Information systems transformed the manufacturing process beginning with digital manufacturing and the integration of Computer-Aided Design (CAD) and Computer- Aided Manufacturing (CAM). The standards were developed in the sass’s by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SEEM). Computer-Integrated Manufacturing (COM) is unique by incorporating information systems for data storage, retrieval, manipulation, and presentation. The purpose of COM is to integrate product design, engineering, process planning and manufacturing by means of computer systems.
By integrating all phases of manufacturing, a company can increase productivity, laity, meet customer needs more effectively and gain flexibility (COM). COM separated its self from other manufacturing methods in three distinct ways. First, how the data is stored, recovered, changed and presented. The second is the devices for detecting state and changing the processes. Finally, the third is the use of algorithms for combining the data processing component with the sensor/ modification component.
The streamlining of these processes increase and enhances productivity and allow for more complex manufacturing techniques to be imposed (COM). The three major challenges facing COM are integration, data integrity and process intro. Components produced require different machines; these machines use a different communication protocol, which creates new challenges especially when the components being manufactured are constantly changing. COM can save a company labor in terms of operating machines, but it requires increased labor in data integrity, ensuring all communication lines are running efficiently.
The hard drives where the data is stored allows for manipulation and retrieval with a press of a button which needs streamlining by combining the hardware and software. Controlling the process can be the most difficult challenge in COM (COM). Human operators must follow the process in order to control quality as designed by the engineers. When the operators are not following the process this will cause quality issues which can be detrimental too company’s products. The products can pass through quality control unseen due to operator error or bad parts and are sold as defect free.
The customer finds the defects, and the manufacturer is then obligated to fix or replace the product. Some of the systems found in a COM operation, which allow for flexible manufacturing, are CAD (Computer Aided Design) and CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing). There are many more, but I am focusing on these two computed aided techniques due to my own experiences. Also some of the equipment used with these techniques are CNN machines (Computer Numerical Controlled), PL (Programmable Logic Controllers), robotics, hardware, software, controllers, and networks among others.
I have gained working knowledge of CAM and CNN machines, including lathes and mills. I have also gained classroom knowledge of CAD and PL. CAD utilizes computers to assist a designer in the creation, modification, analysis and optimization of a design. These technical drawings that utilize computer orgasm increase productivity improve quality and allows for database creation. Autocrat is capable of utilizing AD graphics, moving forward from AD 3 view drawings. Autocrat uses computational geometry to design curves, not calculus, which would be more system intensive. These drawings can also include tolerances, materials, and dimensions.
Computer aided manufacturing (CAM) utilizes computer software to control machine tools including CNN machines. The drawings generated in CAD are used to program the CNN machine tools using computer code. The code used is g-code which is a simple language that can easily be manipulated if needed. All of these techniques are integrated into the product lifestyle management (PALM). PALM can include information authoring like CAD, but in broader terms “focuses on managing data that covers the breadth of a product’s lifestyle, without regard to how that data is developed” (PALM).
The PALM process increases revenue while the per-unit product cost and administrative overhead is reduced (PALM). The technologies involved in the COM system are the Flexible Manufacturing Systems (FM) and Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems (CARS). FM allow manufacturers to be agile and gain a competitive advantage. These manufacturers are the fastest to the market, operates with the lowest total cost and has the ability to impress its customers. Interestingly “American companies spent twice as much on product innovation as they did on process innovation.
The Germans and Japanese did the opposite. ” (SKY) FM offers three levels of flexibility; basic, system, and aggregate. The basic flexibilities include machine, material handling, and operation. The ability of the machines to process various operations makes it flexible. How easily different part types can be transported and positioned is flexibility in material handling. The ease at which an alternative operation sequence can be implemented is the operation flexibility (SKY). Included in system flexibilities are volume, expansion, routing, process, and product flexibilities.
The capability of a system to be operated profitably at different volumes of the existing part types is the volume flexibility. Expansion flexibility includes the ability to build a system and expand it incrementally. The alternate paths that a part can effectively follow through a system for a given process plan is the routing flexibility. The volume of the set of part types that a system can produce thou incurring any setup allows for process flexibility. Finally the product flexibility is the set of part types that can be manufactured a system with minor setup (SKY).
