This article first appeared in the Autumn 2015 issue of OnWindows magazine.
Success in today’s highly demanding heavy equipment manufacturing industry requires all teams across design, engineering, manufacturing and project management to unite. We call this collaborative manufacturing. It pulls together – in one digital platform – part manufacturing, tool and fixture design; integrated manufacturing process planning; electromechanical design; and integrated design simulation and manufacturing.
To achieve this level of collaboration, manufacturers should look for integrated software tools that provide them with five key capabilities.
The first is tracking costs. It’s critical to have a central system to manage and track your bill of materials. The same system should also coordinate the bill of process to cost how the product will be put together and track any variations as the product is manufactured.
Second is managing change. Improving the way changes are communicated between engineering and production is one of the low hanging fruits when it comes to reducing costs.
The third is providing 3D drawings and clear instructions. This insight enables the shop floor to see the motion of a process and a step-by-step assembly guide. They can also view and interrogate the drawings on tablets (with pan, tilt and zoom options) and raise questions or concerns that are instantly put to engineering.
Fourth is optimising resources. The right software tools can help you decide which of your plants – or perhaps a supplier – has the best mix of cost performance and skills to build a particular part requested by a customer.
And finally, it’s about gaining complete control. While there is not one software tool that can provide a complete solution to manage design, engineering and manufacturing, look for tools that are based on open standards – tools that can integrate different systems to, ultimately, provide a single process for your teams to better collaborate together, and view the status of every part and every product across every plant.
There was a perception that the heavy equipment market ran on different rules to other advanced manufacturing sectors. That’s no longer the case. Our product lifecycle management solutions, with Teamcenter being the digital backbone, ensure that your manufacturing, engineering and product engineering teams can work together as a seamless group. With access to complete production data information in real time, people make better decisions: decisions that are proven to accelerate innovation, reduce costs and optimise workflow.
Jan Larsson is senior marketing director EMEA, digital factory division, Siemens PLM Software
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