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Manufacturing Software

markt

#5029

Manufacturing Software | 22 January, 2001

How would manufacturing software help me introduce a new product? From the time I receive CAD data to the initial manufacture of the product, where does this software fit in and how will it help?

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Jason Spera

#5038

Manufacturing Software | 22 January, 2001

TransCollaborative Manufacturing software (TCM) is involved in virtually all events flowing from receipt of CAD and BOM data, to procurement of components, to conversion into useful information, and finally to the production of actual product

Consider a possible New Product Introduction via TCM software as applied in a sample CEM environment: First, CAD and BOM data is received by program management. The CAD file is sent to process engineering and the BOM is sent to configuration management. In configuration management, clerical personnel import the BOM into the system, clean common errors, and send XML BOM data for on-line quotation and procurement. Simultaneously, and perhaps in another part of the world, process engineers use the CAD to design a process flow, develop automatic documentation, and generate machine programs. They use the system to automatically create the entire gamut of manufacturing outputs required to properly produce the product.

When the clerical person assigns the product to a position in the revision and product tree, they post it for approval. Perhaps at nearly the same time, the process information is similarly posted for approval by the process engineer. The TCM system then notifies people around the enterprise via pagers and/or email that a project requires their approval. Each person follows a hyperlink to their normal Internet browsers, reviews the BOM and process information dynamically, and either declines or approves.

The TCM system manages the iterative process of rejection/approval and channels the flow of suggestions for improvement back to the project originators. When BOM and process are both fully approved, the TCM system then offers the production management (maybe in a factory on the other side of the world) a final approval to confirm the product is producible in their factory. When complete, the product is then ready to be attached to a work order.

When a work order is issued, the product is dynamically scheduled for the plant-floor browsers directly to the appropriate lines. The browsers on the floor guide the operators through engineer-developed pre-production checklists and then allow the job to initiate. At this time, machine programs are transferred and run, boards are tracked, quality monitored, the on-line quality manual and visual aids are available, and a host of other productivity enhancements are offered through the factory-floor browsers. Beyond the product production process, auditors can review process, revision, and manufacturing documentation data remotely via their browsers, just as customers of the CEM can view their production and product data remotely.

The entire process is fast, tightly controlled, and requires little or no direct personnel interaction. It occurs over the Internet and in a completely collaborative manner. The ability of the TCM system to allow multiple parties to conduct their work in tandem without interaction greatly speeds the transformation of data into controlled manufacturing information.

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andrek

#5046

Manufacturing Software | 23 January, 2001

This looks like a great way for manufacturer�s to increase their production efficiency substantially. Does the reporting and factory floor level on-line documentation meet current ISO standards or easily integrate with these standards?

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Jason Spera

#5051

Manufacturing Software | 23 January, 2001

The system will definitely increase efficiency when deployed properly and personnel are trained to fully utilize its benefits. Cultural acceptance at every level of the organization is critical for such a totally integrated system.

With regard to ISO standards: In a previous life as a manufacturing engineer, I was significantly responsible for ISO9001 certification of a manufacturing engineering department in a PCB and chassis factory, which extended into responsibility for shop floor control and documentation. Based on this experience, I know a TCM system of the nature I described above will afford an auditor remote, browser-based access to virtually everything they would manually explore during an on-site audit. In fact, they have greater access to information than in most paper-based systems.

Of course, everyone's definition varies for their internal ISO specifications of document control, manufacturing control, assembly and inspection documentation, quality specs, etc. In general, ISO dictates that you document what you do, do what you document, and then prove you are executing both of these first rules consistently. With a TransCollaborative Software system as described in my example case, it provides the architecture to establish your procedures, then enforces the follow through of these procedures digitally. This greatly reduces the management overhead of continuously ensuring procedures are followed throughout the enterprise.

Specifically, the systems of this kind offer a centralized quality manual, complete with multimedia, which will certainly please the auditor from a thoroughness and control standpoint.(no more down-rev manuals or other documents around the factories for them to find) Furthermore, the full scope of revision control, the sign off processes, and the entire product history is available on-line. In addition to product data and configuration, the processes including routing, programs, and documents presented to operators, as well as pre-production checklists and routing activities and quality/lot tracking data is all visible. Through a system of this kind, an auditor can quickly see how you do business, and also verify that you are following your own rules.

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Manufacturing Software