* These are Tibbo BASIC/C-programmable devices and their function depends on the loaded app.
We offer many ready-to-use apps, among them a serial-over-IP (SoI) app and Modbus Gateway app.

Reliable, Cloud-Enabled Traceability

The manufacturing of most modern products can be incredibly complicated. A higher degree of complexity correlates with an increased chance of errors occurring in the production process. Consistently ensuring the quality and safety of finished goods is of the utmost importance in manufacturing. This is typically achieved through a quality control (QC) stage immediately after production.

However, numerous factors can affect the effectiveness of QC procedures. For example, despite advancements in technology and automation, QC processes in many industries still require a great deal of human interaction, which can result in errors that affect product quality. In some instances, analog record-keeping makes it harder to glean important insights about quality issues.

Implementing a traceability system is one way of ensuring that all procedures are properly carried out. Traceability allows manufacturers to follow the step-by-step progress of a product being made throughout the entire process. An effective traceability system helps manufacturers prevent quality issues from reaching end users and quickly respond to any problems that would have otherwise arisen in the field. It can also provide valuable insights into issues that are apparent only after manufacturing has begun (e.g., a component whose high failure rate is detected only after assembly).

Tibbo Traceability Solution

Generally speaking, for a traceability system to be effective, it requires the ability to identify each unit in production. This is typically achieved through the use of barcodes, which are scanned at each step of production.

Tibbo's solution for traceability consists of three components:

  • WS1102 programmable serial controller with an attached barcode scanner
  • TPS2L(G2) modular automation platform with an LCD screen
  • A database and app hosted on Microsoft Azure.

In our traceability system, the WS1102 primarily serves two purposes: receiving and processing data from the attached barcode scanner and as a gateway for secure communications with Azure. As it is a wireless serial controller, users can freely move the WS1102 and its barcode scanner between workstations. Its integrated buzzer and programmable LEDs provide the user with feedback as they progress through the system.

Forming the core of every workstation is a Tibbo Project System (TPS) controller. The TPS platform's modularity means that TPS2L(G2) can be tailored to the needs of its workstation, running a wide gamut of tests on the product being manufactured. However, the real magic is the configuration of WS1102 controllers via QR codes dynamically generated and displayed on the TPS' LCDs. This capability allows operators and their WS1102 to not only work in an assembly line setting, but also freely move between various workstations throughout the entire production and testing organization without reprogramming the controller. They just scan the code, and the WS1102 knows to which station it is deployed.

Once configured for a particular workstation, the WS1102 establishes a direct link with its TPS controller. This connection enables the TPS to send and receive data from Azure without requiring additional input from the operator.

In the cloud, Azure collects telemetry and keeps track of each step that a production unit has passed through. The system also records any additional data generated at each step of the production process. By providing a full accounting of a product's life in the manufacturing process, this cloud-based system is critical for identifying production steps that are missed or improperly executed.

Note: As the WS1102 and TPS2L(G2) are Tibbo BASIC/C-programmable, they can be configured to work with nearly any cloud-services provider, including private clouds. We chose Azure due to our familiarity with the platform's offerings and its widespread popularity.

When a product is introduced at the first stage of the manufacturing process, the TPS controller assigns it a unique serial number. The unit converts this information into a QR or barcode, which is printed out to accompany the product for the rest of the process. As the product progresses through each workstation, scanning its barcode with the WS1102's reader sends telemetry to Azure securely. After the product has successfully passed through the entire production process, its serial number is included in its final labels for packaging and shipping.

Example QC Process

The operator arrives at the first workstation and connects the device under testing (DUT) to the workstation’s TPS2L(G2). With the barcode reader attached to their WS1102, they scan the QR code displayed on the TPS’ LCD. This QR code provides the station's ID and IP address for configuration, as well as the testing to be performed.

The operator presses the start button on the keypad, which causes the TPS to generate a QR code with the DUT’s newly assigned serial number. After this QR code is scanned, the TPS automatically begins performing its battery of tests.

Once the tests are complete, the TPS sends the results to Azure by way of the WS1102. An Azure Function analyzes the telemetry and replies whether the DUT passed, with the result displayed on the TPS’ LCD. At the same time, the TPS prints out the QR code associated with the DUT for later use. If the DUT fails any tests, it is removed for closer inspection and repairs before being reintroduced into the system for retesting.

At the second workstation, the operator connects the DUT to this station's TPS. They scan the QR code with the same WS1102, which is reconfigured to work at this workstation. As the DUT already has an assigned serial number, they simply scan its associated QR code to begin testing. Just as before, the battery of tests is run, with Azure keeping track of the results.

At the final workstation, the operator needs to conduct a visual inspection of the DUT. As this doesn't require a TPS, the station has a static identifying QR code. Scanning this QR code reconfigures the WS1102 for this workstation, and the operator can begin their inspection. If the product passes, they scan its associated QR code to inform Azure that the test has been completed.

With the QC process completed, the DUT's temporary barcode is replaced with its production labels, which include its serial number.

For a demonstration of the system in action, watch the video below:

Hardware Specifications:

Additional Resources:

Do you need more information? Looking to deploy Tibbo's traceability solution? Please feel free to contact Tibbo Support.