Understanding Manufacturer’s Challenges Entering the New Year

NICO THOMAS| December 19, 2018
UNDERSTANDING MANUFACTURER’S CHALLENGES ENTERING THE NEW YEAR
Over the last few months, the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Program has been commemorating our 30th anniversary. The Program has enjoyed taking a step back to look at our beginnings, the reasons the Program came to be, and how we can continue to deliver on our mission to strengthen and empower U.S. manufacturers well into the future.

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Top Electronics Manufacturing Trends to Watch in 2022

Article | October 13, 2021

The electronics manufacturing business is adopting new technologies to create smart electronics manufacturing products for its consumer base. Next-generation technologies are shaping the future of the manufacturing industry by enabling it to create technologically advanced and user-friendly products. Matt Mong, one of the manufacturing industry's leading professionals, stated in an interview with Media7, “Be Different. Don’t position your product in an existing category. Instead, create your category and make the competition irrelevant and obsolete.” – Matt Mong, VP Market Innovation and Project Business Evangelist at Adeaca. The year 2022 will be a year of advancement and development for the electronics manufacturing industry. So, manufacturers are eager to embrace new technologies and produce more innovative, more user-friendly goods that become part of consumers' daily lives and meet their needs. To make the manufacturing process manageable and deliver advanced products, we will look at the top five trends flourishing in the electronics manufacturing industry. Top Five Electronics Manufacturing Industry Trends Future manufacturing technologies are transforming the electronics manufacturing industry's processes and products. Let's look at the top electronics manufacturing industry trends for 2022, which will propel the sector to new heights of technological advancement. Utilizing the Benefits of the Internet of Things The Internet of Things is being used in both the manufacturing process and the products themselves. It enables electronic manufacturing products and processes to become more intelligent and performance-driven to fulfill business and customer needs. In electronics manufacturing, the Internet of Things (IoT) enables businesses to solve common production challenges such as product quality issues, changing demands, and a complex global supply chain. As a result, it increases productivity and efficiency while reducing human effort. Industrial units may gather and analyze real-time data and processes using IoT-based sensor systems. Additionally, it assists organizations in managing data and transforms traditional manufacturing into an intelligent manufacturing unit. Using an ERP System to Maintain the Company's Competitive Edge ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) is a centralized management system for all operational and business activities. The software automates all manufacturing processes and enables the electronics manufacturing sector to achieve higher precision throughout the manufacturing process and product delivery. ERP has the potential to boost productivity, improve efficiency, decrease expenses, and increase profitability. ERP enables electronics manufacturers to forecast, plan, modify, and respond to changing market demands. By using an ERP system in your manufacturing unit, you may expand your business and increase revenue. Making Use of Big Data The electronics manufacturing industry benefits from the use of big data to make critical business decisions. It aids in the integration of previously isolated systems to provide a comprehensive view of industrial processes. It also automates data gathering and processing, allowing for more excellent knowledge of each system individually and collectively. Big data also assists manufacturers in discovering new information and identifying trends, allowing them to optimize operations, improve supply chain efficiency, and find variables that impact manufacturing quality, volume, or consistency. In addition, big data assists the electronics manufacturing industry in keeping up with the rapidly changing digital world. Using AR and VR to Create Consumer-friendly Goods AR and VR are future manufacturing technologies that are changing electronics manufacturing products and driving growth. Robotics is a crucial usage of virtual reality in electronics production. Manufacturers may use powerful virtual reality software to design