New levels of tool management

Tool cabinet security is essential to effective management
Tool cabinet security is essential to effective management

Whoever came up with the phrase ‘real and present danger’ could have been describing foreign object damage (FOD), though they no doubt had national security in mind.   

Whatever safeguards are put in place within aerospace manufacturing, MRO or line maintenance, the risks posed by foreign object damage (FOD) will always remain. Engineers and technicians are well aware of the potential consequences of hand tools going missing. As the risk can’t be removed then the focus must be on how to manage it through the use of advanced technology.

The cost of repairing airframes and engines damaged by FOD is staggering. According to Boeing it can be 20% or more of the damaged equipment’s original cost. Vital to avoiding FOD is knowing where every tool or piece of equipment is located and, better still, identifying who is using it.

An array of Snap-on Level 5 tool cabinets
An array of Snap-on Level 5 tool cabinets

Snap-on Industrial’s asset management system, Level 5, is so advanced that it verbally announces when tools are missing and tells workshop managers where they can find them.

Keeping track of every tool and piece of equipment, especially when several storage cabinets are in use, challenges workshop managers under pressure to deliver improved productivity, often with fewer skilled hands and tighter budgets. The benefits of professional tool storage and management become stronger than ever.

Says Richard Packham, director UK & Europe for Snap-on Industrial: “Snap-on’s automated system takes tool management to an entirely new level, giving workshop managers and other authorised users easy access to the tools they need for the job in hand while protecting against FOD. The ability to monitor several boxes from one central computer offers managers a huge time saving advantage.”

Automated control

Snap-on Industrial’s Level 5 automated total asset management system minimises the risk of human error, as automated tool control constantly tracks every tool and detects which tools have been removed or returned, ensuring greater protection against FOD. It also enables aviation and aerospace engineers and technicians to find every tool they need, when they need it, saving time and easing stress.

The system provides complete reports on everything managers or supervisors need to keep an eye on. They are even informed when a tool needs to be refilled or ordered.

Snap-on’s solutions for better tool visibility shorten the search time
Snap-on’s solutions for better tool visibility shorten the search time

Engineered to track individual tools by user automatically, without barcodes, scanners, RFID tags or other add-ons, the system works at the speed its users’ demand. Level 5 ATC boxes are network ready, using either Ethernet or wireless connection. Powerful software enables users to review activity at all boxes in their location from one central computer, avoiding the need to inspect each box.

Major benefits of the system include: No individual tool scanning required; No RFID tags to install or replace; No limitations on tool size: from ¼” screwdriver bit upwards; Intuitive interface, via touchscreen; Audible voice confirmation of tool removal and replacement; Automatic locking for maximum security; Errors announced and displayed to indicate incorrect tool position or advise when a drawer is not closed.

Administrators can view all boxes on the network, on or off-line, and see the status of each box, including the number of tools issued, identify active users, and review all history. System alerts, such as sending e-mails to supervisors, can be customised for lost or broken tools or calibration requirements. Reports can be created on each tool’s frequency of use, inspection and calibration dates as well as other specific location requirements.

Finding the right tool for the job in hand can take up even more time if the tool is difficult to spot. Snap-on’s solutions for better visibility shorten the search time. Coloured, oil-resistant foam inserts in profiled drawers, easily identified tool handles, boards and toolbox organisers increase visibility and improve team productivity.

The more organised the workplace the easier and quicker it is to meet schedules. Snap-on offers complete tool audits to determine what level of tool control each customer needs and tool assortments can be supplied to meet precise requirements. Tool cabinet security is essential to effective management. Snap-on’s solution to the problem of using keys, which can be lost or shared with others is simple: don’t use keys at all.

Level 5 boxes are equipped with Keyless Access Control, giving users the ease of access they need, but with security built in. The control system can be configured with magnetic cards, barcodes, PIN numbers and proximity cards. And using Snap-on’s proprietary software managers can control access from a system or network. Access control maintains productivity while keeping unauthorised users away.

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