Produce precise and accurate parts: discover 3D printed welding fixture

KAT PLEWA| September 12, 2018
PRODUCE PRECISE AND ACCURATE PARTS: DISCOVER 3D PRINTED WELDING FIXTURE
Fixture designs are great to produce various parts as they create support for ideal welding. But they are not always 100% effective, as they can have flaws or be misplaced and the whole tooling system has to be exchanged, which is expensive and time-consuming. Can you relate to those problems? Learn how to improve your welding fixtures with Additive Manufacturing.

Spotlight

Apollo Tyres Ltd

Apollo Tyres Ltd, with its corporate headquarters in Gurgaon, India, is in the business of manufacture and sale of tyres since its inception in 1972. Over the years, the company has grown manifold, establishing its footprint across the globe. The company has manufacturing presence in Asia and Europe with 8 modern tyre facilities and exports to over 118 countries. Powered by its key brands Apollo and Vredestein, the company offers a comprehensive product portfolio spread across passenger car, light truck, truck-bus, off highway and bicycle tyres, retreading material and retreaded tyres.

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Manufacturing Production Planning and Control: What, Why, and How?

Article | January 3, 2022

Production planning and control are critical components of any manufacturing organization. It helps organizations with the regular and timely delivery of their goods. Furthermore, it allows manufacturing businesses to increase their plant’s efficiency and reduce production costs. Numerous software and tools for production scheduling and planning are available on the market, including Visual Planning, MaxScheduler, and MRPeasy, which assist manufacturing organizations in planning, scheduling, and controlling their production. According to KBV Research, the manufacturing operations management software market is anticipated to reach $14.6 billion by 2025 globally, expanding at a market growth of 10.2 percent CAGR during the forecast period. So, what exactly is production planning and control? Production planning is an administrative process within a manufacturing business. It ensures that sufficient raw materials, personnel, and other necessary items are procured and prepared to produce finished products according to the specified schedule. Scheduling, dispatch, inspection, quality control, inventory management, supply chain management, and equipment management require production planning. Production control makes sure that the production team meets the required production targets, maximizes resource utilization, manages quality, and saves money. “Manufacturing is more than just putting parts together. It’s coming up with ideas, testing principles and perfecting the engineering, as well as final assembly.” – James Dyson In oversize factories, production planning and control are frequently managed by a production planning department, which comprises production controllers and a production control manager. More significant operations are commonly monitored and controlled from a central location, such as a control room, operations room, or operations control center. Why Should You Consider Production Planning? An efficient production process that meets the needs of both customers and the organization can only be achieved through careful planning in the early stages of production. In addition, it streamlines both customer-dependent and customer-independent processes, such as on-time delivery and production cycle time. A well-designed production plan minimizes lead time, the period between placing an order and its completion and delivery. The definition of lead time varies slightly according to the company and the type of production planning required. For example, in supply chain management, lead time refers to the time required for parts to be shipped from a supplier. Steps in Production Planning and Control Routing The first stage of production planning determines the path that raw materials will take from their source to the finished product. You will use this section to determine the equipment, resources, materials, and sequencing used. Scheduling It is necessary to determine when operations will occur during the second stage of production planning. In this case, the objectives may be to increase throughput, reduce lead time, or increase profits, among other things. Numerous strategies can be employed to create the most efficient schedule. Dispatching The third and final production control stage begins when the manufacturing process is initiated. When the scheduling plan is implemented, materials and work orders are released, and work is flowing down the production line, the production line is considered to be running smoothly. Follow-Up The fourth stage of manufacturing control ascertains whether the process has any bottlenecks or inefficiencies. You can use this stage to compare the predicted run hours and quantities with the actual values reported to see if any improvements can be made to the processes. Production Planning Example Though production planning is classified into several categories, including flow, mass production, process, job, and batch, we will look at a batch production planning example here. Manufacturing products in batches is known as "batch production planning." This method allows for close monitoring at each stage of the process, and quick correction since an error discovered in one batch can be corrected in the next batch. However, batch manufacturing can lead to bottlenecks or delays if some equipment can handle more than others, so it's critical to consider capacity at every stage. Example Consider the following example of batch production planning: Jackson's Baked Goods is in the process of developing a production plan for their new cinnamon bread. To begin with, the head baker determines the batch production time required by the recipe. He then adjusts the bakery's weekly ingredient orders to include the necessary supplies and schedules the weekly cinnamon bread bake during staff downtime. Finally, he creates a list of standards for the bakery staff to check at each production stage, allowing them to quickly identify any substandard materials or other batch errors without wasting processing time on subpar cinnamon bread. Final Words Running a smooth and problem-free manufacturing operation relies heavily on a precise production planner. Many large manufacturing companies already have a strong focus on streamlining their processes and making the most of every manufacturing operation, but small manufacturing companies still have work to do in this area. As a result, plan, schedule, and control a production that will enable you to run your business in order to meet its objectives. FAQ What is the difference between planning and scheduling in production? Production planning and scheduling are remarkably similar. But, it is critical to note that planning determines what operations need to be done and scheduling determines when and who will do the operations. What is a production plan? A product or service's production planning is the process of creating a guide for the design and manufacture of a given product or service. Production planning aims to help organizations make their manufacturing processes as productive as possible.