The aggregate flexibilities are program, production, and market flexibility. The program flexibility allows a system to run for long periods without external intervention. The capability of a system to produce parts without major investment in capital equipment offers production flexibility (SKY). The ability of a system to adapt to changing market conditions allows for market flexibility. Implementing FM across all levels is expensive and time consuming. Many in industry have not implemented and entire FM. Instead they implement a flexible module, cell, group, production or line.
Many times Fame’s (Flexible Manufacturing Cell) are preferred. While working at Cummins Inc. , I witnessed many of these processes. Machines are often limited in their ability to change and adapt to new parts which can make this implementation difficult. Many times Cummins implemented robotics not to increase or smooth flow, but rather for safety purposes. These robots many times slowed the assembly line and even shut down the line for repairs. The cost of shutdown and slowed pace was not incurred before when operators were turning the diesel engines by hand with chains and lifts.
Cummins effectively implemented most of these flexible processes. There is a limit to the amount of flexibility that can be offered. Based on the design of the FM, they achieved all levels including increasing their market share. They also designed an exhaust system that allows their diesel engines to exceed government standards, which gave a competitive advantage against their main competitor, Caterpillar Inc. , who was unable to develop a cleaner system. As with many manufacturing companies, Cummins practices Lean Manufacturing to eliminate waste.
Anything that does not create value is considered waste and is eliminated. There are three types of waste: non-value-adding work, overburden and unevenness. Cummins was in the beginning stages of implementing Lean, and was focused on flow and smart automation. If the production flow is going correctly then there is no inventory. Smart automation is machines assisting people at what people do best. Fail safes can be implemented to assure a certain machine or tool was used and recorded electronically. The implementation of Lean pursues a perfect work flow, minimizing waste and being as flexible as possible.
The aim is to make the work as simple as possible and manageable. According to the history society of manufacturing the original 7 non-value-adding work are: ; Transportation (moving products that are not actually required to perform the processing) ; Inventory (all components, work in process and finished product not being processed) ; Motion (people or equipment moving or walking more than is required to perform the processing) ; Waiting (waiting for the next production step) ; Overproduction (production ahead of demand) ; Over Processing (resulting from poor tool or product design creating activity)
Defects (the effort involved in inspecting for and fixing defects) These are major challenges to any company trying to become Lean. On an assembly line all of these 7 wasteful activities are common and difficult to eliminate. There is always a focus on wasteful motions, first time quality, and decreased inventory. Cummins went as far as to hire an ergonomics “expert” to train all employees on the correct techniques to lifting and repetitive motions, as to prevent injury and increase efficiency.
There are some idealistic views in Lean manufacturing, but moving in those directions will increase productivity, decrease costs and employees injuries. The discipline required to implement Lean are counter to what has been done in the past and requires a company’s culture to completely change. As Toyota expanded into the west they found it difficult to apply the Toyota Production System (TIPS). They have focused on culture and how people behave in an attempt to solve the problem. They have set three core values that include Challenge, Kamikaze, and Genetic Sunburst.
They set a long term vision of challenges that individuals need to realize one’s ambition. The key is to challenge ourselves very day to achieve our goals. Kamikaze means that good enough is not acceptable. Nothing is perfect and operations must be continuously improved. The focus is on innovation, modification and adaptation. Genetic Sunburst means “go see for yourself”. This can also mean go “get your boots on”. This Japanese management style is much different from the American counterpart which would rather make decisions from an office not on the floor where the problem occurred (Handle).
One extension of Lean manufacturing is Lean IT. Lean IT is focused on development and management of information technology. The same principles apply whereas the goal is to eliminate waste. Implementation of Lean IT has the same challenges that are long term and instilled in the organizations culture. There are many similarities between manufacturing and IT, where manufacturing produces goods of value to customers, whereas IT creates business services of value to Traditional IT organizational practices move slowly and customers (Fibonacci). Carefully to avoid instability and business disruption.