Mobile printing system at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Poland Sp. z o.o.
Objective of the implementation:
- Durable pallet labelling using QR codes
Benefits of the implementation:
Toyota Motor Manufacturing Poland Sp. z o.o. was created in 1999 in Wałbrzych. The company is a European centre of manufacturing traditional and hybrid drivetrains of Toyota. It manufactures petrol engines, manual and semi-automatic gearboxes and it is the first entity of Toyota from outside Asia to manufacture technologically advanced hybrid gears, a flag technology of Toyota. The factory in Wałbrzych and the one in the company branch in Jelcz-Laskowice supply the assembly plants of Toyota vehicles in Czechia, France, the United Kingdom, Russia, Turkey, South Africa, and Japan. The company started also to manufacture electrical engines nondependently, being an integral component of the electrical drive of hybrid gearing which is a vital step in the development of its plants towards electromobility. Toyota has confirmed the leading position of its strong and high-quality brand in many rankings in the automotive sector.
The company from Wałbrzych supplies and ensures not only high-quality automotive components, but also effective course of processes used to manufacture, test, or store them. It responds when any operations are not optimum. This is why in 2020 the company decided to improve work of its personnel handling the stored products in manufacturing and warehouse halls.
Such products as engines and gearboxes in Toyota Motor Manufacturing Poland Sp. z o.o. plants are placed on metal pallets with appropriate labelling. Until recently, the pallets were marked with labels which, unfortunately, did not withstand conditions found in such a kind of industrial environment. They were damaged, soiled and detached, meaning that they did not make it easier to identify pallets, particularly the ones where the barcode was no longer possible to read. To solve that, it was agreed to replace the pallet labelling with a new one, including replacement of the existing linear barcodes with two-dimensional QR codes. The development of an appropriate solution was entrusted to SKK S.A.
The mobile label printing station proposed by SKK comprised an autonomous thermal transfer label printer, 2D code reader, portable power supply in the form of a suitable powerbank, special software developed for the customer’s needs and specialised adhesive labels. The system operation is to scan the codes from the existing labels using the code reader, as result of which the read information is transferred to the printer. Next, the printer control programme starts printing a duplicate label, replacing the linear code with a QR one. The scanning process is carried out by the operator, but the subsequent part takes place automatically. In the rare cases of a damaged and illegible original code, it is possible to connect a keyboard and enter the pallet number manually and then to print it as the QR code. The system is placed on a trolley to ensure its convenient moving on the plant premises
The implementation comprised labels with excellent adhesive properties to the demanding substrate, i.e. the soiled and rough surface of metal pallets, resistant e.g. to mechanical damage, which may easy to occur in factory halls, and to weather conditions as some pallets are placed outdoors.
The mobile label printing system was first delivered to the company seat in Wałbrzych and, as it turned out great, some time later Toyota ordered an identical set for its branch in Jelcz-Laskowice.
Thanks to the implemented solution, several thousand pallets were labelled in the two plants. The system enabled to carry out the label duplicating process for the pallets effectively. A factor contributing to it was, certainly, its mobility, compact dimensions, and easy operability. Consequently, the pallets have professional, durable and aesthetic labelling now which translates into their effective and reliable identification, saving time required for it.
Satisfaction with the system made the company expand its use, e.g. for printing labels for the new pallets or other plant equipment. In turn, double labelling the pallets (with the same label, but on two different sides) facilitated their identification also for the robot picking products from the assembly line. The latter process resulted in a full return on investment right in the initial two months.