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Is Additive Manufacturing the Key to Restore American Manufacturing?

Article | November 20, 2021

Additive manufacturing in America plays a significant part in reviving the manufacturing industry and establishing the country as a leader in applying additive manufacturing technology. The United States was formerly the industrial leader, but it fell out of favor between 2000 and 2010 for many reasons, including recession and structural and financial instability. In this challenging time, technology interventions such as additive manufacturing in the manufacturing business have allowed the industry to survive. As per the recent report by A.T. Kearney, the USA, the industry leader in manufacturing, has worked hard to reclaim its top position in manufacturing and has also been named the leader in additive manufacturing. Let's look at which fields of America are utilizing the benefits of additive manufacturing technology to reclaim its position as the industry leader. Additive Manufacturing in America The manufacturing industry is gravitating toward additive manufacturing, sometimes known as 3D printing. The numerous advantages of additive manufacturing, such as the reduction of material waste, the reduction of prototyping time, the reduction of prototyping costs, the creation of lightweight objects, and the ease with which it can be implemented and recreated, are making it more popular around the world, including in the United States. In the United States, the additive manufacturing and material industry is expected to be worth $4.1 billion by 2020. China is the world's second-largest economy and is expected to reach a projected market size of US$14.5 billion by 2027, with a CAGR of 27.2 percent from 2020 to 2027. How does America Leverage the Additive Manufacturing? US Airforce has launched research into 3D printing The US Air Force has begun researching 3D printing replacement parts for old planes utilizing a 3D printing platform. The project initiative credit goes to 3D Systems, Lockheed Martin, Orbital ATK, and Northrop Grumman. America Makes will observe the project in its third stage and be led by the University of Dayton Research. The Air Force Laboratory financed the Maturation of Advanced Manufacturing for Low-Cost Sustainment (MAMLS) program. The US Air Force will investigate how the 3D printing technology may reproduce components for outdated aircraft. Using additive manufacturing, the replacement parts may be created faster and in smaller batches, with no minimum order quantity. In addition, applying additive manufacturing will reduce the aircraft ground time and eliminate the need for parts warehousing. American Manufacturing Companies and Additive Manufacturing 3D Systems, Inc. 3D Systems is an additive manufacturing company. Their work goes beyond prototyping. The company's experts use their deep domain expertise in aerospace and healthcare industries to produce competitive additive manufacturing solutions. This global leader in additive manufacturing helps you define business needs, verify manufacturing flow, and scale manufacturing flow. General Electric GE has seen the benefits of additive manufacturing and its options for product design, such as the potential to build lighter, more vital components and systems. As a result, they created goods that are better performing, more sophisticated in design, and easier to produce. Ford Ford's advanced manufacturing center in Michigan is all about additive manufacturing. The company employs 3D printing extensively in product development and is looking to integrate it into manufacturing lines. As a result, additive manufacturing is now a critical aspect of the Ford product development cycle, enabling prototype parts and product engineering exercises. Final Words The American manufacturing industry has experienced a renaissance as a result of the advent of additive manufacturing. Additionally, it has built its national accelerator and leading collaborative partner in additive manufacturing, "America Makes," which is the largest manufacturing industryglobally in terms of revenue and operates in a variety of areas. However, it is mainly focused on 3D printing or additive manufacturing, which is undoubtedly reviving the country's manufacturing sector. FAQ What are the significant challenges in additive manufacturing? Limitations in terms of size, consistency of quality, scalability, a limited variety of materials and high material costs, and limited multi-material capabilities are only a few of the prevalent issues associated with additive manufacturing technology. Which company is leading in additive manufacturing technology in the USA? 3D Systems Corp. is the leading company in additive manufacturing technology with a revenue of $566.6 million. { "@context": "https://schema.org", "@type": "FAQPage", "mainEntity": [{ "@type": "Question", "name": "What are the significant challenges in additive manufacturing?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Limitations in terms of size, consistency of quality, scalability, a limited variety of materials and high material costs, and limited multi-material capabilities are only a few of the prevalent issues associated with additive manufacturing technology." } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "Which company is leading in additive manufacturing technology in the USA?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "3D Systems Corp. is the leading company in additive manufacturing technology with a revenue of $566.6 million." } }] }

