Everyone has individual requirements for the workplace. When planning work stations and storage, Hoffmann Group equipment consultants keep the whole work environment in their sights, incorporating factors such as lighting and employee height and size.
Support the body
Concentrating on work without getting tired requires a well-illuminated workplace with an optimized mix of lighting. Lighting influences biorhythms, so a balanced mix of direct and indirect light, workplace lighting, and daylight is perfect. For enough light, the ratio of translucent areas (windows, doors, and skylights) to the room surface area should be at least 1:10. Work that involves high visual requirements demands a 1:5 ratio. Using adjustable workplace lights for individual visual tasks avoids creating shadows. Light fixtures placed around the workspace according to their importance should be in reach and easily adjustable, preventing constant refocusing of workers’ eyes and keeping employees from frequently bending over.
Swiveling, perforated side walls on work benches let employees adjust the workplace tools at arm’s length, making them simple to grasp. Grip holders, tools, and visual information are always set at the same distance from the employee.
Relieve bones and muscles
Industrial workplace tasks are often done standing. Standing aids can compensate body weight up to 60% and are recommended when employees must stay standing in the same position for more than two minutes. Anti-tiredness mats placed in front of the workspace also help improve the circulation in the legs and relieve joints. On the mats, workers must keep making leg micro-movements to counterbalance their weight. Mats also collect dirt particles, decreasing the possibility of slipping. Further, the correct flooring surface can absorb noise and keep noise emissions low.
To prevent back problems, damage to posture, or alleviate tension in the shoulders and neck, employees should be able to adjust the height of their work benches or work stations. Choosing the right working height for the employee’s body size and height is as important as the workpiece dimensions. Work benches and work stations with electronically height-adjustable work surfaces are especially comfortable. In multi-shift environments, adjustable work stations with memory functions allow employees to set the optimal working height.
Employees who need to work at different places within a factory and still need the stability of a solid work bench can work more ergonomically with the Hoffmann Group’s electrically height-adjustable work bench with electrically retractable wheels that make it mobile. The station’s battery also provides a mobile power supply for electrical tools. For employees who move around a lot during their shift, the self-propelled, battery-powered work bench with electric drive can be moved forward or backward with variable speeds up to 4km/h with only one hand on the steering grip. The entire work station can be moved with minimal effort. Vise, tools, and other heavy objects are at hand, and heavy carrying is avoided, relieving back strain.
Personal protective equipment, tools
Personal protective equipment (PPE) greatly influences employees’ well-being, safety, and productivity. Safety shoes with a suitable damping system prevent back pain by absorbing jolts to the spine. Breathable, flexible gloves for assembly work should offer protection and grip so there’s enough feeling in the hands when handling oily parts. Work clothing also must offer high flexibility, movement, and suitable design. Comfortable, good-looking clothing will be used well and often. This is also true for protective equipment, company property, and tools.
Tools should be designed from an aesthetic and ergonomic point of view. For example, screwdrivers with rounded handles can transfer power more efficiently; tools with Santoprene grips lay better in the hands and prevent premature fatigue. Good grip is especially important for wet or oily hands. Special attention should also be paid to hand-held and hand-guided electric tools as they often transmit vibrations to the hand and arm and could cause circulation problems for the fingers and hands. Low-vibration tools and technical aids for vibration reduction also provide relief.
A well-thought-out system improves efficiency by ensuring that employees can orientate themselves quickly and always have the necessary tools quickly at hand. The Japanese 5S method – sort, set in order, shine (cleanliness), standardize, and sustain – allows employees to understand the work environment at a glance. Using 5S, the storage place for a tool depends on its frequency of use. Garant perforated panels can be customized using Garant Easyfix hooks and holders to provide uncluttered storage. Tool drawers feature e-shaped foam inserts with gaps in the shape of tools, offering a quick overview of any missing tools.
