Accelerating Tech: Standards-driven, Digital Design Flow for Industry 4.0

The term “fragmented manufacturing” is a good way to describe current assembly manufacturing challenges in an Industry 4.0 environment. Even in Germany, productivity reportedly continues to decline. To reach the upside of Industry 4.0, data flows relating to design play a major role—one that brings significant opportunity to the overall assembly business.

The assembly sector always complains about the increasing mix of products that are being scheduled together with lower volumes. It’s ironic when we consider the massive growth in the application of electronics into virtually every device that we use. Surely, that means that volumes overall should be going up.

Unfortunately, the industry has become like an old, mechanical hard disk. We are trying to squeeze through more and more data into a device that appears to be working more slowly, but the files on the disk have become fragmented. Instead of the data being stored in one long group record, files are split up into many pieces and stored in different places on the disk. It is as if instead of going to the supermarket, you have to pick up groceries from many shops on the high street, one by one. Windows 10 now turns on periodic hard-disk defragmentation automatically, so most people don’t even notice this issue anymore. Can we do the same in our assembly manufacturing plants?

Assemblers have been driven to reduce or eliminate finished goods stock from the warehouse all the way through to the customer with direct shipping preferred over the investment of stock in an expansive distribution chain and risk of depreciation as market demands change. This is in part a great opportunity for the resurgence of local manufacturing and a key driver of Industry 4.0. The assembly schedule, therefore, has to meet the almost daily requirements of the customer, over the complete range of products made. Hence, the high-mix and low-volume scenario.

As this is a long-term significant business driver, assembly cannot continue to cling to the paradigm of optimized long-term planning as core parameters change every day. What is really needed is a way to manage the allocation of products to assembly line configurations immediately in a way that optimizes the utilization of resources. Accepting that we have to visit individual stores on the high street does not preclude us from planning to visit them in an efficient fashion, creating a sequenced journey that minimizes the walking distance from one to another.

Having seen the evolution of the core business requirement, Aegis Software has been driving industry change through the use of new technology based on standards for some time. Assembly engineering and manufacturing are now going through a fundamental change to address the production fragmentation problem. Adaptive planning is a critical new solution within a modern digital engineering solution. The best practice flow is to receive the complete product design data inclusive of all required documentation related to the intent of how a product should be built.

To read this entire column, which appeared in the April 2019 issue of Design007 Magazine, click here.

 

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2019

Accelerating Tech: Standards-driven, Digital Design Flow for Industry 4.0

04-24-2019

The term “fragmented manufacturing” is a good way to describe current assembly manufacturing challenges in an Industry 4.0 environment. Even in Germany, productivity reportedly continues to decline. To reach the upside of Industry 4.0, data flows relating to design play a major role—one that brings significant opportunity to the overall assembly business.

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The Truth Behind AI

02-28-2019

The term "artificial intelligence" or "AI" has become a source of confusion for many—heralded as part of Industry 4.0, yet associated with the threat of automation replacing human workers. AI is software rather than hardware, and it's time to put these elements of AI into context, enabling us as an industry to embrace the opportunities that so-called AI represents without being drawn in, or pushed away, by the hype.

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2018

Resolving the Productivity Paradox

12-22-2018

The productivity paradox continues to thrive. To a growing number of people and companies, this does not come as a surprise because investment in automation alone is still just an extension of Industry 3.0. There has been a failure to understand and execute what Industry 4.0 really is, which represents fundamental changes to factory operation before any of the clever automation and AI tools can begin to work effectively.

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The Truth About CFX

10-23-2018

A great milestone in digital assembly manufacturing has been reached by having the IPC Connected Factory Exchange (CFX) industrial internet of things (IIoT) standard in place with an established, compelling commitment of adoption. What's the next step?

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Advanced Digitalization Makes Best Practice, Part 2: Adaptive Planning

08-27-2018

For Industry 4.0 operations, Adaptive Planning has the capability of replacing both legacy APS tools, simulations, and even Excel solutions. As time goes on, with increases in the scope, quality and reliability of live data coming from the shop-floor, using for example the CFX, it is expected that Adaptive Planning solutions will become progressively smarter, offering greater guidance while managing constraints as well as optimization.

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Advanced Digitalization Makes Best Practice Part 1: Digital Remastering

07-02-2018

As digitalization and the use of IoT in the manufacturing environment continues to pick up speed, critical changes are enabled, which are needed to achieve the levels of performance and flexibility expected with Industry 4.0. This first part of a series on new digital best practices looks at examples of the traditional barriers to flexibility and value creation, and suggests new digital best practices to see how these barriers can be avoided, or even eliminated.

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Configure to Order: Different by Design

01-15-2018

Perhaps in the future, sentient robots looking back at humans today will consider that we were a somewhat random bunch of people as no two of us are the same. Human actions and choices cannot be predicted reliably, worse even than the weather. As with any team however, our ability to rationalize in many different ways in parallel is, in fact, our strength, creating a kind of biological “fuzzy logic.”

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2017

Counterfeit: A Quality Conundrum

10-01-2017

There is an imminent, critical challenge facing every manufacturer in the industry. The rise in the ingress of counterfeit materials into the supply chain has made them prolific, though yet, the extent is understated. What needs to be faced now is the need for incoming inspection, but at what cost to industry, and does anyone remember how to do it?

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