CAQ Software with Integrated Maintenance Module
The global market leader for micro-structured polymer chips relies on quality management software by Babtec. The CAQ (Computer-Aided Quality Assurance) solution has been one of the crucial working systems in Sony DADC’s “BioSciences” division since 2012. The module for maintenance tasks is now being employed as an important step on the path to paperless operation.
In 2009 Sony DADC (http://biosciences.sonydadc.com) ventured into the healthcare market with the founding of its BioSciences division. Ever since, complex plastic components for medical applications have been part of the portfolio of the company, which has made a name for itself since the 1980s primarily as the market leader in the area of optical storage media and digital solutions for the entertainment, education, and software industries. These medical components help to identify bacteria more quickly, for example, in order to ensure a more accurate diagnosis and ultimately the optimum treatment of the patient. For the production of these micro-structured polymer chips, the company can rely on more than 25 years of experience manufacturing CDs. In the BioSciences division, over 120 employees ensure ongoing process optimization in mastering, molding, bonding, and coating.
High degree of automation
Due to the high degree of automation in manufacturing, those in charge of the division decided in 2012 to introduce a professional CAQ solution. The investment in an expert solution was the logical consequence for a constantly growing portfolio with more and more series production and ever-increasing demands. Three CAQ providers were shortlisted after an extensive review of the market. A cost-benefit analysis resulted in the contract being awarded to Babtec. The decision-makers saw in the Wuppertal company’s solution most of their required specifications already covered by the standard software. In addition, the range of functions offered was rated as having the best cost effectiveness. It was the goal from the start to optimally adapt existing processes to the cutting-edge solution. In addition to already existing ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) and document control solutions, the new software should in the future function as one of the main IT systems within the company. With success: Today about half of all the employees in the BioSciences division are productively working daily with the “Babtec.Q” QM software.
Connecting all gages
After implementing gage management at the start, the integration of all gages followed, along with the launch of the electronic inspections in incoming and outgoing goods as well as the in-production inspection. In addition, audit management is being used both for internal monitoring audits as well as supplier audits. Particular benefits of the solution are the varied assessment options in all the modules and the structured linking of data. Thanks to clearly arranged management reports, senior management has had significantly better insight into quality management (QM) since the introduction of the software. Monitoring of the processes occurs via e-mails that are automatically sent to all those in charge.
Maintenance as a quality issue
Since the condition of the manufacturing facilities contributes to the quality of the product, the BioSciences division views maintenance as part of quality management. With this in mind, those in charge decided in 2015 to introduce in this area another software module included in Babtec.Q for this purpose. The division’s managers are thereby remaining faithful to their commitment to implement as many tasks as possible with just as few IT systems as absolutely necessary. They sought an active exchange with Babtec before the implementation. Shortly after the first presentation of the software module at the end of 2014, there was another meeting in January 2015 to jointly define a list of user requirements. Based on this, a schedule for implementing various must-meet and should-meet requirements was later created to determine a realistic date for launching the module. In addition, support of the medical technology standard DIN EN ISO13485 was especially significant. The requirements defined there for maintaining infrastructure needed to be optimally supported by the software. Activation proved to be especially easy, since all modules are always available in the software and can be activated at any time. Extensive testing could thus be carried out before the go-live, which was planned for November 2015.
Up to the introduction of the software, BioSciences worked with time-consuming Excel lists for its maintenance processes. Macros ensured the automated initiation of certain processes and were intended to support the structured maintenance and repair of machines, among other things. Due to increasing complexity and the danger of thereby losing oversight, the requirement for additional automation grew. With the new software module, this wish has now come true for maintenance as well. Any breakdowns, for example, could be displayed and immediately processed in a centralized overview or in the context of a machine. In addition, employees are continually automatically reminded of their tasks by means of a web-based tool. When a new shift starts, for example, the structured documentation in the software ensures noticeably shorter downtimes. The basic expense for maintenance tasks is thus reduced and costs decrease. The shift book on paper has thus completely given way to the digital listing of breakdowns.
Improvement and removing weaknesses
An additional advantage of a database-driven solution is the structured display of a machine’s service life. By the the user being able to access the history of each machine, the continuous development of the machine’s own maintenance strategies goes hand in hand with this. Completed maintenance and repairs as well as breakdowns and status changes are seamlessly and automatically documented here. Furthermore, solution strategies can be stored for repairing outages, and thus a knowledge database can be gradually developed. The company’s own empirical values that have proven effective over the years can be centrally documented in this way. Existing expertise about the machinery is thereby always up-to-date and can be kept in the company for the long term even after experienced employees have retired.
Automation technician in the BioSciences division
Sony DADC Austria AG in Anif, Austria