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How Collaborative Robots Are Revolutionizing the Manufacturing Industry

Article | December 10, 2021

A new form of robot is entering manufacturing plants all around the globe. Instead of being locked away in their own work cell, collaborative robots work side by side with their human counterparts. Together, they form the manufacturing crew of the future. Collaborative robots, or cobots, are more flexible, easy to use, and safer than industrial robots. Instead of ending up abandoned in a corner, they are proving to be serious expansions of production capacity leading to better ways of creating superior quality products. 1.1 A New Breed of Bot Cobots are a new type of automation product with their own ISO standards for safety and usability. For a robot to qualify as a cobot, it has to be used for tasks of a collaborative nature while sharing all or part of its reach space with human operators. So it is not the product alone that classifies it as a cobot. Industrial robots must be expertly programmed for one specific job along the production line. This requires hard line coding and endless tweaking and testing, which together with other factors make for a sizable upfront investment. Not so with collaborative robots. Cobots may look similar to traditional robots in some ways, but they are much easier to install and program. This foregoes the need to cooperate with a robotic integration service. Their lightweight and friendly form factor lets manufacturers conveniently relocate them on the shopfloor from one project to another. This renders the robotics technology perfect for a data-driven, Industry 4.0 work environment. Cobots can side with traditional machinery and additive manufacturing equipment, aided by artificial intelligence and cloud connectivity while embedded in a networked environment rich with smart sensors and mixed reality interfaces. 1.2 A Unique Blend of Benefits Because it is fairly straightforward to reprogram a cobot to various tasks, they are perfect for high-mix, low-volume work to meet the rising demand for ultra-customized products. They can also do multiple tasks in unison, such as alternatingly loading a machine and finishing parts from the previous cycle. Here are some other advantages in addition to flexibility: • Low investment. Cobots typically cost a fraction of the price of an industrial robot, but they offer much lower payload and reach. ROI is typically one to two years. • Safety. With rounded surfaces, force-limited joints, and advanced vision systems, cobots are exceptionally safe. This reduces the risk of injury due to impact, crushing, and pinching. Driverless transport systems are wheeled mobile robots that immediately halt when their lasers detect the presence of a nearby human being. • Accuracy. Cobots score well on accuracy with 0.1mm precision or well below that. While they do typically sacrifice speed, dual-mode cobots can be converted to fully-fledged tools of mass production that run at full speed in their own safeguarded space. • Easy to program. Many brands offer user-friendly programming interfaces from beginner to expert level. This reduces the need for continuous availability of expensive and scarce expertise while giving current employees an incentive to upskill. And because they can be deployed within hours, cobots can be leased for temporary projects. • Research. Small processing plants, agile start-ups, and schools can invest in cobots to experiment with ways to automate processes before committing to full automation. 1.3 Cobot Activity Repertoire Cobots are perfect candidates for taking over strenuous, dirty, difficult, or dull jobs previously handled by human workers. This relieves their human co-workers from risk of repetitive strain injury, muscle fatigue, and back problems. They can also increase job satisfaction and ultimately a better retirement. The cobot’s program of responsibilities includes: • Production tasks such as lathing, wire EDM, and sheet stamping. • Welding, brazing, and soldering. • Precision mounting of components and fasteners, and applying adhesive in various stages of general assembly. • Part post-finishing such as hole drilling, deburring, edge trimming, deflashing, sanding, and polishing. • Loading and unloading traditional equipment such as CNC and injection molding machines, and operating it using a control panel to drastically reduce cycle times. • Post-inspection such as damage detection, electronic circuit board testing, and checking for circularity or planarity tolerances. • Box-packing, wrapping, and palletizing. • Automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) assist with internal transport and inventory management. 1.4 No-Code Programming While an industrial robot requires the attention of a high-paid robotics engineer, anyone with basic programming savviness can install and maintain a collaborative unit. Brands are releasing more and more kits for quick installation and specific use cases. Instead of being all numbers and line-coding, current user interaction is exceptionally people-focused. At the lowest skill level, lead-through programming lets operators physically guide the cobot’s end-of-arm-tool (EOAT) through the desired motion path, after which it will flawlessly replicate the instructed behaviour. It is also possible to enter desired waypoints as coordinates. At the highest level, it is of course still possible to have full scripting control. An intermediate step is visual programming interfaces. These let users create blocks of functionality that they can string together into more advanced action sequences, while entering the appropriate parameters for each function such as gripping strength, screwing tightness, or pressing force. These UIs come in the form of in-browser or mobile apps. Based on a 3D-CAD model of the machine and its industrial environment, a digital twin of the cobot can simulate and optimize its operations, for example to prevent collisions. It also lets operators remotely monitor and adjust the machine while it’s running. All the while, back-end artificial intelligence can do its analyses to find further efficiency improvements. 