Article | March 31, 2021
Everyday the supply chain is jeopardized. A freighter stuck in the Suez Canal has severe ripple effects in raw material goods making their way around the world. Trade tariffs and unpredictable consequences from COVID have encouraged many US manufacturers to reshore bringing jobs stateside. This strategy will shift the supply chain challenge to a staffing challenge.
As the manufacturing industry is poised for rapid growth over the next 24 months, hiring the best workers once again becomes the top challenge. As the workforce is vaccinated and reshoring the supply chain becomes a clarion call for industry, finding the right people with the right skills forces plant managers, operations managers, and HR managers to find new and innovative recruiting strategies. FactoryFix is an online platform that matches vetted manufacturing workers with companies seeking specific skill sets. This platform sets a new standard in how small to mid-sized manufacturers hire talent across the U.S.
Article | December 8, 2021
A digital twin is a virtual model of an object or system that comprises its lifecycle. It is updated with real-time data and aids decision-making through simulation, machine learning, and reasoning for the production system.
IoT sensor data from the original object is used to create a digital twin of the system. This cloud-connected data allows engineers to monitor systems and model system dynamics in real-time.
Modifications can be tested on the digital twin before making changes to the original system.
Considering that digital twins are supposed to replicate a product's complete lifecycle and are used throughout the production process, it's not unexpected that digital twins have become prevalent in all stages of manufacturing.
“More than a blueprint or schematic, a digital twin combines a real-time simulation of system dynamics with a set of executive controls,”
– Dr. Daniel Araya, consultant and advisor with a special interest in artificial intelligence, technology policy, and governance
Companies will increasingly embrace digital twins to boost productivity and decrease expenses. As per recent research by Research and Markets, nearly 36% of executives across industries recognize the benefits of digital twinning, with half planning to implement it by 2028.So how does this digital twin technology benefit modern manufacturing? Let's have a look.
How the Digital Twin Drives Smart Manufacturing
Digital twins in manufacturing are used to replicate production systems. Manufacturers can develop virtual representations of real-world products, equipment, processes, or systems using data from sensors connected to machines, tools, and other devices.
In manufacturing, such simulations assist in monitoring and adapting equipment performance in real-time. With machine learning techniques, digital twins can predict future events and anticipate potential difficulties.
For maintenance, digital twins allow for quick detection of any problems. They collect real-time system data, prior failure data, and relevant maintenance data. The technique employs machine learning and artificial intelligence to predict maintenance requirements. Using this data, companies can avoid production downtime.
Digital Twin and Artificial Intelligence (AI) in manufacturing
Using digital twins and AI in production can enhance uptime by predicting potential failures and keeping equipment working smoothly. In addition, there are significant cost savings in the planning and design process as digital twins and AI can be used to replicate a specific scenario.
Maintenance is another area that has seen significant progress with the use of digital twin manufacturing. A Digital Twin powered by AI can predict when a piece of equipment will fail, allowing you to arrange predictive maintenance that is not simply taking information from OEM manuals but can significantly cut maintenance expenses along with reducing downtime.
Using the digital twin, it is feasible to train virtual workers in high-risk functions, similar to how pilots are trained using flight simulators. It also frees up highly skilled workers to upgrade the plant and streamline operations.
General Electric Created the Most Advanced Digital Twin
General Electric Company (GE) is a multinational business based in Boston that was founded in 1892. It has developed the world's most advanced digital twin, which blends analytic models for power plant components that monitor asset health, wear, and performance with KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) determined by the customer and the organization's objectives. The Digital Twin is powered by PredixTM, an industrial platform built to manage huge amounts of data and run analytic algorithms. General Electric Company provides extra "control knobs" or "dimensionality" that can be utilized to improve the operation of the system or asset modeled with GE Digital Twin.
Given the numerous advantages of digital twin manufacturing, the potential for digital twins to be used in manufacturing is virtually endless in the near future. There will be a slew of new advancements in the field of digital twin manufacturing. As a result, digital twins are continually acquiring new skills and capabilities. The ultimate goal of all of these enhancements is to create the insights necessary to improve products and streamline processes in the future.
What is a digital twin in manufacturing?
The digital twins could be used to monitor and enhance a production line or perhaps the whole manufacturing process, from product design to production.
How digital twin benefit manufacturers?
Using digital twins to represent products and manufacturing processes, manufacturers can save assembly, installation, and validation time and costs.
