IoT 2 mins read

How to Build Smart Kanban Boxes

In a few, easy steps you can enable a factory floor for Smart Kanban boxes, reducing manual intervention while ensuring that the right parts are available.

Murat Bayram Murat Bayram

In manufacturing, lean is good – especially when events cause supply chains to be disrupted and parts delayed.

Workers on a factory floor, for example, cannot complete a task if they don’t have the right parts. This is where Kanban comes in. Kanban is a philosophy of lean manufacturing, based on planned eliminating waste and continuously improving productivity.

Today, a “Kanban box” is an analog container of parts where workers physically mark the box when the part count is low. Another worker roams the floor looking for boxes with marks on them, goes to the warehouse, gets a new box and then replaces the old one. This is hugely inefficient and a waste of valuable man hours.

We’ve been brainstorming how to make Kanban boxes smarter, and the answer is automation and Internet of Things sensors.

What if you could use a smart button, like the Amazon Dash Button (no longer in use, but you get the idea), to trigger events such as an empty Kanban box? Buttons like these are cheap and easy to use. However, any other device that can communicate with a network can be used.

You can use Software AG’s Apama Analytics Builder to create rules around the incoming event such as alarms or measurements, and the Cumulocity IoT platform enables rapid connections of many, many different devices and applications. Using Cumulocity IoT you can monitor and respond to the IoT data from the Kanban box in real time and thus make your production much more efficient.

Here’s how: Got to my article on Github below or video on YouTube for more detailed instructions. It’s a fun exercise with a real Industrial Internet of Things application.

In a few, easy steps you can enable a factory floor for smart Kanban boxes, eliminating wasteful human intervention while ensuring that the right parts are available to the right person at the right time. This is the epitome of the Kanban philosophy.