CAD software and simulations can support industrial work environment planning. The Hoffmann Group also offers a virtual tour of the premises using virtual reality (VR) glasses to give customers a better feeling for the space as well as some fun. The Hoffmann Group’s GridLine holistic setup tool uses a pre-defined grid to offer clear planning in setting up modern facilities. GridLine allows many combinations and extensions, and aesthetics and functionality can be guaranteed even when changes are made to the setup in the future. Good design lets employees feel good in their work environment and work productively.
From design to manufacture, it can be challenging to achieve product consistency with aerospace composite materials. Manual processes can lead to expensive, time consuming rework machining for finished products, especially with complex, layered materials such as carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP).
However, using the correct composite production technology will reduce the variation within a single component as well as from one component to the next.
“Good process control provided by new compression molding machines improve the quality of the product and allow manufacturers to gain a deeper understanding of the process,” says Mike Josefiak, mechanical engineer with Greenerd Press & Machine Co.
Josefiak recently sat down with Aerospace Manufacturing and Design editors to discuss how compression molding can improve parts consistency as aerospace companies increasingly turn to lightweight, difficult-to-process composite materials.
AM&D: What is compression molding, and how does it differ from other hydraulic forming technologies?
MJ: Compression molding uses temperature and pressure, over time, to form, cure, and/or bond a component. The material may be a fabric impregnated with thermosetting resins, a partially cured rubber, a molding compound – bulk molding compound (BMC) or sheet molding compound (SMC), or other materials that benefit from a heating cycle under pressure.
AM&D: What are the best applications for compression molding?
MJ: The desire for higher strength-to-weight ratios in aerospace applications makes it a natural fit for composite materials. Compression molding creates structural components for modern aircraft interiors, replacing aluminum for weight and cost savings.
In more demanding applications, such as the CFM Int’l. LEAP engines powering the A320neo and 737 MAX, composite fan blades are made in a compression molding process. The high bypass ratios being used to reduce fuel consumption have increased blade size. These longer blades must resist bird strikes with flexibility and strength, always keeping component weight to a minimum. This requires tight process control and repeatability in the molding process.
Compression molding functions well, producing components that have less complex or fine features because many materials do not flow freely. The best applications will be thin – reducing the time needed to cure material at the core of the component, so cycle times do not become unacceptably long.
AM&D: How does the process work?
MJ: Compression molding presses are very flexible and can be tailored to meet the needs of a specific component or families of components. The three keys to a successful compression molding process are managing time, temperature, and pressure. Adjusting these factors precisely to meet the chemical and physical characteristics of a product ensure consistent, successful results.
Sizes can range from a few inches to many feet wide. Size, combined with the desired pressure on the material, will determine the machine’s capacity.
Pressures on the material range from less than 100psi to more than 3,000psi. Minimizing deflection of the machine platens, and controlling parallelism will keep pressure consistent across the working area.
Modern analysis and temperature control methods can keep temperatures within a few degrees. Systems compen- sate for heat absorbed by the working material and ambient condition changes to maintain consistent ramp rates and soak temperatures.
AM&D: Does the process work with thermoplastics as well as thermosets?
MJ: Yes, thermoplastics and thermoset materials can be used in this process, although low viscosity fluids can be difficult to contain within a metallic die, and flashing is to be expected.
AM&D: Can compression molding be used on metal parts?
MJ: The same style of presses used for compression molding can also be used in a warm- or hot-forming application for metallic parts. While the energy and forces required for these operations generally increase, the same principles of controlled heat and pressure can improve production of metallic parts susceptible to tearing or thinning. Heating many materials to a small fraction of their melting points makes it easier for materials to flow, helping reduce the scrap rate of demanding forming work.
AM&D: How do traditional hydraulic presses and compression molding presses differ?
MJ: Compression molding presses typically use hydraulic power systems because of the low power demand required for holding a product under pressure, as well as being a cost-effective way to achieve tight force control.
Hydraulic press systems designed specifically for compression molding will take additional steps to smoothly transition pressure on the product, maintain equal force across the work area, and minimize energy consumption.