3D models of the to-be-manufactured product can be imported for edge extraction of complex surfaces. These will then be converted into the cobot’s desired movement trajectories instead of tedious manual programming. This makes them feasible to implement for highly dexterous tasks like welding curved hydroformed metal parts or sanding and polishing the most intricate of 3D printed geometries. Interfacing directly with the robot is becoming increasingly human-centered as well. Future cobots will respond to voice interaction as well as touch input, eradicating the screens-and-buttons paradigm of current devices. Some brands are giving the cobot a face with emotional expressions, hoping to lower the barrier to adoption. The upcoming generation of cobots can even respond to body language, as well as show its intentions by projecting light to where they are about to reach or move next. 1.5 A Human World Ultimately, the objective of any company is to create value for people. It is not an option to completely remove humans from the shop floor in an attempt to stay at the forefront of innovation. Attempting to leap to full automation and the utopian “lights-out factory” does not work anyway, as automotive giants such as Ford, Chrysler, GM, and Tesla can testify. A significant portion of human employees will indeed need to give up their roles. On the other hand, improved productivity levels open up space to retain personnel and uplift them to more creative, managerial, analytical, social, or overall more enjoyable jobs. For certain tasks, humans still need to be kept inside the manufacturing loop. For example: • Complex assembly routines and handling of flexible components. • Large vehicle subassemblies contain many variable components and require more hand-eye coordination than one cobot can handle. Humans are needed to make sure everything lands in the right position while the cobot provides assistive muscle power. • Fashion, footwear, jewellery, art pieces, and other products where creation borders on artistry rather than mechanical assembly require the aesthetic eye of humans. People are also needed to spot aesthetic deficiencies in custom one-offs in order to correspond with customers before finishing the production batch. • While intelligent automation software can spot bottlenecks in efficiency, humans are required for creative problem solving and context-awareness to make decisions. A spirit of flexibility and innovation is just as important as the accuracy of perfect repetitions. 1.6 Mission: Install a Cobot Cobots have numerous advantages over industrial solutions or people-only workspaces. They enable faster, more precise, and more sophisticated operations while reducing downtime and maintaining employee satisfaction. Low-voltage operation and reduced material waste fits with sustainable innovation and corporate social responsibility programs. Many companies are reporting surges in production capacity and staff generally experience the presence of cobots as favorable. For example, industry leviathans like BMW and Mercedes-Benz are reaching the conclusion that in many parts of the production process implementing a cobot has been the right decision. Connecting all parts of the production line with full automation solutions is a pipedream. It works only when all steps are perfectly attuned, and in reality this never happens and one misstep can be catastrophic. Whether to hire a human, a robot, or a co-robot is a complex and ever-more pressing decision. Statistical process control is paramount for large organizations to make unbiased data-driven decisions. Determine the key performance indicators, then find the most critical bottlenecks and major opportunities for leaps in production efficiency, product quality, or staff unburdening. Talk to employees for their insights and probe their level of skill and enthusiasm needed for working with their new artificial assistants. Digital transformation should be an exciting shift in the organization and its people, so apply new technological advancements only where it makes sense. Despite common beliefs about robotization, the cobot is an entirely separate product category that can be a surprisingly plug-and-play solution for simple tasks, with programming apps becoming increasingly intuitive. A cobot’s flexibility makes it perfect to run early experiments to help companies find its best spot on the factory floor. Its unbelievable precision, consistency, and level of control generally can make a strong first impression on customers. Not only can cobots increase production capacity while reducing idle time and cycle time to accelerate manufacturing across many vertical markets, but they also enrich the work environment resulting in happier and more involved employees. For many companies, a cobot can be the next logical step in their digital transformation.

