2018 – THE AGE OF SMART MANUFACTURING

After the tender has been won and the announcement to commence work on a particular project has been made, it is time to start producing and supplying the product. An important task for management is how they can produce the product performance achieved during the prototyping and sales process, on a consistent and cost-effective basis. It is important that the model developed for producing these products is sustainable and most importantly, profitable. It is a common conundrum for manufacturers face before the orders are finally released for production.

There are no questions for the benefits of automating and optimizing labor intensive processes. When the process has reached the prototyping stage, many processes were simulated and were indeed manual in their nature, to create a winnable proposal before the production starts. During the proposal stage, contingencies are considered into account, to ensure that losses aren’t incurred during the production stage. However, a company doesn’t just survive by incurring business losses. During this decision process, management should consider this as an ideal time to decide to an automated and optimized process, to increase profitability as much is possible. It is not desired to undergo any kind of delay while extending production and stopping to re-evaluate, since it might slow down production.

There are various aspects of production that are considered critical in this regard such as cut planning, labor, machine utilization and quality control. The objective of management here would be how can they better automate and optimize production process by making the right choices on raw material, manual labor, time and planning in advance to ensure that company assets are all utilized to result in high production rates and not compromise quality while doing so.

To address all these challenges methodically and efficiently, a dynamic optimization approach is required that features the ability to automatically integrate data that is critical from each system (ERP, CAD, PLM), digitally track production and company assets, manage all the information in real-time and take optimized actions accordingly for planning and production. Repetition of this process time and again ensures that at whichever pace your production is set, a standard of quality control is always assured.

By using IIoT for areas like composites manufacturing, RFID and mobility enables composite part manufacturers to ensure better tracking and managing of materials, tools, kits, assembly and staff on the production floor. This ensures a better flow of further production activities and essentials that are performed later to not compromise the pace of production. A combination of best in class engineering and manufacturing processes and technologies, OEMs and fabricators can further reduce buy-to-fly ratios.

All this requires software and having the right one is important to allow the possibility of high profitability and success. Software solutions are often integrated with existing systems such as the ERP, MES and CAD and has the ability to receive critical data from these systems to allow an automated, holistic approach for planning, production, automation and optimization. Total production optimization software is the direction which most manufacturers are now choosing to ensure that what was once simulated is not only repeated but also improved along production to result in higher profitability.

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