensured that items at Barden entered inventory in a variety of ways—each carefully monitored and recorded every step of the way. Balls are received from outside vendors, checked and entered into inventory. Rollers and cages, machined in house, are measured, packaged and entered into inventory. The same for inner and outer rings. At the end of the line, the finished bearings are assembled in house, packaged and entered into inventory as complete—all saving time and money with an advanced and integrated Acumen job floor tracking system.
Items are scanned out of inventory based on the bearing manufacturer’s ERP build order. With entry devices like mouse/keyboard, touch screens, and barcoding. Items could be released to the floor or entered into a reserved location against the order. After assembly, Barden finished goods were labeled and scanned back into inventory.
The system allowed serialized products to be entered into the inventory system, allowing for cross-reference of component items to the finished good. It gave the company a two-step process, labeling both the inner sealed package and the outer box.
Inventory transaction updates are easy. A proprietary Acumen system creates the file and moves it to the proper location on a prescribed schedule. Inventory updates from ERP uses database triggers that are placed on the appropriate tables within the ERP database. The real value comes with updating milestones through scheduling modules that provide real-time job status. Instant messaging between shop floor employees and the front office ensure constant oversight and shop floor operator comments can be recorded on job jackets.
This way the status of all departments involved in the workflow is monitored. You are tracking at your fingertips labor, productivity, equipment utilization, spoils, and production rates. You can pull detailed reports on each employee to determine the actual amount of time that was spent working on a particular job. In the end, Acumen made a complex process simple. With a robust system design, we implemented production modules like estimating, job costing, scheduling, purchasing, barcoding, shipping, chargebacks, and fulfillment. In the end, Barden took their shop floor data collection and timekeeping to a new level of efficiency and profit.