goods. This implementation of virtual reality software reduces production errors and saves time and money. AR in electronics manufacturing allows product developers to generate interactive 3D views of new products before production. AR and VR are part of Industry 4.0, the digital revolution of conventional electronics production units. Adoption of 3D Printing on a Wide Scale One of the essential advantages of today's electronics 3D printing is that companies can quickly prototype PCBs and other electrical devices in-house. In addition, 3D printing has simplified the electronics manufacturing process, and it is currently being utilized to manufacture multilayer printed circuit boards. It uses material jetting technology to spray conductive and insulating inks onto the printing surface. Let's look at an example of an analogy that worked for Jinzhenyuan - The Electronic Technology Co. Ltd., managed by Mr. Huang Runyuan, Jinzhenyuan's General Manager, and based on the concept of Industry 4.0. (Reference: Forbes) Jinzhenyuan - The Electronic Technology Co. Ltd. Takes a Significant Step Forward with Industry 4.0 Jinzhenyuan - The Electronic Technology Co. Ltd., formed in 2012, sells its products globally. In addition, it manufactures cellphones, computers, cars, and a variety of other consumer electronics. Due to changing market needs, the firm planned to upgrade its production facility to industry 4.0 by the end of 2017 to participate in smart manufacturing. The company increased production efficiency, shortened production cycles, and cut costs due to the digital revolution. Today, Jinzhenyuan is regarded as a model of digital transformation in the community in which it works. Let’s observe the statistics for Jinzhenyuan following the deployment of Industry 4.0. 32% improvement in total production efficiency 33% cost reduction 41% decrease in R&D to production cycles 51% reduction in substandard parts rate – from 3,000 to 1,500 per million Final Words The electronics manufacturing sector is on the verge of a digital revolution that will improve the production process efficiency and cost-effectiveness. Many of the world's biggest firms, like Apple, Microsoft, Hitachi, and Saline lectronics, are developing future agile factories to keep up with the world's digital transformation. Future manufacturing technology will help your manufacturing company make the manufacturing process more efficient and boost the business revenue. FAQs What are the future electronics technologies? Smart grid solutions, wearable technology devices, prefabricated goods, the Internet of Things, and robots are some of the future electronics innovations that will propel the business forward. Is the supply chain benefiting from new technology trends? Yes, supply chain management benefits from smart technology as well. Trucks equipped with cutting-edge technologies can get real-time data on the weather and road conditions ahead of time. It contributes to the supply chain process's reduction of possible risks. Which manufacturers are implementing the industry 4.0 concept in their factories? Whirlpool, Siemens, Hirotec, Tesla, Bosch, and Ocado, among others, have turned their traditional factories into digitally smart ones that incorporate all of the cutting-edge technology necessary to improve and optimize the production process. { "@context": "https://schema.org", "@type": "FAQPage", "mainEntity": [{ "@type": "Question", "name": "What are the future electronics technologies?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Smart grid solutions, wearable technology devices, prefabricated goods, the Internet of Things, and robots are some of the future electronics innovations that will propel the business forward." } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "Is the supply chain benefiting from new technology trends?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Yes, supply chain management benefits from smart technology as well. Trucks equipped with cutting-edge technologies can get real-time data on the weather and road conditions ahead of time. It contributes to the supply chain process's reduction of possible risks." } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "Which manufacturers are implementing the industry 4.0 concept in their factories?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Whirlpool, Siemens, Hirotec, Tesla, Bosch, and Ocado, among others, have turned their traditional factories into digitally smart ones that incorporate all of the cutting-edge technology necessary to improve and optimize the production process." } }] }

