MAS 2012 Proceeding

Improvement of thermochemical finishing processes: an application of a batch tracing system

Authors:   Robert Schoech, Ruth Fleisch, Christian Hillbrand


Manufacturing processes in the area of thermochemical treatment of work pieces impose lots of challenges due to the rough environment. High temperatures and the use of chemicals are aggravating conditions of salt bath nitrocarburizing processes, which are composed of preheating, nitrocarburizing, oxidizing, and multilevel cleaning. These stages are passed through consecutively, for what customer orders are combined in batches. At present, the implementation of batch tracing mechanisms is difficult or impossible due to the harsh environment. As a consequence, wrong assignments of the finished pieces to the customers may occur while a possibility of documentation of the parameters concerning the manufacturing process is desirable. In this paper, we discuss batch tracing by means of intelligent RFID technology (radio frequency identification), which involves connections to sensors for measurements of ambient parameters. This allows the company to offer new supplementary services to the customers and to design the process in a more flexible way like prioritizing time-critical orders. In order to prove the technical feasibility of batch tracing in the field of thermochemical treatment two test cases are described The first one is for gathering information about the functioning of the installed RFID system, the other one is the realization of the operational process in a simplified form.

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