What is a digital thread?
A digital twin is a realistic version of a product or system that replicates a company's equipment, controls, workflows, and systems. The digital thread, on the other hand, records a product's life cycle from creation to dissolution.
"name": "What is a digital twin in manufacturing?",
"text": "The digital twins could be used to monitor and enhance a production line or perhaps the whole manufacturing process, from product design to production."
"name": "How digital twin benefit manufacturers?",
"text": "Using digital twins to represent products and manufacturing processes, manufacturers can save assembly, installation, and validation time and costs."
"name": "What is a digital thread?",
"text": "A digital twin is a realistic version of a product or system that replicates a company's equipment, controls, workflows, and systems. The digital thread, on the other hand, records a product's life cycle from creation to dissolution."
Article | December 6, 2021
Aerospace manufacturing and design are getting advanced with additive manufacturing. However, the limitations of traditional manufacturing techniques sometimes make it incompetent to produce technologically oriented products. Additive Manufacturing (AM)helps the aircraft system run more efficiently by creating lightweight aircraft parts.
This is one of the reasons that additive manufacturing is gaining traction in aerospace and other industries. According to recent analysis and data, the global additive manufacturing market is expected to grow from USD 9.52 billion in 2020 to USD 27.91 billion in 2028. The expanding technologies and materials used in additive manufacturing will indeed stimulate industry growth shortly.
It’s important to note that there isn’t one channel that is the silver bullet. Most of the time, a combination of different channels will help drive a more powerful outcome.”
– Wendy Lee, Director of Marketing at Blue Prism
However, the aerospace industry encounters some challenges with additive manufacturing, which is the focus of this article. Scalability, multi-material capabilities, professional workers, high-cost materials, and quality compliance norms are all constraints that aerospace professionals are dealing with. Here we will discuss the top three challenges of additive manufacturing in aerospace and their solutions.
Future of Additive Manufacturing in the Aerospace Industry
Even though additive manufacturing has been around for a while, it has only lately become advanced enough to be used in the aerospace sector.
In the aerospace business, additive manufacturing has the potential to deliver significant benefits. Cost savings, design freedom, weight reduction, shorter time to market, fewer waste materials, better efficiency, and on-demand production are just some of the benefits.
Although additive manufacturing cannot make every part, it provides an exciting opportunity to explore feasible alternatives, either supplementing or replacing traditional manufacturing processes. However, it must be taken into account early in the development phase. Additionally, knowledge must be embedded in aircraft design teams to ensure the successful use of additive manufacturing.
However, in recent years, AM has become more prevalent in end-to-end manufacturing. According to Deloitte University Press, the future of AM in aerospace may include:
Directly embedding additively produced electronics
3D printing engine parts
Making battlefield repair components
Top 3 Additive Manufacturing Challenges in the Aerospace Industry and Solutions
While problems are inherent in any new technology, experts overcome them by identifying solutions. Let's look at the top three challenges that the aerospace industry is currently facing and the solutions to overcome them.
Lack of Qualified Experts
Using 3D printers in production and automating work processes are skills that are lacking. However, the obstacles are natural, and the skilled manufacturing workforce is aging and reluctant to adapt to new design models. This is creating the skills gaps surrounding manipulating AM technology.
How to Overcome
Less time spent educating employees is better for business. For example, the US National Additive Manufacturing Institute and the European ADMIRE initiative offer accelerated courses via remote learning websites.
Of course, you'll need to provide numerous additive manufacturing opportunities to attract the key technologists, either on-site or off-site. They will oversee new hires' activities and help them translate their knowledge of 3D printing into designs and final items.
Over Budget Material
The typical cost of AM equipment is $300,000. Industrial consumables cost between $100 and $150 per item (although the final price is formed after choosing the material; plastic, for example, is the most budget-friendly option).
How to Overcome
To overcome this obstacle, you must plan a long-term implementation strategy based on the manufacturing-as-a-service model. On-demand manufacturing reduces manufacturing costs and speeds up product development. You can also go with cheap 3D printers that use cheap welding wire that hasjust come onto the market. They cost $1,200 and may suit your needs.