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Lead Generation for Manufacturers: 5 Effective Techniques That Work

Article | January 4, 2022

Lead generation for manufacturers has always been tough due to a lack of knowledge about new technology and trends that can help them generate more business leads. There are still a lot of small and mid-sized manufacturing companies that rely on antiquated manufacturer lead generation methods. In this article, we'll discuss some proven methods for generating leads that can help you increase your company's sales and improve your overall return on investment. "Don’t think of your lead as "LEADS." Instead, think of them as people who are frustrated because understanding and buying your product is too hard. Your job is to make it easy for them to learn about your product and get started. " —Andy Pitre, VP of Product, HubSpot So let's get started. Factors That Must Be Aligned to Drive New Business Leads Landing Pages Landing pages are mini-websites embedded into your site. To deliver an experience that speaks directly to the user's intent, marketers use landing pages. Create unique landing pages for every industrial lead generation campaign. Calls-To-Action To generate quality leads, you need to have a strong call to action (CTA). CTAs are usually buttons that allow users to submit information, visit a landing page, or download an e-book or white paper. Your CTA must be compelling. Give your prospects a reason to click and remove any barriers to the click. CTAs should be bold, high-contrast, and easily identifiable. Forms Without forms, it is impossible to collect leads. Therefore, visitors will be asked to fill out forms that collect their contact information in exchange for an offer. Offers Every lead contains a transaction. A company provides a valuable service in exchange for a prospect's contact information. You won't get many leads unless you provide value to your potential customers. This offer comes in the form of an e-book, consultation, coupon code, or whitepaper. To generate more leads, make compelling offers. Website The above components can't exist if you don't have a website. If you want to emphasize your business, you need to generate quality leads. Why? Because most of today's B2B buyers are millennials, who are highly tech-savvy and increasingly conduct their supplier research online. How to Generate Manufacturing Leads: 5 Effective Techniques Create a Website That Converts "The lead generation process starts by finding out where our target market ‘lives’ on the web." – Wayne Davis Your website should be a trusted source of quality leads. Unfortunately, many companies lose sight of this and develop websites that are cumbersome and difficult to browse, causing a rift between you and your potential customers. Don't expect people to behave if your site doesn't encourage them to act. Your website should have clear "call to action" buttons and lead capture options that allow visitors to contact you in a simple and pleasant way. Additionally, there are website optimization tools available, including PageSpeed Insights, Hotjar, Google Optimize, and WAVE. All of the above-mentioned website optimization tools provide complimentary services. So, this is the most accessible and most reliable approach to generating web leads. Make Descriptive Infographics Infographics are a great way to provide prospects with helpful information while motivating them to contact you. Most importantly, infographics establish your company as a thought leader and unconsciously identify you with industry authority. According to recent surveys, Nearly 41% of respondents indicated that infographics and illustrations are the most effective solutions for achieving their business objectives. On social media, infographics receive three times the number of shares as other types of content. Articles that included infographics received 72% more views than standard articles. A great infographic has a great design. If your organization lacks an in-house graphics team, you can simply locate a freelance designer to create a stunning infographic for you. Your infographics are ageless pieces of material that can be reused for