Epirus Systems: Saving 12 hours per engineer per month with the ion analytics engine
PARTNER

Epirus is enhancing national security and saving lives from Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) attacks with the use of precise and human-safe high-powered microwave (HPM) technology. A state-of-the-art anechoic chamber is used to test each component of their counter-UAS product before system integration can begin. Additional testing is conducted to validate system effectiveness and operability before release, ensuring that the best product possible is pushed to the front line. In just nine months, Epirus took their directed energy product, Leonidas, from prototype to an operational system thanks to their agile and data-driven manufacturing operations. For precision builds and guaranteed quality with rigorous testing, the team at Epirus relies on ion.

Epirus implemented ion in April of 2020 to improve manufacturing throughput and material visibility at their factory in Hawthorne, CA. Before ion, engineers would spend time manually collecting data to support process improvement based on PDF processes. After ion, Epirus saved 2 hours per engineer per week by centralizing their production quality and configuration data into one unified view. After raising a $70M series B to multiply their defense and commercial applications, Epirus looked to ion by First Resonance to collect better data from their manufacturing process and blaze forward in being a data-driven organization.

CHALLENGE

Collect manufacturing data in real-time

Continuously improve factory workflows with data visualization

Democratize access to data to help factory workers make informed decisions for process improvement

Result

12 hrs

saved monthly per engineer on time spent collecting, analyzing, and visualizing data

ion’s analytics engine empowers platform users to quickly query and analyze their manufacturing data. Because it uses standard and modern interfaces, it quickly plugs into a BI tool of choice to produce data visualizations without deep technical knowledge. The team at Epirus uses the analytics engine to rapidly visualize insights across multiple work cells, so everyone can make quick and informed decisions on what operations need attention. This improved visibility into production statistics increases the accuracy of capacity analysis and allows for more dynamic production decision making. With ion, real-time data on first pass yield, issue and defect burn down, and supplier quality by lot are easily accessible.

The ion analytics engine provides access to the data being collected from the factory floor, allowing the company to identify sources of variation in technical data. By using the power of single field analysis, ion surfaces quality issues with parts as well as information on the devices that measure those parts (e.g. calibration and sensors). Identifying fields of high variance pinpoints unstable or changing processes which require attention such as takt time and cycle time. These analyses can be used to continuously improve the design and manufacturing processes within ion.

Each morning, Epirus starts their daily standup with a look at their progress, ensuring that manufacturing operators and technicians, as well as production managers and business leaders, are on the same page. “We’re a team-based company with weekly goals. We use completed runs per day to track week to week progress and we review that daily.” says Jackson Lisec, Industrial Engineer. Lisec is currently working on visualizing non-conformance data by using the custom attributes set up in ion Issues. Custom attributes like defect code give Epirus the flexibility and power to create their own criteria while making use of the powerful ion platform to quickly collect and analyze that data.

“We want our engineers to interact with the data from day one and ion allows that. With ion, data collection occurs in the background, allowing the operator to focus on work being done ” - Jackson Lisec, Industrial Engineer at Epirus

In a collaborative senior project with the Cal Poly SLO Industrial Engineering Department, Epirus, and First Resonance, three students were able to assist in the effort of building out the analytics engine for additional key performance indicators. Data Scientist and Engineer at First Resonance, Connor Francis says that the students involved in the project created a “springboard to build the analytics off of. They identified useful visualizations that manufacturers would be interested in, how to calculate them, and how to best present them.” The analytics engine’s flexibility allows for complex analyses, such as outlier detection using interquartile range (IQR), so the Epirus team could make more accurate decisions on the aggregate data. With ion, Epirus is able to pull production data and burn down critical issues to achieve their mission of conducting a data-driven and agile manufacturing process. Powered by the ion analytics engine, their dashboards provide everyone with the knowledge of how the production process is going and empowers everyone to improve. With ion, Epirus can continuously build better products for a safer world.

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