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In Elctronics or small industrial product companies during order execution process in each step, the technician does his/her assigned task and put the SFC (Individual trackable unit of the WIP product) back inside a multi rack trolley to move the order from one work station to another. If the production volume is high this movement process becomes one of their biggest challenges in shop floor level. It becomes difficult for workers to identify the physical order or shop floor control number easily inside a carrier out of multiple SFCs at each routing step, eventually they need to check each SFC number inside a carrier based on some pattern. So, business demands to have a well-defined mechanism available in shop floor execution system which can handle the tagging between SFC number, Routing step and physical carrier inside shop floor. This exact requirement can very well be addressed by the feature Carrier Management available in SAP ME 15.1 onwards. Here I will discuss Carrier Management feature in SAP ME in detail.

In SAP ME, A carrier can be a tray or a trolley that is used to move raw materials, semi-finished or finished goods (SFCs) from one location to another on the shop floor.

 

For availing this functionality, the user needs to maintain Carrier type first and based on the predefined carrier type worker can create carrier inside production order dashboard and subsequently SFC numbers can be mapped with the carrier. Below you can find the field details related to Carrier Type, main section and validation section.

Carrier Type Maintenance from in SAP ME: In Carrier Type Maintenance, you can define attributes that determine the carrier content, layout of the carriers and validation points.

Carrier Type: The name of the carrier type.

Category: In SAP ME, Carrier can be maintained for two categories, it either might be Production or Handling Unit.

Production: A type of a carrier used during manufacturing to transport a product on the shop floor. Note that carrier IDs of this carrier type category are generated based on the process lot pattern in Next Number Maintenance.

Handling Unit: Products placed into or onto packaging materials. Note that carrier IDs of this carrier type category are generated based on the packaging material type pattern in Next Number Maintenance.

Layout: The number of rows and columns in the carrier. It might be Trolley of 3 levels, containing 3 boxes  in each level. In that case Row and column value should be 3 in each field.

Total Carrier Max Qty: The total number of SFC numbers that production operators can add to the carrier during execution from POD. In the validation tab, you can put material number or material Group details, Production operators can add only those SFC numbers to the carrier that are based on the material or material group specified in the Value field.

 

Creating carrier in Production Order Dashboard screen:

So now from Production order dashboard, you can create a carrier and map it to any SFC number for the defined carrier type. For executing carrier creation activity in ME POD, a new button must be added first in POD Maintenance activity for your desired POD. As shown below CREATE_CARRIER activity should be attached to the newly introduced button. Also, in Layout tab add CREATE_CARRIER activity should be defined in pop up.

you should now see the newly added button in POD by which operator can create a new carrier. As soon as you select the carrier type you can see the carrier layout graphically. If you click on create button (This field is visible only if the ALLOW_CREATE_CARRIER rule is set to YES in Activity Maintenance.) a new carrier number will be generated, Carrier ID will be generated based on Next Number Maintenance for Process Lot, as the carrier type is Production.

 

For adding an SFC number inside the carrier, select a position inside the carrier and search SFC from the list and simply add it by Add button. In the below case 3 SFCs have been added in position 1-1, 1-2 and 3-2. If you want to see the details about the carrier assignment, please go the details button as highlighted by yellow marks. In the detail pop up you can see SFC number, Material number, position inside the carrier and the current operation. If you complete the SFC 999869 in the step 30 it will automatically be updated in Carrier details as well. So you can very well track the mapping between a SFC steps and Carrier position through carrier management option in SAP ME.

 

From the Go To menu under More, you can check the SFC and carrier mapping for a particualr cell or particular SFC number, as shown below either you need to pass the SFC number or the position as Row and Column. So that you can easily check the mapping.

 

You can remove all or only selected SFC numbers from the carrier. You can delete the carrier ID if the ALLOW_DELETE_CARRIER rule for the CREATE_CARRIER activity is set to YES in Activity Maintenance. Select the carrier position and Click on the Remove Selected button to remove the particular SFC number from carrier. As shown below 999871 SFC has been removed from position 3-2.

 

There is complete flexibility to map SFCs from different operation, different shop orders, different routers and different steps inside same carrier. For your reference, carrier PL1 containing SFC 999869 and 999870 from different operations.

 

Below activity rules need to be maintained in SAP ME.

Rule Setting
ALLOW_MIXED_ITEM

YES (default): Allows multiple materials to be added to a carrier

NO: Prevents multiple materials from being added to a carrier

ALLOW_MIXED_OPERATION

YES: Allows SFC numbers at different operations to be added to a carrier

NO (default): Prevents SFC numbers at different operations from being added to a carrier

ALLOW_MIXED_ROUTER

YES: Allows SFC numbers on different routings to be added to a carrier

NO (default): Prevents SFC numbers on different routings from being added to a carrier

ALLOW_MIXED_SHOP_ORDER

YES (default): Allows SFC numbers on different shop orders to be added to a carrier

NO: Prevents SFC numbers on different shop orders from being added to a carrier

ALLOW_MIXED_STATUS

YES: Allows SFC numbers with different statuses to be added to a carrier

NO (default): Prevents SFC numbers with different statuses from being added to a carrier.

 

 

As you can see from the above features, using Carrier Maintenance in SAP ME, tracking SFC between two work centres has become quite easier for the shop floor people. Carriers are quite flexible in terms of mixed SFC from different Operation, different Routing and different shop orders. This will ease life for shop floor people to execute orders and move orders from one work station to another work station and eventually it will help companies towards a paperless manufacturing.

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