Barco – One platform for all digital work instructions

Nov 24, 2021 | Case studies

Barco was founded in 1934 in the town of Poperinge, in the Flemish-speaking region of Belgium. Founder Lucien de Puydt’s initial business was to assemble radios from parts imported from the United States-hence the name of his company, the Belgium American Radio Corporation, or “Barco.”

Today, Barco is a global technology leader that develops networked visualization solutions for the entertainment, enterprise and healthcare markets Barco is specialized in the manufacture of digital projection and imaging devices.

At Barco, assembly processes are very complicated. Moreover, at the same workstation, up to 14 different product variants can be assembled. This results in a steep learning curve. It takes a lot of training for an operator to become fully operational. Temporary workforces can hardly be integrated in the production. Even with experienced operators, there is still a significant amount of scrap and rework required.

In order to streamline and orchestrate the manufacturing on the shop floor, Barco has implemented SAP ERP Production Planning and Manufacturing Execution, SAP ME.
Still, a lot of pressure remains on the operator to do assembly tasks faster and with higher quality.

Operator Guidance

At the start of the assembly process, the operator selects which of the 14 product variants he needs to assemble. The platform projects specific step-by-step instructions directly on the workbench and highlights the area where the subsequent action needs to be performed.

This way, the operator doesn’t need to memorize the entire assembly process, nor does he need to constantly keep in mind which product variant he is making.

Arkite Operator guidance Platform helps the operator to:

  • Become operational with less training
  • Support multiple product variants sooner
  • Work faster
  • Make fewer mistakes

Above each workstation, we installed a Arkite Platform along with a projector. The purpose of our platform is to guide the operator during the assembly process, using its state-of-the-art Augmented Reality technology. As such, the platofrm helped Barco reach the objectives below:

  • Operator Guidance
  • Process Standardization
  • Error Prevention
  • Operator Training

To find more about the Arkite Platforms added value for each of the aspects above, read the next page.

“It was fantastic to see the interplay between SAP and Arkite! Thanks to the smooth integration, I can track each stage and worker along the entire assembly process, while my workers get interactive guidance. The Arkite system helped us to reduce the time that was needed in training and assembly processes. I would be more than happy to recommend it, it definitely increased transparency on the shop floor.”
Christophe Defreyne
Product Engineer Mechanics

Process standardization

Since every operator receives the same instructions  in the same order, the platform also ensures a product is always assembled in exactly the same way.

The assembly process is standardized and operator independent.


Error prevention

The platform also warns the operator in case of any error in a forward-looking manner. If an operator executes a task at a wrong time or location, he is informed by a colored error projection. In case he tries to use a smart tool, like for example an electric screwdriver, at an improper time or location, the platform will disable the tool and prevent it from being used.

As a result, the amount of scrap and rework during manual assembly could be drastically reduced.

Operator training

The operator guidance provided by the platform resulted in a reduction of the training time of more than 50%.

Moreover, temporary workforces can now be easily integrated in the production.

In general, operators are able to complete assembly processes a lot faster.


Smart tool integration
SAP integration

Since the manufacturing process is orchestrated by SAP ERP and SAP ME, each workstation is also interacting with SAP ME:

  • Before the operator uses a part in the assembly process, he first has to scan the part’s barcode.

SAP ME checks whether the part is in the bill of materials for the product variant.

After approval, the operator can continue assembling the product.

  • SAP ME also monitors the stock level of all materials.

As the safety stock level is approached, the required stock procurement is triggered in SAP ERP.

  • The successful completion of each work step is reported back to SAP ME.

A shop floor manager can see the real-time status of overall assembly task as well as the history of each operator’s assembly process through SAP Manufacturing Execution.

In the current implementation at Barco, there is only one product with multiple variants to be assembled at a workspace. But this is only the start.

Going forward, there is room to optimize production by assembling multiple products each with multiple variants at a single workspace by any operator.

In these kinds of scenarios, the true value of the integration between Arkite and SAP ME comes to fore, when SAP ME sends over guidance worksteps customized to the product-variant-operator combination. This is incredibly powerful.

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