Workpack Solutions has announced an update to their WIP (Work in Progress) Tracker. The specialist ERP solution created for the packaging industry has strengthened the modules ability to capture data during the manufacturing process. Additional functionality has improved the visualisation and reporting capability for that data.
Douglas Scranton, Senior Software Engineer at Workpack Solutions commented: “Folding carton manufacturers are always looking to gain more data that can improve efficiency of their overall production. And, solutions need to be easy install, integrate and use,” said. “WIP Tracker’s focus has always been on visibility, traceability and efficiency and now 2.0 provides easier connection options to equipment, set up and usability.”
Integrated into the manufacturing plant
Workpack released WIP Tracker last year. The latest version includes an updated hardware kit, some hands free calibration options and improved data speeds. The company claims that this version integrates with and accepts information from new points in print packaging machinery process. This innovation is something that Scranton comments further on saying: “We’ve integrated parts of the folding carton plant people haven’t really thought about before.These systems help them clarify production issues, highlight opportunities to improve set up time, organize data to evaluate job costing better, and provide information for respond quicker to a customer’s question or job status.”
Those integration points include optical sensor of information about electrical pulls. It is also possible to calibrate those sensors where possible through the software itself. This allows operators to change settings without the need to access the sensor, which might mean shutting down machinery.
The first generation used a shared data port for user and machine data. Workpack has now implemented separate data ports for the two sets of data. This delivers improved performance for both users and data flows.
Whether this is physical data point or IP Port is unclear. It is possible to deploy the Workpack Solution in the cloud and on-premises. The solution is not yet available as a SaaS based solution which might infer that this is a physical port separation.
Integration with ERP
Workpack Solutions claims the module integrates with other ERP solutions as well as its own. However, it didn’t specifically name any other solution. It is does have experience of integrating with databases according to its website and lists SQL Server, Progress, Oracle, MySQL, PostgreSQL, XML and more. Integration with ERP solutions from Oracle, Infor (Progress), Epicor and MS Dynamics (SQL Server) is not mentioned. WIP Tracking does seamlessly integrate with Workpack ERP solutions such as CartonERP, CartonWorks, CartonConnect, and Food PackERP.
Using a combination of hardware and Software WIP Tracker provides a toolkit for manufacturers to improve efficiency. By using live dashboards with real time data from the manufacturing process, manufacturers can use dashboards to see and track precise details about their processes. It is improving OEE (Overall equipment efficiency) and operator efficiency through the the insights provided by the analytics, reporting and dashboards in the module.
WIP tracker appears to do what it says on the tin. Information about the exact sensors it uses and what data is collected is not available in the press release or from the website. However this is an intriguing announcement about an interesting piece of software. While this does not seem to deliver M2M intelligence it does deliver a solution within the manufacturing plant. Whether Workpack can extend this to become an IoT solution would be interesting. They will have some customers where packing may soon include endpoints that can send back data. Whether Workpack has interest from its customer base to create this next generation IoT solution will be interesting.
What is missing from Workpack is supporting information. The press release concentrates on the improvements but with an update delivered so quickly after the first release one suspect that the release notes will have included some fixes to the first version as well. Customers that implemented the first version may well welcome this announcement and the implementation of the upgrade for that reason.