Track and trace

Citing a medium sized automotive parts producer that achieved an 18% reduction in error rate in the first six months after introducing its manufacturing execution system (MES), Forcam assert that track-and-trace has a positive and immediate bottom-line benefit.


This runs counter to the negative view held by some engineering subcontractors who may see traceability as a defensive measure and an obligation imposed by prime manufacturers to limit the impact of a product recall.

The key is that with the Forcam Force track-and-trace module in place, every operation has a digital profile. In the fully-connected workshop this stream of data is constantly analysed in the cloud.

With process digitisation it is possible to define what parameters characterise in-specification product: on a machining centre, for example, this could be a combination of data on spindle speed, time and power drawn. Deviations from this profile will flag suspect components and possible process problems before even on-machine metrology can spot the issue. Forcam has produced a new guide for free download at

Andrew Steele, Forcam’s UK managing director explained: “Transparency drives quality. By monitoring every manufacturing operation, taking feeds from embedded machine sensors, inputs from the human/machine interface, scanning parts bar codes as components progress through the shop and from other sources we can build a complete picture of operations. This data is processed in real time in the cloud to give role relevant feedback to plant managers, workshop supervisors and machine operators. Productivity is the main benefit, but having a complete history of component production and processing comes a close second.”

In the extreme case of recall, having a complete history of production operations significantly reduces disruption and associated costs: “Data from Forcam Force streams directly into the ERP system enabling complete backward and forward traceability through the supply chain, so suspect components or materials are more easily identified and recalled,” Mr Steele added.

Track and trace is just one aspect of Forcam Force, a comprehensive system for networking shopfloor operations to give information in real time for more effective production control. Users commonly report 20-30% productivity gains and use the system to sustain continuous improvement.



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