smart marketing and lead generation manufacturing. Here's an example of an infographic from Digital Marketing Philippines from 2019 that received over 1,600 shares and is jam-packed with data and text. In this way, you can see how the company may have gotten its leads from these 1600 shares, each of which is a potential customer. Host an Event According to Bizzabo, 86% of senior management (Senior Managers, Executives, and Board Members) believe that in-person events are critical to the success of their company. The majority of B2B marketers (97%) believe in-person events have a significant impact on achieving business goals. According to Marketing Charts, 68% of B2B marketers agree that in-person events aid in lead generation for manufacturers, while case studies help with lead conversion and acceleration. Improve manufacturing lead generation through events that can occur both online and offline. Organize any kind of event to attract your target market while collecting contact information. Use live events to interact with consumers in real-time, answering questions, addressing objections, learning about your audience, and guiding prospects through the sales funnel. Consider webinars, workshops, seminars, meetups, and conferences. Create a Value-Packed Newsletter "Content is the fuel for your lead generation efforts." – Dayna Rothman According to the Content Marketing Institute, 31% of B2B marketers believe email newsletters are the most effective way to nurture leads. 81% of B2B marketers report that email newsletters are their most frequently used form of content marketing. Create a must-read newsletter that invites interested prospects to engage and remain connected with your company. This enables you to stay top-of-mind with consumers and promote your products and services to move prospects along the sales funnel. The newsletter can have new blog entries, product or service updates, special deals, upcoming events, and recommended reading from other thought leaders. Incorporate SEO into Your Marketing Plan According to Intergrowth, 61% of B2B marketers say SEO and organic traffic generate more leads than any other type of marketing. Search engine leads convert at a rate of 14.6%, while outbound leads (cold calling, direct mail, etc.) convert at a rate of 1.7%. Manufacturers are no exception when it comes to the importance of search engine optimization (SEO). As a result, you may generate many leads with the correct marketing approach and a profound grasp of SEO for manufacturers. Final Words When we consider the statistics explained earlier in this article, we can see the benefits of all of the techniques mentioned and how they can help you increase your lead generation and, as a result, your overall business ROI. Thus, we can refer to the above-mentioned lead generation techniques as sales-driven strategies that will assist you at every lead generation and conversion stage. Improved lead generation for manufacturers enables businesses to reach a vast customer base and generate more high-quality leads. FAQ What is a high-quality lead in manufacturing? Leads of high quality have an increased propensity to convert into paying consumers. The more qualified your leads are, the more likely they will buy your product or service. What are the lead generation challenges? Making accurate data, shaping conversations, and converting qualified leads into sales are some of the significant challenges in manufacturing lead generation.

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Spotlight

Apollo Tyres Ltd

Apollo Tyres Ltd, with its corporate headquarters in Gurgaon, India, is in the business of manufacture and sale of tyres since its inception in 1972. Over the years, the company has grown manifold, establishing its footprint across the globe. The company has manufacturing presence in Asia and Europe with 8 modern tyre facilities and exports to over 118 countries. Powered by its key brands Apollo and Vredestein, the company offers a comprehensive product portfolio spread across passenger car, light truck, truck-bus, off highway and bicycle tyres, retreading material and retreaded tyres.

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