AM&D: If starting a compression molding operation, what features should be considered in a press?
MJ: Control systems that manage temperature, time, and pressure independently throughout the cycle will give end users the tools they need to succeed. Every product is different, so the ability to test and adjust conditions consistently leads to reduced cycle times and lower scrap rates.
AM&D: Are there standard press features, or are they all customized to part-making requirements?
MJ: Temperature control of the working surface, force control, and the ability to hold pressure for long periods of time are all basic functions in compression molding presses. However, there are several options to consider. The materials being formed and the particularities of each die will play the largest role in which options can benefit a manufacturer.
Heater-zone controls can ramp up temperature at a controlled rate across the full working area. Additional cooling systems provide similar controlled temperature ramp-down. The level of control and speed of temperature change can be configured to match the needs of the materials.
Position control can be added for products with a required thickness, holding positions as close as ±0.001". On large products, this may be multiple cylinders working in concert to maintain the position, even as the material being formed pushes outward on the dies.
Vacuum chambers around the working area help remove additional gas within the product, as well as limit oxidation or contamination problems.
These are only a few of the possibilities. Greenerd Press & Machine compression molding presses are readily expandable, supporting any number of operating conditions to speed up production, reduce scrap rates, and improve the end product.
AM&D: What operator training is needed, and how is it provided?
MJ: Operators can be trained on-site in basic operation in less than an hour. Basic systems typically use time, temperature, and pressure setpoints for adjustment.
Advanced presses can become more complex, using step programming with ramp rates for temperature, position, and force throughout set time periods. To get the maximum potential from these systems, it is critical to gain a deep understanding of the material being formed and how the conditions around that material benefit the process.
Due to its safety-critical environment, the aerospace industry faces numerous compliance requirements demanded by the government and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). Major aerospace OEMs require their suppliers to be certified according to EN 9100, a framework for the establishment of a quality management system for compliance with regulatory and customer requirements. With a strong focus on the surveillance and sustainability of key manufacturing processes, certification enables high product quality as well as market access.
However, companies often face various obstacles in order to reach certification standards. The implementation of most of EN 9100 requirements presents challenging tasks, as the standard documents do not provide concrete implementation strategies and are largely unspecific. Due to fewer human and financial resources, small- and medium-sized companies (SMEs) often struggle with certification. Consequently, they become unattractive as OEM suppliers and lose market access.
Funded by Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), the Fraunhofer Institute of Production Technology has developed a systematic approach that instructs the establishment, control, and improvement of a company’s quality management system according to EN 9100, enabling certification according to this standard. The developed methodology has already been put into practice as part of the certification of Access e.V. according to EN 9100 for production of titanium aluminide turbine blades. Access e.V. is an institute for scientific research and development of materials and processes with a focus on metal casting.
Companies can apply the following process when seeking EN 9100 certification (Figure 1, page 85).
1. Assess status quo
Research existing documentation to identify all actions necessary to fulfill the standard’s requirements. During this inspection, the quality manual, internal directives, form sheets, role descriptions as well as work, process, and testing instructions are examined. In this phase, the volume of information and number of different storage media of documents such as central databases, stationary desktop computers, or paper can be overwhelming. For economic reasons, it is generally advisable to split the examination into smaller portions carried out by those enterprise subsectors or subdivisions that are directly responsible or play a crucial role. In case of Access’ production of turbine blades, the scope of the investigation was narrowed down to part production and quality assurance.
2. Compare status quo, standard requirements
Once all relevant documents are at hand, the information must be collated and compared with the standard’s requirements. Establishing themed clusters helps analyze only those parts of the standard that are of concern for the particular scope. The comparison of specific requirements with company documents necessitates a suitable understanding of the standard. This again demands some expertise to avoid untrained personnel perceiving the wording used in the standard as too technical or obscure. The comparison process identifies discrepancies between the requirements of the standard and the company documentation. The standard’s requirements are labelled fulfilled, partly fulfilled, or not fulfilled. With partly- or not-fulfilled requirements, the related enterprise documents need to be clearly referenced, and companies should follow steps 3 through 6.
