Original Date: 07/13/1992
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Development and Implementation of a Tool/Gage Management System
Prior to the development and implementation of a tool/gage management system initiative, Watervliet Arsenal (WVA) was using manual methods to control tools and gages used in its manufacturing programs. Problems experienced included delays in getting the right tool to the job (20% of schedules missed); difficulty in interfacing with three separate databases; generation of duplicate tooling; restricted traceability; and utilization was labor intensive.
To solve these problems, WVA established a joint WVA/contractor team to develop and implement a Tool/Gage Management system. This team included a tool specialist and gage specialist from WVA and a program manager and software programmer from the contractor. The original proposal specified commercial off-the-shelf software. Following a site visit and research into the needs of the active users, the proposal was changed to specify custom-developed software and the plan was modified for Arsenal-wide implementation and to provide 24-hour coverage.
A phased delivery program for software revisions was established allowing for exhaustive review to perform transaction validation, edit checking of ranges, and evaluate suggestions for improvement. Data conversion from the existing method to the automated system presented many challenges including integration of three separate files; inconsistency in numbering schemes; duplicate drawing numbers; format conversions; lack of crib specific location records; lack of accurate quantities between files; lack of dedicated programming staff; and no pre-conversion edit checking.
To ensure that data conversion was accurate, an exhaustive verification process for all data fields was established featuring multiple download and iterative program fixes.
The system design was conceptualized with the user requirement in mind. Users include tool/gage administrators and specialists, crib attendants (eight sites), warehouse workers (three warehouses), metrology specialists (five sites), and tool room workers. Needed features were issuing and receiving, stock locations, allocation to site, inventory gains/losses, scrappage, purchase order status, reorder/restock levels, and calibration recall notices.
This system was installed in the early 1990's utilizing a text-based system, running on Open VMS platform. WVA now is in the process of converting this system over to a Commercial Off-the-Shelf, Web-based, GUI system. This new system will tightly interface with their Process Planning system to provide even better control and usage of tools and gages, with the added benefit of combining multiple databases on a single SQL ODBC database. Eliminating non-value added work associated with maintaining two distinct systems. Future enhancements will include better control of tool creation and modifications through out a tools life cycle.
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