Fresh Quality Compliance Guidelines
As 3D printing and CNC manufacturing technologies constantly evolve, there are no established norms or regulations for 3D printed objects. However, 3D printed solutions do not always match traditional quality, durability, and strength. For example, a 3D-printed mechanical part. Can someone order 500 similar parts a few months later? Consistency standards and product post-processing may have a negative impact in such circumstances. So, in such a case, traditional manufacturing wins over 3D printing.
How to Overcome
You might endeavor to set quality criteria for your 3D-printed products to ensure they are comparable to traditional ones. You can also apply the ANSI AMSC and America Makes standards, which define quality criteria for 3D printed products.
How Boeing Applies Additive Manufacturing Technology?
Boeing is focusing its efforts on leveraging and speeding up additive manufacturing to transform its manufacturing system and support its growth. The company operates 20 additive manufacturing facilities worldwide and collaborates with vendors to supply 3D-printed components for its commercial, space, and defense platforms.
Boeing is now designing missiles, helicopters, and airplanes using 3D printing technology. A small internal team contributes roughly 1,000 3D-printed components to the company's flight projects. Boeing claims that addressing design as an "integrated mechanical system" considerably improves manufacturability and lowers costs.
Additive manufacturing is altering the way the aerospace industry designs and manufactures aircraft parts. Aerospace advanced manufacturing is making aircraft production easier. We've explored solutions to some of the snags that you may encounter. However, other concerns, such as limited multi-material capabilities and size constraints, require solutions, and industry specialists are working on them. Despite these challenges, additive manufacturing is still booming and rocking in a variety of industries.
Why is additive manufacturing used in Aerospace?
It allows the industry to build quality parts quickly and inexpensively. Reduce waste and build parts for aircraft that are difficult to manufacture using existing methods.
How does additive manufacturing help in Aerospace applications?
Environmental control system (ECS) ducting, custom cosmetic aircraft interior components, rocket engine components, combustor liners, composite tooling, oil and fuel tanks, and UAV components are examples of typical applications. 3D printing helps in producing solid, complicated pieces with ease.
Which aerospace firms use additive manufacturing/3D printing?
Boeing and Airbus are two of the many aircraft businesses that use additive-created parts in their planes. Boeing incorporates additive manufacturing (AM) components into both commercial and military aircraft. Airbus also employs AM metal braces and bleed pipes on the A320neo and A350 XWB aircraft.
"name": "Why is additive manufacturing used in Aerospace?",
"text": "It allows the industry to build quality parts quickly and inexpensively. Reduce waste and build parts for aircraft that are difficult to manufacture using existing methods."
"name": "How does additive manufacturing help in Aerospace applications?",
"text": "Environmental control system (ECS) ducting, custom cosmetic aircraft interior components, rocket engine components, combustor liners, composite tooling, oil and fuel tanks, and UAV components are examples of typical applications. 3D printing helps in producing solid, complicated pieces with ease."
"name": "Which aerospace firms use additive manufacturing/3D printing?",
"text": "Boeing and Airbus are two of the many aircraft businesses that use additive-created parts in their planes. Boeing incorporates additive manufacturing (AM) components into both commercial and military aircraft. Airbus also employs AM metal braces and bleed pipes on the A320neo and A350 XWB aircraft."
Article | December 16, 2021
Lean manufacturing is an operational approach used to create value. Businesses adopt lean manufacturing to improve productivity, reduce waste, increase customer value, and employee satisfaction.
Many businesses are accelerating their adoption of lean principles and practices due to the emergence of the industry 4.0 transformation. As a result, companies such as Caterpillar, Intel, Textron, Parker Hannifin, and John Deere are all reaping the benefits of lean manufacturing.
So, where did the idea of "lean manufacturing" first originate? In this article, you'll learn about the origins of lean manufacturing and its key principles.
The Origins of Lean Manufacturing
The principles of lean manufacturing were developed in Japan in the mid-20th century. Toyota, a famous Japanese automaker, experienced major delivery issues at the time. Its production chains were excessively long; thus it couldn't supply enough products on time. As a result, Toyota needed a new Performance measurement system. The company's managers identified a solution.
They created a new project management method called the Toyota production system. Its basic idea was to improve product distribution by reducing waste. It was a good concept. It helped the company shorten manufacturing chains and deliver products faster. Toyota's production method created a simple and effective waste definition. Any step that did not improve the end product's functionality was called a waste.
Later, other manufacturing industries adopted the system. It was renamed as lean manufacturing. It's now a global phenomenon and is used by large and small businesses worldwide.