3. Action deduction
Necessary actions are deduced from the identified discrepancies between standard requirements and enterprise documentation. Extension and adjustment of the company documentation as well as a creation of missing documents need to be conducted where necessary. To ensure the achievement of the identified objectives, methods of quality assurance can be applied.
4. Action prioritization
Deduction is followed by a relevance weighting of the respective activities. First, decide which areas are of paramount importance and will be treated immediately. In the case of Access e.V., it turned out that core processes such as purchasing and project management, as well as key indicators for resource consumption and scrap rate, needed to be defined in detail. Secondly, the actions need to be further prioritized. Not- or partly-fulfilled requirements are divided into mandatory and optional, a categorization derived from the standard that allows scheduling implementation of required actions according to priority. Furthermore, conduct an expense and effort rating, which is especially beneficial in case of restricted capacity. It is important that the set of mandatory requirements is thorough and comprehensive, as failed implementation of mandatory requirements results in non-certification. Optional requirements can, however, be implemented later, such as during recertification. The implementation of optional requirements can, for example, achieve a more comprehensive documentation, improve accuracy of the inspection process, or reduce error potential.
5. Transfer into documentation
Specify and capture mandatory and optional requirements in the general specification sheet. When all mandatory and optional requirements are fully compiled and assigned to the related divisions, revise and reformulate the requirements to assure user-friendliness. The outcome is a comprehensive and tangible text that provides an intuitive overview of the requirements. Subsequently, transfer the determined requirements included in a general specification sheet into enterprise documents, such as test plans and process documentation.
In the case of Access e.V., the key process of quality assurance was graded top priority. As part of quality assurance, visual inspection and white-light interferometry were identified as the processes most prone to error, making them critical for certification. (Sidebar, page 86).
As inspection procedures vary depending on the respective product, process or objective, it is essential to derive specification sheets that are customized to each inspection procedure. Since test results must be independent of the executing personnel, test specifications and instructions need to be precise and unambiguous. A lack of clarity can have a strong impact on the testing results. Overly detailed specifications and redundancy need to be avoided as well. To ensure a transparent and traceable transfer of the standard into enterprise documentation, set general rules. Furthermore, the following five steps are advised:
Select general test plan, plan variant for related process
Identify characteristics specific to inspection process
Perform detailed analysis of characteristic effects on requirements for inspection process documentation
Transfer general specification sheet derived from standard to specific process requirements
Derive a final process-specific test plan
Auditing evaluates existing structures of the management system, its documentation, and its actual execution by the personnel in daily business as well as compliance with the standard.
The cooperating partner, Access e.V., was audited after implementing EN 9100 using the described methodology and was found to be in full compliance with the standard, resulting in certification.
The method is independent of industrial sector, so it can be applied to standards other than EN 9100.
The project was funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), support code 20T1509B.
Prof. Dr. Robert Schmitt is a professor at the Technical University of Aachen. He is head of the Chair for Metrology and Quality Management at the Laboratory for Machine Tools and Production Engineering (WZL). He serves on the boards of directors of Fraunhofer Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology and WZL and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 2018 edition of the Farnborough International Airshow defied the expectation that the current boom had to end – or at least slow. Instead, it posted $192 billion in deals, an increase of $67.5 billion from the 2016 Airshow. Hardware orders tallied more than 1,400 commercial aircraft, valued at $154 billion, and engine orders surpassed 1,432 units, worth $21.96 billion.
Coming 37 weeks before the anxiously awaited Brexit, the U.K. show attracted its largest global attendance from approximately 100 countries and record- setting Chinese presence, according to its organizers. The number of trade visitors rose nearly 10% compared to previous years, with more than 80,000 visitors passing through the gates.
