DTNA decided that it needed to upgrade the network in its Western Star production facility to better coordinate truck customizations and support flexible and efficient operations, both now and in the future.
The company also wanted a new network to serve as a foundation for innovative production applications and automation systems, including RFID for asset tracking.
As Paul Erdy, Plant Manager of Western Star said, “We coordinate all of the parts coming together on a single truck. Each truck that comes down the line is like a snowflake—no two are alike. We offer different configurations of wheel bases, axles, colors, air cleaners, and other options, and we customize each truck to meet the needs of the customer.”
Improving Production Visibility in the Factory
DTNA turned to our two companies as strategic partners in this effort, designing and deploying a new network based on our jointly developed Converged Plantwide Ethernet (CPwE) validated design guide.
Secure and seamless Wi-Fi connectivity across the plant was critical since team leaders and supervisors needed to communicate reliably over wireless phones to manage production on the floor.
After installing the new network, wireless devices, such as iPads, can be used to confirm the truck configurations, check part supply levels, retrieve parts from the warehouse, and confirm truck status in real time.
A Secure, Award-winning Plant-to-Business Network
By combining IT and automation networks into one secure, manageable, and converged environment, DTNA managers have gained real-time visibility across production and operations. Data is transmitted securely to managers, helping them make better, faster decisions that keep plants running efficiently. Software-defined networking (SDN) also supports remote troubleshooting to minimize downtime when equipment needs maintenance or repair.
The architecture scales to any size or configuration, allowing DTNA to use the Western Star factory as a template, which it is rolling out across other factories including North Carolina and Mexico.
The deployment of this project was recently awarded a winner of a 2016 Manufacturing Leadership Award in the Enterprise Technology Leadership Category for its Portland Truck Manufacturing Plant Project.