When should you implement the Lean Manufacturing Method in your business?
Lean is a waste-reduction methodology, approach, and a lifestyle. While it is commonly used in manufacturing, lean techniques are applied to reduce waste while keeping high quality in any business.
Waste reduction of 80% plus
Reduced production expenses by 50%
Decreased inventories by 80-90%
Producing quality items is 90% less expensive.
Workforce productivity improved by 50%
If you want your business to get the above benefits, you need to adopt lean manufacturing principles.
Five lean Manufacturing Principles
Lean manufacturing benefits businesses in multiple ways, and this lean lifestyle has the potential to empower any organization and increase its market competitiveness. So, let us observe the five fundamental principles of lean manufacturing.
For the first principle of defining customer value, it is vital to understand what value is. For customers, value comes from what they're willing to pay for. The customer's actual or hidden demands must be discovered. Customers are not aware of what they want or cannot express it. When it comes to new items or technologies, this is a regular occurrence.
Assume nothing; ask about the pain points being experienced and then craft a unique value proposition. Never force a solution into a problem that does not exist.”
– Thomas R. Cutler, President & CEO at TR Cutler, Inc.
For example, you can use various methods to find out what customers value, such as surveys and demographic information. With these qualitative and quantitative methodologies, you may learn more about your clients' needs, their expectations, and their budgets.
Identifying and mapping the value stream is the second lean principle. By starting with the consumer’s perceived value, all activities that contribute to that value may be identified. Waste is anything that does not benefit the client in any way. It can be divided into two categories: non-value-added and unnecessary waste. The unnecessary waste should be removed, while the non-value-added should be minimized. You can ensure that clients get exactly what they want while minimizing the cost of creating that product or service by removing unnecessary processes or steps.
The next operations must proceed smoothly and without interruption or delays after removing wastes from the value stream. Value-adding activities can be improved by breaking down tasks, reorganizing the manufacturing process, distributing the workload, and educating personnel to be flexible and multi-skilled.
The fourth lean principle requires a pull-based manufacturing system. Traditional production systems use a push system, which starts with purchasing supplies and continues manufacturing even when no orders are placed. While push systems are simple to set up, they can result in vast inventories of work-in-progress (WIP).
On the other hand, a pull method pulls a customer's order from delivery, causing new items to be made and additional materials to be acquired. Kanban, one of the lean manufacturing tools, can help organizations develop a pull system to control material flow in a production system.
An efficient pull system maximizes available space, reduces inventory, eliminates over-and under-production, and eliminates errors caused by too much WIP.
While completing Steps 1-4 is a great start, the fifth and possibly most critical step is incorporating lean thinking and process improvement into your organizational culture. As benefits accumulate, it is vital to remember that lean is not a static system that requires continuous effort and awareness to perfect. Each employee should get included in the lean implementation process. Lean experts sometimes state that a process is not truly lean until it has undergone at least a half-dozen value-stream mapping cycles.
How Nike Demonstrated the Benefits of Lean Principles
Nike, the world-famous shoe and clothing powerhouse, has embraced lean manufacturing principles and practices. Nike experienced less waste and increased consumer value, as did other businesses. It also shared some unexpected benefits. It is proven that lean manufacturing can minimize terrible labor practices at a company's overseas manufacturing unit by up to 15%. This result was mostly due to implementing the lean manufacturing practice of valuing the workers more than earlier routine labor practices. It provided greater significance to an employee and, as a result, greater significance to the organization as a whole.
Implementing lean manufacturing principles is a good way to run any organization. Businesses that build their operations on the two pillars of lean manufacturing, constant improvement, and personnel respect, are well on their way to becoming a successful and productive organizations in the modern era. To become a lean company, an organization must fully grasp the benefits and added value that it may get by adopting lean manufacturing principles.
What is Five S's of lean manufacturing?
The 5S of lean manufacturing are Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain, and they give a framework for organizing, cleaning, developing, and maintaining a productive work environment.
What are the two pillars of lean manufacturing?
Lean, as modeled on the Toyota Way values, has two pillars, first is ‘Continuous Improvement’ and second is ‘Respect for People’.
Why are lean principles beneficial for any business?
Lean manufacturing is a business strategy that has proven to be highly successful since it can help you decrease costs, remove waste, enhance production, maintain excellent quality, and thus increase business profit significantly.