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The Factory of the Future

Article | December 2, 2021

The world of manufacturing is continuously evolving in the 21st century, and companies have to combat competition, altering consumer demands, and unexpected events to be able to deliver in today’s experience. Global connectivity, innovation, and disruption are all reshaping the manufacturing industry, but a world-class business platform can help companies transform operations digitally to keep up with an evermore digitized world. The factory of the future will allow manufacturers to enhance production through the convergence of information technology with factory operations, combining the effectiveness of the virtual world with the materiality of the physical world to lower costs, increase flexibility, and better meet customer expectations. The factory of the future functions on four dimensions: resource planning, manufacturing planning, planning and optimization, and manufacturing operations. Resource planning involves defining and simpulating the plant layout, flow, assets, and resources needed to efficiently develop products in a safe environment. Normal production change requests can be quickly validated by using 3D virtual experience twin technology. This technology could also quickly pivot operations to alternative products in the case of disruptive events. Manufacturing planning enriches the resource and product definition by defining and validating a process plan and creating work instructions that meet production goals. Digital visualization of resource and process changes can also help speed up time-to-production in any scenario no matter the location by leveraging the cloud. Planning and optimization of supply chains across planning horizons will help manufacturers gain visibility with planning and scheduling by having the ability to model, simulate, and optimize alternative supply and production plans to reduce disruptions. Lastly, manufacturing operations management can transform global production operations to attain and maintain operational excellence. Manufacturers can create, manage, and govern operational processes on a global scale while maintaining operational integrity to meet altering demands. For the factory of the future to come about successfully, there needs to be connected technology and shared data. Technology has to be adaptable with robotics and equipment that can be reconstructed to house changes and new products. An AI-powered product demand simulation is necessary to maintain agility and boost productivity. A versatile, cross-functional workforce with the ability to explicate data and function well in AR environments is also required along with smart factory technology such as wearable sensors and virtual prototypes. Through all this, the factory of the future can connect technologies across the product life cycle while optimizing the workforce and increasing sustainability. Although achieving the factory of the future has several benefits, creating a feasible factory of the future plan can be challenging. In 2018, only 12% of companies had a mature factory of the future plan. One of the main challenges that companies face is a lack of internal skills to devise digital solutions. However, this can be combated by carefully considering how you can utilize digital technologies to deliver improved performance, resiliency, and flexibility. It is easier to begin with small steps and to collaborate with a partner who could support your efforts to build toward your desired transformation goal. It is important to always be prepared by evaluating your next steps, industry trends, and progress metrics. It is also crucial to focus on the people, process, and technology you’re using to have a successful transformation journey. Manufacturing with the factory of the future can provide savings in a wide range of categories. For example, it can reduce virtual vehicles build time by 80%, increase on-time performance of industrial equipment by 45%, and reduce modular construction time of construction, cities, and territories by 70%. Leading the transformation of the manufacturing space towards the direction of the factory of the future will allow manufacturers to work smart and better meet the needs of the end consumers.

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Five Lean Manufacturing Principles to Empower Your Manufacturing Business

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. Value 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. Value-Stream 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. Flow 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. Pull 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. Perfection 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. Final Words 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. FAQ 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.

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4 Strategies to Make Your Production More Efficient in 2021

Article | July 13, 2021

The start of the new year is a great time to critically take a look at your processes and see how you can improve. Here at FANUC, we have identified four key strategies manufacturers can use to boost their efficiency! Add Automation Automation can increase production and efficiency no matter the type or complexity of the manufactured products. With space at a premium in most production facilities, many job shops look for machine tending robots that are easy to integrate and have a small footprint. FANUC's robots and software make it easy to connect the equipment and improve throughput as well as overall equipment effectiveness. Quick and Simple Startup of Robotization (QSSR) allows up to four machine tools to be connected with a robot using just one Ethernet cable. Use the Latest and Greatest Machining Practices and Technology Many manufacturers leave performance on the table due to outdated processes and programming. Are you getting the most out of your machining? Now’s the time to look at the advantages in new CNC technology. Because new controls have greater processing speed and can implement advanced algorithms, they can do a lot more for your operations. Moreover, the interfaces have become simpler and more intuitive, so they are easier to use than ever before. Digitize Your Process New digital tools are breathing innovation and life into increasingly more areas of manufacturing, including the application of digital twins in the machining industry. Digital twins provide virtualization of the machine, control and manufacturing process. Digitalizing traditional manufacturing processes have the potential to make operations more efficient by proving out production processes in the virtual world. That means less waste, more efficiency and a more equipped workforce. Upgrade Your Shop with a CNC Retrofit Do you have legacy equipment? Running older machinery can have hidden costs, such as taking the time to source and find older replacement controls leading to significantly longer total downtime and production losses. However, scrapping old equipment and starting new, might be too expensive, especially when factoring in tooling, fixturing, rigging and foundation. Plus, new machines may require more training for staff. A CNC retrofit, with new FANUC CNCs, industrial PCs, servos and cabling, can speed up processing and reduce cycle time by as much as 50 percent.

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