Civil and military delegations grew by 20%, with a total of 156, and military delegations increased 30%, to 133. Airline customers attending rose 163%.
A conference program covered topics including a return to supersonic flight; governance in space; and the intelligent, connected aero engine. Aerospace 4.0 was the show’s take on Industry 4.0, an exhibition focused on the fourth industrial revolution. www.farnboroughairshow.com
Only weeks after taking majority control in marketing the Bombardier CSeries jetliner, Airbus debuted the rebranded plane, the A220, as part of the company’s expanded portfolio. The former 100-to-135-seat CS100 and 130-to-160-seat CS300 are now the A220-100 and A220-300.
One A220 flew in the aircraft demonstrations while another was part of Airbus’ extensive ground display.
JetBlue became the first Airbus A220-300 customer with a memorandum of understanding signed days before the show for 60 firm orders. No examples of the smaller Airbus A220-100 aircraft were ordered during Farnborough.
By comparison, the single-aisle Airbus A320/321 family chalked up 201 firm orders and letters of intent during the show’s first day while widebody A350 orders totaled 27. The modest number prompted Airbus Chief Commercial Officer Eric Schulz to say, “I continue to be quite confident for the widebody market picking up again in the next 18 months to two years. I see the market starting to accelerate again, particularly in Asia.” www.airbus.com
Boeing made news by forecasting a $15 trillion commercial airplane and services market throughout the next 20 years. The company’s Commercial Market Outlook (CMO) projects demand for 42,730 new jets – up 4.1% from the previous forecast – valued at $6.3 trillion, with services adding $8.8 trillion.
Increasing passenger traffic and upcoming commercial airplane retirements will drive the global airplane fleet expansion and support demand for aviation services.
The Asia Pacific region will account for 40% of total airplane deliveries and 38% of total services value. North America and Europe round out the top three.
Randy Tinseth, Boeing’s commercial marketing vice president, notes that by the mid-2020s, more than 500 airplanes a year will reach 25 years of age – double the current rate – fueling the retirement wave. Tinseth says 44% of the new airplanes will cover replacements, with the rest supporting future growth.
The single-aisle segment will have the most growth, mainly driven by low-cost regional carriers in Asia, with a demand for 31,360 new airplanes. The forecast for widebody jets requires 8,070 new airplanes through the next 20 years as airlines expand global networks.
Cargo aircraft were a Farnborough focus, and Boeing projects the need for 980 new production widebody freighters during the forecast period, up 60 airplanes from last year. The outlook also includes a need for 1,670 converted freighters. The cargo market’s strength was underscored by more than 50 Boeing freighter orders and commitments at the show. www.boeing.com/cmo
Before the show, Airbus released its updated Global Market Forecast with a similar prediction that the world’s passenger fleet will more than double to 48,000 aircraft in 20 years. Airbus officials anticipate traffic growing at 4.4% per year will drive a need for 37,400 new passenger and freighter aircraft valued at $5.8 trillion.
Embraer officials announced sales, options, and letters of intent (LoIs) for 300 aircraft, valued at $15.3 billion. Republic Airlines officials signed a letter of intent for a firm order of 100 E175 jets, with the right to convert to E175-E2 aircraft, and purchase rights for an additional 100 E175 aircraft. United Airlines ordered 25 E175 regional jets. Mauritania Airlines, NAC, Helvetic Airways, Wataniya, and Azul also placed orders.
