JMA Wireless designs and builds in-building and outdoor mobile wireless systems, delivering technologies that enable LTE, 5G, and other services on mobile operator networks around the world. Based in Syracuse, New York, JMA has manufacturing, R&D, and sales operations in more than 20 locations worldwide. JMA has systems deployed in industries ranging from transportation to manufacturing to healthcare, and has products in most professional sports arenas.
With a growing business and worldwide demand for its solutions, JMA leaders wanted to increase the efficiency of its manufacturing operations, so they turned to the Ignition software platform in 2017, an application with tools for building solutions in human-machine interface (HMI), supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA), and the IIoT. “I use Ignition every day,” said Greg Jasek, manufacturing engineer at JMA. “I look at how our manufacturing processes are doing, our test results, our build logs. Are there any issues that could come up soon? Are there any issues that are already happening that we need to take action on? We use it for all our troubleshooting in the manufacturing area. It gives us a lot more agility when looking at problems and issues, and it gives us a faster response time.”
JMA has built more than 20 applications on top of the Ignition platform, and plans to create even more in the future. The software gives JMA numerous options for absorbing and analyzing data.
The result? Boosted productivity.
At its manufacturing facility in Syracuse, JMA uses Ignition for data acquisition, historical analysis, overall equipment effectiveness, product testing, and part tracking/reporting. JMA collects more data than it ever has before, which improves analysis of root causes and trends, and helps employees make faster, better decisions.
Data analysis provides valuable insights. “We can track each person who has touched a particular antenna,” said Jasek. “So if something has gone wrong, we can go back to that operator and correct things. Maybe they need more training, or maybe they need a tool. Ignition gives us a lot of power on that. And we can compare measurement data to our build log, and see that particular operators maybe have a higher average test yield than other operators. Ignition makes my job much easier. It allows me to look at data much quicker, compile data much quicker, and take action much quicker and more effectively. It’s much better than looking at paper and asking people what their opinion is, or trying to form theories without having data to back them up.”
The software has brought increased efficiency on several fronts. “With our jumper cables, we decreased our testing time by 30 percent, which is fantastic,” said Connor Maynes, an automation engineer with JMA. Francis Blanchard, JMA automation manager, said the company relies on the software’s interoperability. “One of the reasons we like Ignition is that it’s really easy to integrate with a database system,” said Blanchard. “And it’s also easy to exchange data with PLCs. We do a lot of data acquisition on the factory floor. We have over 30 PLCs, so we collect a lot of data on a daily basis.”
The software adoption is part of the company’s desire for constant improvement. “Ignition is really the foundation of our manufacturing improvement process,” said Jasek. “We have to collect the data first, to be able to analyze it and then take actions. Without data collection, we’d be guessing.”
JMA built a program to create numerous options for users of reports. Personnel can use a variety of filters, merge reports in different ways, schedule reports, and send them out to the right people, quickly and easily. “We can create different reports every single day,” said Jasek, who notes that JMA plans to leverage Ignition’s mobile capabilities soon, enabling service technicians in the field to access test data while doing installations.
It's all part of keeping pace, said Blanchard. "The wireless industry is moving fast. Ignition helps us easily deploy new applications."