Embraer firm orders totaled 37 aircraft, according to aviation industry analysis firm IBA. When LoIs are included, Embraer’s commitments rise to 176 aircraft with options for 124 aircraft. www.embraer.com
GE Aviation and its joint venture CFM International, a 50/50 company of GE and Safran Aircraft Engines, received more than $22 billion in orders and commitments for its jet engines, services, avionics, and digital offerings at Farnborough. Engine orders and commitments included more than 850 LEAP and CFM56 engines, 250 CF34 engines, close to 100 GE90-115B engines, and almost 50 GEnx engines. CFM International’s orders and commitments by themselves have a total value of $15.7 billion at list price. CFM has won more than 2,200 engines orders for 2018. www.cfmaeroengines.com; www.geaviation.com
At the 2018 Farnborough Airshow, Pratt & Whitney officials announced its Geared Turbofan (GTF) engines will power the 60 Airbus A220 aircraft ordered, with the first aircraft scheduled for delivery in 2021. China Aircraft Leasing Group Holdings Ltd. (CALC) signed a contract for P&W GTF engines to power 18 firm-order A320neo family aircraft, and Air Transat selected GTF engines to power 17 firm-order A321neo family aircraft from AerCap. Aircraft deliveries are scheduled to begin in 2019. www.pratt-whitney.com
Services market grows
Airbus introduced SmartForce, digital support services that use data-driven intelligence to improve the operational readiness of company-built aircraft and helicopters flown by military customers. SmartForce builds on Airbus’ Skywise aviation data platform for operators of its commercial jetliners and the H-Care Connected Services for helicopter users to perform root-cause analysis and develop faster troubleshooting methods.
Boeing officials announced services orders and agreements worth up to $2.1 billion that span commercial and government customers. Its Global Services’ capabilities cover supply chain; engineering, modifications and maintenance; digital aviation and analytics; and training and professional services.
During the next 20 years, Boeing forecast an $8.8 trillion market for commercial aviation services with annual growth of 4.2%. Aviation services range from supply chain support (parts and parts logistics), to maintenance and engineering services, to aircraft modifications, to airline operations.
Boeing VP Randy Tinseth says, “We see a market in which airlines outsource more and more, a market in which data and data analytics help aircraft and airline networks become more efficient and reliable, and a market in which new technologies provide new services solutions. All of these trends drive greater demand for integrated solutions over the life of an airplane.”
Major categories in the services forecast include a $2.3 trillion market for maintenance and engineering, which covers tasks required to maintain or restore the airworthiness of an aircraft and its systems, components, and structures. Another major category is a $1.1 trillion market for flight operations, which covers services associated with the flight deck, cabin services, crew training and management, and airplane operations.
GE Aviation and Microsoft are joining forces to accelerate digital transformation of aviation, aimed at delivering more robust solutions for the industry.
GE Aviation will become the exclusive provider of Teradata products and services for commercial aviation markets, providing a single, comprehensive framework that combines high-performance analytics in the cloud from Teradata with edge-connectivity services from GE Aviation.
Regional aircraft leasing firm Nordic Aviation Capital (NAC) and GE Aviation officials signed a memorandum of understanding for a 10-year TrueChoice Flight Hour agreement for its CF34-10E engine fleet. Under the agreement, NAC will offer GE Aviation-provided maintenance, repair, and overhaul services to its CF34-10E lessees.
About the author: Eric Brothers is senior editor of Aerospace Manufacturing and Design and can be reached at email@example.com or 216.393.0228.
Industry 4.0 readiness: A self evaluation
Features - Industry 4.0
An industry status report on digital manufacturing offers tips to increase productivity.
Digital manufacturing is an integrated approach to production, centered around a modern information technology (IT) architecture from art to part. By reading a computer aided design (CAD) file, a machine can create prototypes and produce finished or intermediate products. Digital manufacturing enhances productivity while in many instances reducing production costs.
To explore this topic in a thorough manner, we should consider:
What is digital manufacturing, and what can it become?
What’s preventing industry from adopting it?
As a manufacturer, where do you start?
Digital manufacturing scope
The consensus is that digital manufacturing starts at the idea stage – 3D CAD – and stops when the part is retired and recycled. It includes all steps in between, including:
Make vs. buy decisions
Usage, maintenance, recycling
Why is manufacturing lagging behind several other industries in automation or systems integration?
Earlier in my career, at Kennametal, I had the privilege to visit dozens of machining facilities and ask about systems and processes used in the shop, from request for quote (RFQ) to shipment. This exercise helped my team develop NOVO – an app that manages process planning, inventory availability and purchase, cost-per-part management, and productivity improvements – one of the first artificial intelligence (AI)-based manufacturing advising systems.
These processes have not changed much throughout the years, and the gap between manufacturing and other industries seemed to be getting worse. That’s because manufacturers are dealing with an alphabet soup of closed systems, usually coming with machinery or legacy systems acquired long ago within a complex ecosystem of vertical silos [computer aided design (CAD), computer aided manufacturing (CAM), enterprise resources planning (ERP), controls, coordinate measuring machines (CMM), and tooling management systems (TMS)].
Adding certifications, regulations, and culture accounts for the lack of enthusiasm to embrace full digitization. The challenges relate to data, cybersecurity, hardware/software integration, and interoperability.
To define levels of maturity, compare the automotive and aerospace industries:
Level 1: Driver/pilot assistance required (cruise control in automotive/ altimeter heading in aerospace)
Level 2: Partial automation options available (adaptive cruise, lane departure warning in auto/autopilot engage in aero)
Level 3: Conditional automation (highway autopilot in auto/ navigation engage in aero)
Level 4: High automation (active autopilot in auto/ ADS-B navigation in aero)
Level 5: Full automation (no driver required in auto/just programmed destination in aero)
In my experience, Level 4 is today’s most advanced operation. That system features full automation of CAD, CAM, controls, ERP, and TMS. It still requires some human supervision to inspect castings and perform final CMM while running 24/7.
Collectively, the manufacturing sector is at about 2.5, using some of the newest hardware and software available today. Automotive and aerospace are getting closer to Level 5 as evidenced by the work done by Uber, Tesla, and SpaceX.
In many manufacturing environments, traditional productivity improvement programs, such as Six Sigma and Lean, have been in place for a while and are in danger of running out of steam. The next step is digital integration of manufacturing systems and processes.
Creating and sustaining those savings continuously will require manufacturing cells or locations to cooperate and share best practices. Those actions can eventually lead to the development of industry standards for manufacturing practices.
The common wisdom is that 20% holistic manufacturing speed improvement equates to 15% total cost-per-part reduction – 5x to 10x more than point solution methods. Speed also reduces or delays capital expenditures by improving capacity.
About the author: Francois Gau is president and CEO of Levy Industrial. He can be reached at 724.875.5358 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Before gaining a deeper understanding of your maturity level and beginning the journey to becoming best in class, review three categories related to challenges the manufacturing sector is facing: data/hardware/software and culture/vision/leadership. This exercise can help you build a checklist to evaluate or benchmark.
Data: extracting useful information
Bad data/no data – Databases everywhere, double entries, paper trails; huge startup costs needed to create a clean data set
Lots of software – From CAM to CMM, list all software and versions; difficult to harmonize, integrate
Parts variation – Every part must be modeled, mapped out; building unique models for each part can be daunting, specifically for low-volume shops with high variation
Hardware/software: Successful interfaces essential, difficult to achieve
Internet connection, cybersecurity – Access to machines, controls; cybersecurity, intellectual property (IP) protection needed for success, peace of mind
Interoperability/legacy systems – Determine whether systems can be connected; start with MTConnect standard communication protocols compliance first; most machines built after 2005 can be made compliant, with added cost
Lack of holistic view – Most CAD files lack specifications, tolerance, constraint (metadata) details; if there, often difficult to share between platforms
Culture/vision/leadership: Attitude, knowledge make the difference
Fear of, or resistance to change – Big investment, all stakeholders must be on-board before investing
Return on investment (ROI) concerns – Leaders prefer tangible machinery with good ROI; less inclined to invest in systems and tools supporting the machine with soft ROI projections; start small, get early wins to gain internal support
Regulations – International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), Export Administration Regulations (EAR), Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR); certain data may be classified as confidential or subject to restrictions; design program around specific needs; make systems capable of fencing data, IP correctly